Kristoffer Polaha of 'Life Unexpected' Chats With The Stir

Sona Charaipotra
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Kristoffer Polaha on Life Unexpected
Life Unexpected star Kristoffer Polaha is one hot dad!

Hooked on the CW sleeper hit Life Unexpected? You're not the only one.

So we caught up with the show's hot dad, Kristoffer Polaha -- who plays the classic Peter Pan parent Baze -- to chat about his character's recent transformation, explaining those on-screen make-out sessions to the kids, and being the fun dad.

What can we expect from Baze on season two, now that he's wearing suits?

He's just trying really, really hard, to the point where he's sort of setting himself up for failure. We're going to see everyone really develop more. Why Baze is how he is, why Lux is how she is, how all those relationships intersect. Especially with Cate. Baze is really going to respect the fact that she's married. He's trying to move on from Cate, so you're going to see that, and all the other women -- like Paige and his new boss. He's trying really, really hard, and I think he's in over his head, frankly. It's a real family, and there will be plenty of ups and downs, as there always are. It's a really joyful job. Last year I had a lot of fun playing this guy who's a ne'er-do-well. And this year I get to play this guy who's a ne'er-do-well trying to transform himself. I remember driving up from L.A. for the new season and being really nervous, because literally his hair is changed and his clothes are changed, he's becoming a different character. Which is thrilling and intimidating at the same time. But with Baze, you have to keep wondering when the other shoe's going to drop. I would imagine it would have to. And that's the joy of a character like Baze.

On the show, he's the Peter Pan parent. I know you have two kids. Are you the fun dad or the strict dad?


I want to preserve their innocence as much as possible. I've talked to my wife about it, and we want them to have this sense of wonder about the world. And that includes having boundaries and knowing how to respect adults. But I'm not strict per se. If I had to choose between being the fun dad and the strict dad, I'd be the fun dad for sure.

You know what kind of dad I am? I'm not strict in that sense of the word, but I value discipline. I have two boys, a six-year-old and a four-year-old, so they're completely different than Lux, the daughter on the show. But Britt Robertson, who plays her, as much as she's looking for a mentor and as much as I can be a mentor, she's sort of become like a kid to me. We have a sort-of father-daughter relationship in real life. And she's up here in Vancouver by herself, so we take her to church on Sundays and things like that. We've kind of adopted her and the boys love her, so she's become part of the family.

Given that your boys are so little, do they get what daddy does for a living?

They're all up here, the wife and kids, in Vancouver, we have a little house here and they're enrolled in school. We're like a little military family. We stick together. I get up and I go, and they come with me. They're young, they don't have commitments to a sports team or friends or girlfriends, so we can just get up and go, for now. I don't see how it work otherwise. We need to be together.

Do you let them watch the show? It's not like it's
Gossip Girl, but there are some things...

Yeah, they've seen it. In fact, it's a funny story -- my wife Julianne was out with her girlfriends one night, and I had the boys, and I said, 'Do you want to see daddy's show?' And they've seen me and magazines and on buses, they sort of get it. But that was kind of weird for them. And they don't 100 percent get it, because now they'll see a guy that looks sort of like me in a magazine and say, 'Look, there you are daddy!' But anyway, I let them watch the episode and I didn't think anything about it, because I never do. Of course I made out with like two girls in that one episode. And Micah, the little one, is looking at me and is like, 'Daddy, where's mom?' And I was like, 'Your mom is on the other side of the camera.' And when Julianne got home, she was like, 'You showed them the show? You're making out with girls! They're going to freak out! Oh, you stupid!' But it was funny.

And the recent episode with the fire, how did they react?

Yeah, that really caught their imagination for some reason. I said, 'Guess what daddy did today for work? I ran into a burning building.' And the questions were great, they were like 'Is it real? Did you get hurt? How did they make the fire?' When they came to the set, I had the bandage on, so they were very concerned. And that night, when I gave them a bath, the makeup all came off, so they were like, 'Look, daddy, you're better!' So they're kind of getting a sense of it. Which is really cool to me. I would love them to have a really clear sense of how to tell stories.

Would you let your kids act, if they had an interest in it?

Julianne and I have had conversations about it, and we wouldn't want them to be child actors. I don't know how healthy that is -- the rejection, wanting something and not being able to achieve it, and if it does work out, that warped sense of reality, of who you are. I don't want them to have to be treated with kid gloves, you know? But I'd like them to know about the craft of acting and of storytelling. There's something really noble about the craft of acting. So when they're older, and they've gone through their paces, gone to college and all, I wouldn't mind it -- a family business. But not now, not as little kids. I have great pictures of the kids on set, all lit up, behind the camera. It's a lot of fun. 

Catch Kris and the gang on Life Unexpected, tonight at 9 p.m. on the CW.


Are you the strict parent or the fun parent -- or both?

 

Image via the CW


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