By JAY CRIDLIN
Published April 25, 2007
Dinner with the Wilsons: What an experience that must be.
There's papa John, the lead anchor at WTVT-Ch. 13; mother Mary K., a noted singer and voice teacher; eldest son Paul, who owns a Tampa ad agency; and middle kid Mark, a reporter at WTVT and a talented guitarist.
And then there's baby bro Patrick Wilson, the Emmy-, Tony- and Golden Globe-nominated star of stage (The Full Monty) and screens both small (Angels in America) and large (Little Children, The Phantom of the Opera).
Patrick lives in New York, so Wilson family reunions in St. Petersburg only occur three or four times a year. Last week, the 33-year-old actor was back in town, collaborating with Paul on a commercial for Broadway Across America, which this winter will bring major productions such as Sweeney Todd and The Wedding Singer back to the Mahaffey Theater.
The Times caught up with Patrick during a break in shooting to find out what it's like for a celebrated son to return home to St. Petersburg.
Coming home - is it the same for you as it would be for anybody going to their old hometown?
Sure. The benefit of coming home is to spend time with family, and having a son (Kalin, 10 months) puts it all in perspective, because you want him to be around your family.
How's your dad as a grandpa?
My dad's an old pro now. He's his fifth grandchild. In my wife's family, my son is the first, but in our family, he's definitely the runt right now. That's okay. I was the runt.
So he'll get picked on. That's good. Do you get recognized more up in New York, or here, when you're just out on the street?
Probably New York, actually. I've never thought of that. That's the great thing about New York - no one really cares who you are and what you do. When I come back here, I try desperately not to think about my career and celebrity and all that kind of stuff. I have all the same friends, so most of the people that I see have grown up with me, and we've all gone on to do our various things. To me, coming home is coming home.
Are there places that you try to hit - restaurants, bars, favorite haunting places?
Oh, man. Chik-fil-A. I don't have Chik-fil-A in New York. I have to plan my trip around it. Not really. But Chik-fil-A is in my family - Mark used to work at Chik-fil-A, and my cousins both used to work at Chik-fil-A. Neither Paul nor I did.
You broke the family tradition. You're a big disappointment to your parents, I imagine.
(laughs) I'm serious! No, there's a lot of stuff. I was driving my wife around yesterday, showing my wife a bunch of stuff. I was amazed at all the construction and development going on around here. It's unbelievable. There are so many new restaurants and places I didn't even know about. I'll drive by and see a whole new shopping center. But truthfully, I don't hit a lot of the bars and things like that. Usually, my time here is so precious that I just want to stay home.
Have you outgrown the beach at this point?
The boy's so young, we haven't really gotten out there, but we will eventually. He loves the water.
Who gives you "the news from home" when you call or talk to your parents? You know, "So-and-so got married ..."?
Who gives me the news? Who do you think gives me the news?
So you get those kind of updates from the anchorly voice of John Wilson?
I always ask my dad for all that kind of stuff. Yeah.