8 Questions with Josh Duhamel: How having a baby with Fergie changed him

Being a dad at age 40 has made the actor re-examine his priorities

Fatherhood has changed Josh Duhamel. The 40-year-old actor has an 18-month-old son, Axl Jack, and says everything revolves around his child and family now. He is married to pop singer Fergie, 39, of The Black Eyed Peas.

Speaking to Life! over the telephone, he says: "When I first got into this business, I had my own ideas of what success was. But once you become a father, that sort of changes. Your children and family become a priority."

One of the reasons he signed on to his latest television series, Battle Creek, was the fact that he would be filming in Los Angeles, where his family is based.

He says: "The nature of my job is that you have to go to whatever location the story is told in. But with a son who is over a year old, you don't want to miss anything.

"I can't imagine that changing. It's going to be a struggle, figuring out what it'll take to get me away. It'll have to be something good and that I really have to do."

In his new show, he plays yet another good-looking guy, in the vein of his former roles in TV series Las Vegas (2003 - 2008) and romantic comedy flicks Win A Date With Tad Hamilton! (2004) and Life As We Know It (2010).

This latest role, however, appears to bear some dark secrets that threaten to unravel his perfectly polished surface.

As Detective Milt Chamberlain, he is sent to Battle Creek, Michigan, where he partners gruff local cop Russ Agnew (played by Dean Winters). The two are irritated by each other from the start, given how different their working styles are - the cool Milt wants to incorporate new technology into their cases and Russ is more old-fashioned.

It is a good thing that in real life, Duhamel relishes working with Winters.

He says: "Dean's a very passionate guy. He's gritty, he's rough around the edges and that comes through with his character.

"He's perfectly cast because he embodies the everyday man. We ended up really liking each other and getting along. I had a lot of fun working with him and he has become a very close friend."

1 Battle Creek is created by Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan and House creator David Shore. Do you feel pressure for your show to have good ratings or critical success?

Expectations of the show are inherent because Gilligan set the bar very high. But we knew the show was going to be completely different. People can make of it what they will. We aren't trying to make Breaking Bad 2 because it will never happen - even Gilligan will say that.

2 Your detective character Milt looks impossibly perfect all the time. Do you feel that you are typecast only in handsome-guy roles?

l don't want to be cast as a certain type. I feel I've a lot more to offer than just someone with really nice cropped hair and an impeccable suit. This guy looks "impossibly perfect" but the image he projects is just a front for a very troubled guy, a guy with a lot of demons who tries to outrun his past. That, to me, was the most interesting part.

3 Did you give any input on the development of your character Milt?

I had a lot of conversations with Gilligan and Shore about who this character really is. He was initially written to not be as polished as he is. But I wanted him to be almost artificial and he needed to really stand out from the local police.

He literally wears the same thing every day. His appearance is something we really worked on. I wanted him to feel like, can this guy even be real? Like, who is this dude? Is that hair even real? I wanted to play that up. There has to be something wrong with someone who looks so put together. We talked a lot about why he ended up there and what he did.

4 What is your favourite part about Battle Creek?

My favourite part of the show is its unpredictability. You can never put your foot on what this show is telling you. Just when you think the show is going one way, it will go the other way. It examines why we're all messed up and everybody has problems and issues.

Sometimes it's funny and sometimes it's very serious. And that's what I really love about it - the unpredictability.

5 How does Battle Creek differ from other procedural cop dramas?

There's a certain formula other cop shows are using - a very flashy, sexy format that has worked for years. What I love about Battle Creek is that it's set in a town that isn't flashy. It's gritty and real. There's something very relatable to someone who lived a regular life.

My character represents the sexiness of a big town and what people envision crime-fighting to be and then the reality is what really goes on in a town like Battle Creek. The police department is under- funded and has to make do with very little and has to be resourceful. So I think that's what makes it really fun.

6 At home with your son, are you the good cop or the bad cop?

It's still too early to tell. My son is only 18 months old. He can really do no wrong. My wife and I didn't have much and we had parents who were teachers. Our parents were strict but very supportive.

I think because I waited till I was 40 to have my first kid, I am a lot more mature than I would have been at 24. If one of us were to be the bad cop, it'd probably be me. My wife is just too sweet.

7 Do you and your wife work out your schedules so that at least one of you is at home with your son?

We have to deal with this on a case-by- case basis. So far, we've been lucky. I had this show happen while she was at home and now she's recording her album. So we haven't had to deal with that yet. I went to Texas to shoot a movie and they came with me. I'm sure when she goes on tour, we will go with her on the road. We've been lucky so far, we never want to be apart for a week or two.

8 How would you like to be remembered?

I want to do the best work that I can. I want to do work I'm proud of, that my son is proud of. I want to be remembered as the guy who worked hard and did the best he could and was there for his family.

yipwy@sph.com.sg

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Battle Creek airs on Fox (StarHub TV Channel 505, Singtel TV Channel 330) tonight at 9.50pm.