My 10 Celebrity Valentines For 2012
February 13th, 2012 11:00am EST
Valentine's Day is almost upon us. I don't have a valentine this year, but I'd like to give a few out to 10 celebs whose work I have particular affection for.
1. Adam Levine
My favorite The Voice coach is someone I'll always admire, and deservedly so: he has more hardware than a Home Depot. This past year alone, he and Maroon 5 scored their first American Music Award, a People's Choice Award and a Grammy nomination. I totally concur with my friend Jesse Blaze Snider, who referred to them as a band "with three near-perfect albums." (And a fourth on the way, reportedly due in June.)
Now, this kind of success, plus unbelievably good looks, a supermodel girlfriend, and an Aston Martin in the garage, would give Adam every reason to be a jerk. He is not. According to one interview, he keeps his Grammys in a closet because he doesn't want to brag. I can say that he is the nicest person I have ever met. All I ever wanted to do was shake his hand and say thank you - but he took it upon himself to spend real time with me, and continue to ask after me. Those conversations meant the world to me, and I hope that I get the chance to see him again and thank him for those, too.
There are some people who just light up a room when they show up. Adam is one of those people. Not only is he unbelievably talented, not only is he a class act, but when a Maroon 5 song comes on my radio or The Voice is on my TV, I just feel better about the world. That's why I'd call him my rock star valentine.
2. Blake Shelton
I don't know what I love more about Blake Shelton: that he got me to appreciate country music, or the fact that he can get me laughing so hard that I have actually spit my soda. Like Adam, there's no doubt that he's very good at what he does (he's the reigning CMA Male Vocalist of the Year and also won an American Music Award this year), but his personality makes him even cooler.
I've never cared for country music, but Blake's Red River Blue changed my tune. Both Adam Levine and I had "Honey Bee" stuck in our heads for awhile after it came out. I'll admit to having gotten teary-eyed listening to "God Gave Me You," which deserves all the acclaim that song has gotten. Before last year, I never would have been caught dead in a country music section, but I'll say proudly now that I own three Blake Shelton albums, and I appreciate having my musical palate broadened.
I also believe Blake is one of the funniest human beings ever to walk this planet. His Twitter feed is a constant source of amusement in my day, he has so many quotable one-liners on The Voice (remember "That's what she said"?), and every time we interact, I end up laughing. He's unafraid to rib me for being a Team Adam girl, but he's also willing to make fun of himself, too. And to be serious for a moment, the first time we met, he encouraged me to keep on being me, and that meant a lot to me as well. So for that, and because I never quite know what to expect when he's around (but I know it'll be memorable!), he's my country valentine.
3. Shane West
There's never been anyone who keeps me on my toes more than Nikita star Shane West, and I will always have a deep respect for him because of it. I enjoy having conversations with him because he's willing to engage me just as much as I engage him, whether it's talking about what's coming next for ex-Division operative Michael or trading quips about SEC football.
He also makes a pretty great action hero. I appreciated his predecessor Roy Dupuis in La Femme Nikita, but I feel like I've come to a better understanding of the character of Michael because of the way Shane approaches him. His Michael has a little more heart and soul, and I can get into his head and understand why he does what he does. He also happens to wield a mean sniper rifle and/or shotgun and has a spot-on deadpan wit. (He's a lot funnier than he's given credit for.)
As I mentioned in my recap of last week's episode, what makes Shane such a great actor is that there's never a spare frame with him. Even if he's just in the background of a scene, he's doing something to continue to build his character. He takes the material the writers give him and elevates it to another level. I'd trust him both in a rehearsal and in a fight. That's why I'd call him my action hero valentine.
4. Mark Valley
The Harry's Law star is always going to have a special place in my heart, because he played my childhood favorite superhero Christopher Chance on FOX's Human Target. To have my favorite character played by one of my favorite actors was a dream come true. Mark played that part even better than I could have imagined, with the brains, brawn and wit (and bruises) to do the role justice. I'll always be thankful to him for that.
