'I'm just a kid from Yellowknife,' says star-struck 90210 actor
Beverly Hills and Yellowknife don't appear in the same sentence often, but the two cities are colliding with N.W.T. native Dustin Milligan's debut in the new Beverley Hills 90210 spinoff.
Milligan, 23, plays high school jock Ethan Ward on 90210, a modern version of the '90s hit teen drama. The show premiered Tuesday on Global TV in Canada and the CW Television Network in the United States.
Speaking to CBC News from Los Angeles, Milligan said the show has given him the most exposure he's ever received — a big break for an actor who decided to pursue acting while attending École Sir John Franklin High School in Yellowknife.
"I just really feel really lucky to be on something that's having so much exposure and it's just out there so much," Milligan said in an interview Wednesday.
"It's kind of twisted, man. Like, I'm just a kid from Yellowknife, and all of a sudden, I'm supposed to be this Beverly Hills hotshot. I don't know. It just feels pretty unbelievable, to be honest. It's hard to describe."
Milligan said ratings for the first episode of 90210 beat similar premier ratings for similar hit shows.
"It's the biggest premiere of a series that the CW has ever seen before," he said. "It was bigger than Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The O.C., OneTree Hill, I think Gossip Girl. So it's quite amazing what's happened here."
Milligan said he decided to pursue an acting career during his last year at Sir John Franklin, where he starred in musicals like Grease and Saturday Night Fever.
"He brought so much to the table right from the beginning," said Landon Peters, who was Milligan's drama teacher.
"He was a very, very hard worker, very determined, very articulate. Basically he's got a photographic memory — he can just memorize lines. And intuitively, he's just very smart, very perceptive, so his deliveries are excellent."
Peters said he was impressed with his former student's performance in the 90210 debut.
"He's very comfortable in front of the camera and you can see that," he said. "I think he's got a lot of charm. Like, as a character on that show, certainly he stands out."
As for the future, Milligan said he hopes to act in a blockbuster film someday, and perhaps even win an Oscar.