Canadian actor Jason Priestley's latest role is a tough one: he plays a lawyer defending a white man accused of raping a young black woman in a Toronto production of David Mamet’s play Race.

Opening Thursday at the Bluma Appel Theatre, the Canadian Stage production of Race is helmed by Toronto’s Daniel Brooks, a three-time Dora Award-winner for direction.

Vancouver-born Priestley is best known for his starring role on the ‘90s TV series Beverly Hill, 90210 and, more recently, for his sleazy car salesman character in Call Me Fitz.

Taking on a role in a Mamet play is a challenge, he told CBC News. The subject of race can be uncomfortable, but there's also the fact that the playwright pens very fast-paced dialogue that demands perfect timing from the actors.

Priestley says his character is a caustic, sarcastic man who "says it like it is."

"He’s a lawyer, he’s about winning the case and he’s about billable hours and that’s about it," he says.

Priestley talked to CBC about returning to the stage after a 10-year absence and his gritty role in Race, which runs until May 5 in Toronto.