"No cold shoulder for ex-Highlander star"
by Jonathan McDonald
25 August 1998
Smouldering. Sensual. Sexy. Sssssssmokin'.
Four words you'd expect to find but won't on the Peter Wingfield
Fan Club website, a paean to the British actor who obviously caused
hearts to go aflutter for three seasons on the Vancouver-shot Highlander:
"He's leaning on his arms, over a fence, with his head down
so you can just see his eyes," reads the caption to a photo
on the 1999 Wingfield calendar. "Very dreamy image."
"Ewwwww," says Wingfield, wincing when the description
is read aloud.
But Wingfield, a 36-year-old who dropped out of med school at Oxford
to pursue acting, is used to the attention that has come his way
since he first played the 5,000-year-old immortal Methos back in
1995. And now that he's joined Cold Squad as the cool, combative,
charismatic Insp. Simon Ross, Highlander's fanatical following
isn't far behind.
Peter Wingfield stars with Julie Stewart in Cold
"I always play bad guys."
"The most bizarre thing is that I get fan mail at Cold
Squad," says Wingfield. "For the producers and the
people involved in the show, it must be kind of strange. The show
hasn't even aired yet. I haven't even appeared yet. I got this huge
stack of birthday mail and presents earlier this month and people
ringing up and asking if they can come out and visit the set.
"I mean, who is this guy? It's not like I'm a household name."
Depends on whose household you're talking about. Wingfield has
seen people wearing his face on T-shirts in Australia, or barely
being able to control themselves at a convention in Denver back
in his rookie Highlander season.
"At that time, I'd only done three episodes. It seemed weird
that I was being invited," says Wingfield, who now calls Vancouver
home but won't talk about his family life.
"There were 2,000 people in the room. It was like being a
rock star. People were screaming, almost hysterical with the excitement
of being in the same room as you. That's not normal particularly
from a British perspective, where we're usually so reserved. That
outpouring of emotion is really shocking."
Don't get Wingfield wrong. He likes the attention and the affection.
Highlander's fans, he says, are an intelligent, well-spoken,
But he was ready to tackle a new character. And Ross, who spars
with Cold Squad's Ali McCormick (Julie Stewart) and Tony
Logozzo (Michael Hogan) in tonight's opener, makes for a puzzling,
"You don't know where he stands," says Wingfield, who
lists Ally McBeal and The Simpsons as his favourite
"You have this sense that he has an agenda of his own that
is quite separate from everything else that is going on, and he's
certainly not telling anyone below him, but you kind of get the
feeling he's not telling anyone above him, either."
As Wingfield himself points out, it's not always clear whether
Ross is supporting or undermining the work of Cold Squad, which
begins its second season tonight. He rankles the rank and file right
off the bat, suggesting that the squad which investigates
relatively ancient murder files could use some cutbacks and
that the perfect scapegoat in a department scandal might be Logozzo,
who's just weeks away from transferring to a cozy desk job.
That Ross. What a jerk.
"I always play bad guys," says Wingfield. "If you
have an English accent, you must be the bad guy. I think that is
a fundamental basic precept in the North American mind. Anyone who
speaks with an English accent cannot be trusted."
Just tell that to the hundreds of fans who will come from all over
to Miami for the Highlander Clan Cruise in November. Some
will be carrying Peter Wingfield Fan Club (PWFC) tote bags; others
will work on recipes for the PWFC cookbook; still others picking
up tidbits for the PWFC newsletter.
And Wingfield will be there, sopping up three days of Highlander
mania and maniacs.
"They are warm, loving and caring people," says Wingfield.
"This is like a catharsis for them and it's great to have an
emotional outlet in your life."