Don’t recognize the ripped, shirtless guy pictured here? Give it a couple of days. Soon he, his abs, and his knickers will be plastered on ads all over the country, including a billboard in Times Square. His name is Dillon Casey and he plays a rookie hockey player on SOAPnet’s racy new drama MVP, which premieres at 11 p.m. on June 19 and reairs on ABC at 10 p.m. on June 20, following the Daytime Emmys. We spent a little time getting to know Casey and learned there’s more to the young actor than just a pretty face and abs you can grate cheese on. Casey has a master’s degree in economics and tells us that he hopes his role in SOAPnet’s Footballers’ Wives-esque show will help him and his filmmaking brothers with their quest to launch nothing less than a cinematic dynasty. And have we mentioned the guy’s abs?
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: So, about that underwear ad…
DILLON CASEY: My friends see that and they rip on me pretty hard for it. You know what, it’s not like I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. I’m okay with it. It’s part of the show, it’s part of the character [who shoots an underwear ad in the second episode].
Speaking of your character, Trevor Lemonde, he seems to get torn between the two possible lifestyles available to him as a rising star.
I can’t get too much into it, because I don’t want to give anything away, but Trevor is in a tough position because he’s on this team, the Mustangs, and his hero, the person he looks up to the most, isn’t Gabe McCall (Lucas Bryant), who’s the captain and the nice guy. His hero is kind of the bad guy, Damon Trebouche. Trevor’s sort of this eager young pup who wants to please everybody, and if he can get the approval of Damon then he’s happy.
Your character is billed as a first-round draft pick. Do you play hockey?
I played a little bit in university, intramurals. I’m not much of a player, to tell you the truth. When I was younger and I couldn’t stop, when I scored a goal I’d skate right into the goalie, take him out with me. When I stopped I’d look up and hopefully the puck would be in the net. That was my style.
Are you concerned that since hockey isn’t a big sport in the States, American audiences might have trouble connecting with the show?
No. I think, actually, that is going to play in our favor because in Canada, where hockey is a religion and hockey players are put up on a pedestal, there’s a bit of a backlash to putting them in a different light and not treating them all like untouchable heroes. Americans will just watch the show and see it as entertainment. And they’ll sort of be able to suspend disbelief more than the Canadians would. You watch a hockey player in Canada, you watch one of your heroes doing a line of coke — which happens on MVP — and you’d get offended by it. In fact, it’s not about hockey. It’s about off the ice. Hockey is just the context of the show. It’s why these people have so much money and are thrown into the spotlight. It’s got a bit of an Entourage quality to it, but it’s more dramatic.
You and your brothers Lyndon and Casey have a production company called A Film Dunproppa and your first short film, the creepy A Rare Affair, won the 2006 Toronto 24 Hour Film Challenge. Do you plan to work a lot more with your brothers?
That’s my goal. We sort of idolize people like the Wilson brothers and [people involved with] Wes Anderson films. My goal in life is to produce and write and star in movies with my brothers. We actually are in development with the CBC right now developing our own series. And we have bites on another short film that we just finished called Captain Coulier, about a space captain out in space with nothing to do. So we’re working together and hopefully we’ll get something going in the future.
DEBUT OF THE WEEK
The hardest working man in daytime, All My Children’s Cameron Mathison, host of the upcoming Daytime Emmy awards, can first be seen hosting the new game show Your Place or Mine, which debuts on TLC at 8 pm. this Sunday.
”It’s an interesting take on a game show,” Mathison said. ”Two families are playing against each other in a trivia-based game. It’s also got a reality show feel to it because round by round the families will win these rooms that they’re playing for, and we’ll cut to a field where a crew is waiting to get word, and they’ll redo the family’s room in real time as we’re watching. It adds a really kind of cool makeover feel to it. In later rounds, if the other family wins, they could ask us to go into the first family’s house, take out that living room and put it in their house. So there’s a lot of new aspects to it that you’ve never seen before on game shows.”
Don’t worry. The new gig won’t mean any less Ryan scenes on AMC — Mathison filmed the whole season working only on the weekends.