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Breaking through from 'Other Side'

An actor is always waiting for his big break, that one TV or movie role that puts him in the public eye to stay. For Maryland native Peter Douglas, 29, that break could come via a medium that didn't even exist 10 years ago.

Douglas, who lived in the Montgomery County community of Potomac through high school, co-stars in Ghost Whisperer: The Other Side II, a companion to the CBS TV series The Ghost Whisperer that only can be viewed online. He plays Luke, a mysterious, brooding "spirit collector" prowling the street of a kind of purgatory, selling recently deceased Zach (Mark Hapka) on the merits of life on the netherworld's dark side. So far, three Web episodes of The Other Side, each running less than three minutes, have been posted online at cbs.com/ghost. Another five will be made available in the coming weeks

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The Other Side is only the Juilliard-trained Douglas' second gig as a professional actor, after a guest appearance on an episode of the ABC comedy Big Shots, playing a hard-drinking, hard-partying New York Yankees outfielder. While the Hollywood writers' strike has put the kibosh on TV work for the time being, Douglas remains optimistic. Although nothing's final, he says, there's been talk of turning The Other Side into a full-fledged TV series.

REMEMBERING WHAT'S IMPORTANT --I've always been very academic. I did a couple of plays while a [college] student ... , but I really started to focus on some other stuff. By the time I was graduating, I was actually thinking about going on to law school. At which point, a friend of mine called me up ... and said that he was doing a movie with Harrison Ford and Liam Neeson and all this stuff. And I said, 'What am I doing? I don't want to go to law school. I want to be doing a movie with Harrison Ford and Liam Neeson.' So I kind-of dropped all the law-school plans.

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KNOW YOUR LIMITATIONS --I'm rather tall, I'm 6-[foot], 6-[inches]. I have a deep voice and all this stuff. The 6-6 thing kinda makes me stand out in a crowd, so it's difficult to put me in the background. I've auditioned for a lot of smaller parts that I would have loved to have done, but at the end of the day, I was just too tall.

BEING ON THE WEB --I think it's kind of exciting. It's kind of the natural flow of things. As more and more people go to the Internet to watch TV anyway, ... I think things will largely be distributed through the Internet, which will link to your TV. They haven't done a lot of these, which is part of why it was exciting to do it. It's a new medium. I think it's got a bright future. It's kind of new-frontierish.

CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT? --We haven't gone into what makes this guy who he is, so I had to kind of fill in for myself why he would be in this position. The only way that you would get into this position is that you had done something really bad in life. I know I was a bad person while I was alive.

BRAVE NEW WORLD --Everybody working on these Webisodes, a lot of these people have Emmys, they're very well-established. But they were working on this because they were given a blank slate. They don't have the same rules that apply to a television show. There's not necessarily a formula for network TV, but things are pretty similar. Here, you have a chance to break some new ground.

STILL LIFE --I don't have anything going at the moment. Things are pretty quiet. There haven't been any auditions going on for quite awhile. The only noise is the strikers outside of all the studio gates. They're there every day.

chris.kaltenbach@baltsun.com


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