FOX cancelled Human Target after two seasons, but thankfully NBC snapped Mark up and made him a regular on Harry's Law. It's not the first time he's played a straight-laced lawyer (see: Boston Legal), and he's just as entertaining arguing with defendants as he was busting the heads of South American mercenaries. I never get bored watching him act.
I had the pleasure of meeting Mark a few times when he was working on Human Target, and most recently at NBC Universal's TCA party, and he's always been a gentleman. It was pretty meaningful to meet the guy responsible for bringing my hero to life and find out that he was an equally good person (plus, having served in the Army, he might really be able to come to my rescue). There's something about him that always makes me swoon, and I'm glad that he seems to be getting more attention. But to me, he'll always be my comic book valentine.
5. Jack Davenport
I've tried to steer this list away from fangirl crushes, but I have to admit that I've been a Jack Davenport fangirl for more than a decade. He's made Royal Navy uniforms look good (in the Pirates of the Caribbean movies) and physics sound interesting (in FlashForward). While my high school classmates were falling over boy bands, my weakness was British actors with surprising versatility.
I've grown up past that now, but I still have an appreciation for Jack's range of talent. Even when he's in projects that I'd never normally watch, he always holds my attention. Whether it's been drama or comedy, British TV or American TV, a period piece or present day, a small part or a leading role...he always leaves an impression. He's one of those actors where I'll go to a movie even though he might only be in it for fifteen minutes. Plus, as you can read in my recent interview with him, he's an interesting person in his own right.
Now with the launch of Smash and the juicy role of temperamental director Derek Wills, it looks like Davenport has found a strong vehicle to showcase what he can do. I'm looking forward to seeing him break type and surprise the audience, because I know he deserves to be a star just like the hopefuls Derek is working with. That's why he's my British valentine.
6. Gabriel Macht
Since we're talking about Valentine's Day, you know that cliche about women wanting a man who will sweep them off their feet? Well, if we applied that to acting talent instead of romance, that would sum up my feelings about the Suits star nicely. I thought I knew his body of work pretty well, and I always thought he was a good actor, but when I saw him become Harvey Specter, I had to pick my jaw up off the floor. He has raised the standard by which I judge TV actors.
As the fictional litigator, he makes a better lawyer than some real ones I know. That's because he has a natural confidence and verbal acuity that can't be faked or learned. He's naturally in a league of his own. As I wrote in December, this is one guy who makes me feel like I'm outclassed, and I'm all for people raising the level of intellect. He's the smartest actor on television, and we're better for having him on our small screens on a weekly basis. At least in my case, he's already inspired me more than once.
If you're a sucker for romance, I dare you to watch Macht in Because I Said So with Mandy Moore and not melt. As for me, I'm going to avoid ever challenging him to a game of Trivial Pursuit. I'll just call him my lawyer valentine.
7. Patrick J. Adams
Speaking of Suits, the other half of the show's leading equation is pretty great, too. I hadn't heard of Patrick J. Adams before the show, but I wish that I had, because he's something special himself. As junior associate Mike Ross, he's earnest, charming and certainly smart - someone you can't help but like, even when he screws up. It's going to be fun to see how Mike grows in the second season.
Part of the charm comes from the fact that Patrick is just a really sweet person. I've gotten to meet him a few times now, and he's so incredibly nice. Talking with him is always a pleasure. If Mike was played by anyone else, I don't think he'd be nearly as likeable, because Patrick's real heart comes through. To use an old phrase, his parents raised him very well.
Beyond Suits, though, Patrick is an actor just as cerebral as his castmate. You've got to be on your 'A' game to hang in with Gabriel Macht, and he can do that. In our recent interview I was quite taken by his passion for the stage. Watching him in Bootleg Theater's 9 Circles was one of the great artistic experiences of my lifetime; it was something that affected me not just as a viewer or as a writer, but as a human being, and that's because Patrick was electrifying in it. He's my theater valentine.
