“Drop Dead Diva” returns for its fifth season this Sunday on Lifetime and Brooke Elliott’s Jane Bingham is getting a new guardian angel courtesy of “90210’s” Justin Deeley.
Justin plays Paul, who is sent down to help out Jane (her current angel, Luke, makes his exit in the season premiere), but finds himself quickly distracted by his own well-toned torso — he loves his abs and his new life on earth.
The Kentucky-bred actor, who is currently filming the latest season in Atlanta, Ga., spoke with AccessHollywood.com about joining the series, playing the very funny Paul, and how he stays so incredibly fit.
AccessHollywood.com: When viewers first meet Paul in this Sunday’s Season 5 premiere, it seems like he’s missing a few brain cells. Was he funny on paper?
Justin Deeley: Yeah. … Outside the classroom, I’ve never really [had] the opportunity to play a really comedic role. Austin on ‘90210’ certainly wasn’t and in the films that I’ve done, they haven’t been. If I have a funny line here or there, it’s by mistake. When I read [Paul], I thought, ‘Wow!’… I handle him not necessarily like he’s missing a few brain cells, but when I play Paul I just get in touch with the 6-year-old that lives inside me. When you’re 6 years old, you get excited about everything. You get a new toy and it’s like, ‘Wow!’ and you play with that toy until something else comes along and that’s kind of how I saw Paul… He is, in fact, that 6-year-old that lives within everybody, who’s now on his second ride in life and yes, he has this responsibility to Jane, but he’s also in this body that he never got to experience [before].
Access: Jane’s first guardian angel lived in her house for a while, her second one worked in her law firm. How will we start to see you fit in to her life?
Justin: The first episode you just kind of get a glimpse of Paul. He just pops in, but Paul kind of looks at Jane[as] — because it’s also her second go around in life, he kind of looks up to her the way a brother would look up to a big sister. He thinks the world of her, so he’s trying to … be around her and to support her and to guard her and he just trying to fit in with her as best he can and still be able to do all the fun stuff. … He kind of wants the best of both worlds.
Access: I remember talking to Stephen Amell from ‘Arrow’ at Comic-Con last year. He’s ripped like you are and he said when you get to that level of fitness, it’s not crazy workouts, but a lot of it is maintenance. Is that the same for you?
Justin: Yes. He’s absolutely correct. I work out. I don’t really have a set workout plan. I get up in the morning and I kind of go, ‘Man, I feel like going on a five mile run!’ And the thing for me is I enjoy running. … I understand what maintenance means and maintenance means you have to do cardio, but the most important thing that you have to do for your body as you get older is you have to eat right. Unfortunately we can’t whatever we want. I always say whoever can figure out how to make ice cream healthy will be a gazillionaire.
Access: Is that your weakness?
Justin: Well, all sweets really. Ribs and also barbeque. Ice cream, obviously, because the sky’s the limit with what you can create with ice cream.
Access: Did they let you try a pake (a cake/pie combo) on the set yet?
Justin: No… I haven’t been offered one. I don’t think they even want to tempt me. I’m very good at saying no once, but once I say yes, I can’t stop.
Access: How excited are you for the season premiere?
Justin: I’m really kind of like anxious [and] nervous because again, I’ve never done comedy before. … I’m really excited to see how Paul is received and I’m having so much fun with Paul and with the cast and with Brooke. I hope he’s received well. I know how passionate everybody is about Fred and rightfully so. The fans of the show, I know they love their Fred and he was the original and he was great, but I hope Paul is accepted in the angel world because I can’t have enough fun just coming up with stuff for him.
“Drop Dead Diva” premieres Sunday night at 9/8c on Lifetime.
-- Jolie Lash