Unless you’ve ever looked Jerry O’Connell up or paid close attention to his (very impressive) body of work, odds are you’re like many other Canadians out there and you consider him one of our own. As it happens, however, the 45-year-old is a born and raised American. From Manhattan, New York, actually.
We know, we were actually quite shocked to learn the truth too. Especially since the actor is currently starring on the Canadian award-nominated Bravo series Carter, which is now in production on its second season in North Bay, Ont.
“It’s got sort of a small-town feel to it, and I felt like I was coming home. It’s really cute,” O’Connell told us about his series while he was in Toronto on Thursday for the CTV Upfront. “It’s fun to rep the town that we work in in North Bay.”
In Carter’s first season we met O’Connell’s character, Harley Carter—a former TV detective who returns to his home town where he uses his TV skills to help police officers and detectives solve real crimes. Essentially he’s telling the cops how to do their jobs with his limited skills, while using a series of disguises to catch those big, bad perps along the way. For O’Connell, the script came at the right time and it just made him laugh, which is how he says he chooses most of his roles.
“It’s pretty meta, and it’s super fun too, being a real Canadian show,” he says. “I don’t want to boast, but I was up for a Canadian Screen Award this year. To get to party with like, all the Workin’ Moms people, to see the Schitt’s Creek people, to see Billy Campbell over there, working on that Cardinal… it’s just a fun community to be a part of.”
Given that statement, you can understand why it’s easy to believe this guy is Canadian, right? Apparently the fact that people do doesn’t even surprise O’Connell anymore. He’s actually quite used to it—polite about it, even. (Another Canadian trait!)
“No, it doesn’t surprise me, because I did spend a majority of my childhood here in Canada,” he explains. “It surprises me how many people remember me from a show I did when I was a kid called My Secret Identity, because that was close to 30 years ago now.”
Not only does it not surprise him, but he says he fully embraces it. Whether it’s heading out to the bar with the cast to catch Canada’s basketball team, the Raptors on their championship tear or boasting about the wide range of talent we have here, this guy is all in.
It’s a good thing too, because given the successful first season Carter had on CTV, it looks like the show is poised to be around for good, long while.