8. Timothy Olyphant
It's kind of amusing to put someone on my Valentine's Day list when I'm too intimidated to talk to them in person, but such is the case with me and the Justified star. He's so good at what he does that it's ingrained in my skull, and when we end up in the same room together, I always chicken out. It's hard for me to remember that he's not going to shoot me like his alter ego just might.
That's because the film veteran (Live Free or Die Hard, A Perfect Getaway, Catch & Release) completely disappears into the role of everyone's favorite U.S. Marshal. He's got swagger, attitude and an intense toughness that makes you not want to cross him. Yet when he's not busting heads on-screen, Olyphant is also pretty funny off-screen. Case in point, check out this interview we did together early last year. I had a hard time not laughing during it. Here's someone who clearly enjoys what he does, and that's infectious.
I've certainly got a fangirl crush on this man, for his fantastic talent and sense of humor. The good looks are secondary to the fact that he always manages to get me rooting for him, even when he's playing the bad guy. But until I can get over my nerves and compliment him to his face, I'll just call him my unattainable valentine.
9. Danny Pino
If I ever had a crush on a fictional character, it was Philadelphia detective Scotty Valens from CBS' Cold Case. I just wanted to get him a girlfriend who was sane and not related to his partner. To this day, my friends and I still talk about him. We can chalk that up to Danny Pino, who thankfully for us joined NBC's Law & Order: SVU this season as New York City detective Nick Amaro.
While this has enabled us Cold Case fans to crack a few jokes about mistaken identity, Danny has established Nick as a completely separate person, and he's not even through his first season on SVU. It's been a pleasure to watch him build a new character and to see where that character goes. He's proven himself to be a thoughtful and dedicated actor, so I just flat out enjoy watching him work. As a fan, I think he's great to watch, and as a writer, he's someone else who's inspired me.
I was lucky enough to recently interview him, and that was the icing on the cake for me. We all know what it feels like to meet someone you like; you just hope they're as great as you've built them up to be. He absolutely was and then some. Danny is such a lovely person, and so fun to talk to. I really enjoyed getting to know him, and I hope one day I'll be able to thank him in person. Until then, I'll just call him my cop-show valentine.
10. Josh Lucas
When I heard that Josh Lucas was finally coming to television, I got excited. I've been a fan of his since the film Glory Road, where he gave a perfect performance as one of my heroes, college basketball coach Don Haskins. I wanted to see what he'd do with a television role.
While The Firm hasn't been a success, I'm still glad to have seen Lucas on the small screen. His Mitch McDeere has that way of giving a good, impassioned speech that makes for entertaining television as well. Because Mitch believes in what he's doing, we want to believe him, no matter what the show throws at him. He has that Everyman quality...if ordinary guys were as good-looking as Josh Lucas, of course. And one can't talk about Valentine's Day without mentioning his role in a little romantic comedy called Sweet Home Alabama, where he kind of stole the whole movie.
It's a shame that Lucas probably won't have the chance to dig much deeper into Mitch. In another role, he could do very well in television, not unlike Gabriel Macht. While I hold out hope that The Firm will pull through, I'll just call Josh Lucas my movie-star valentine.
So there you have it: 10 celebs that I wanted to send a special note of appreciation to on this holiday. Who would your celebrity valentine be?
(c)2012 Brittany Frederick/Digital Airwaves. Appears at Starpulse with permission. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted.
Related: Adam Levine, Because I Said So, Blake Shelton, Cold Case, Danny Pino, Gabriel Macht, Glory Road, Harry's Law, Human Target, Jack Davenport, Josh Lucas, Justified, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Mark Valley, Maroon 5, Nikita, Patrick J. Adams, Shane West, Smash, Suits, Sweet Home Alabama, The Firm, The Voice, Timothy Olyphant, Starpulse Exclusives, Television, Music, Celebrity, Rock Music, Country, Pop, Reality, Action & Adventure, Drama, NBC, USA
Photo Credits: NBC, The CW, USA, FX