Jackson (far left) with his “Affair” mates Ruth Wilson, Dominic West and Maura Tierney

Joshua Jackson has come a long way from his teen-crush days on Dawson’s Creek. The Vancouver lad survived Fringe and is now , at 36,plunged straight into The Affair. The eight-part Showtime series begins Saturday on The Movie Network/Movie Central.

I spoke to Jackson, always good-natured and articulate, at the summer TCA press tour in Los Angeles and wrote about his involvement in The Affair for the October issue of Movie Entertainment magazine. Here’s an excerpt:

[Jackson] plays Cole, struggling to hold onto his family farm as well as his wife Alison, played by Ruth Wilson (“Luther”). After a devastating tragedy, Alison–a waitress at a popular Hampton’s diner–begins an affair with Noah, played by Dominic West (“The Wire”). Completing the quartet is Noah’s childhood sweetheart and wife of 17 years, Helen, played by Maura Tierney (“ER”).

Viewers will get to see the affair play out from multiple perspectives, and even see how “memory bias” plays a role in dissecting an affair.

Now, a series about adultery can cut a little too close to the bone for some Hollywood actors and actresses. It’s a little like Charlie Sheen trying to counsel Rob Ford on substance abuse.

It was the intimate nature of the project, however, that helped draw Jackson to the part. “You know you’re engaged by something when it makes you a little bit – I don’t know if scared is the right word, but, if you feel nervous about it,” he told Movie Entertainment magazine this summer in Los Angeles.

As much fun as he had servicing what he calls the “epic scale” and mythology behind his last series, “Fringe,” Jackson welcomed a chance to be in something where chemistry was the only special effect. “That’s the fun part of an actor’s job,” says the 36-year-old Vancouver native. “The plotting is really less important than the intimacy and the reality of these characters.”

That’s how he sold it, in any event, to his partner these last eight years, German actress Diana Kruger (“Inglorious Basterds,” “The Bridge”). Jackson says he read the script from executive producer Sarah Treem (who adapted “In Treatment”), loved it and passed it on to his wife. She loved it too, but, says Jackson, it only dawned on them later that “this is going to be an interesting topic of conversation for years to come.”

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