Baby and books: Joshua Jackson talks parenthood and new Audible.ca project 'Oracle'

·4 min read

TORONTO — Canadian actor Joshua Jackson has found himself narrating books quite a bit lately — for two very different audiences.

Professionally, he does so with the new Canadian thriller audiobook "Oracle" on Audible.ca's brand new Plus Catalogue.

And personally, he reads daily to theone-year-old daughter he welcomed into the world in April 2020 with his actor-wife, "Queen & Slim" star Jodie Turner-Smith.

"She gets a full performance every night," the Vancouver-born former "Dawson's Creek" and "Fringe" star said in a recent video interview.

"We have three books in rotation for story time."

"Oracle" is a psychological and supernatural noir written specifically for Audible.ca by Toronto-based Andrew Pyper, award-winning author of 10 novels, including "The Residence," "The Demonologist" and "Lost Girls."

Audible.ca also has an upcoming "Oracle: The Dreamland Murders Series" featuring the same protagonist, Nate Russo, an FBI investigator who uses psychic abilities to solve abductions and homicides.

Jackson narrated both the "Oracle" audiobook and series.

"It's very engaging, it gets you in really fast," said Jackson, whose other credits include "The Mighty Ducks" film franchise and the miniseries "When They See Us" on Netflix and "Little Fires Everywhere" on Hulu and Amazon Prime Video. In 2018, he made his acclaimed Broadway debut in "Children of a Lesser God."

"You start at 100 miles an hour and then you slow down and catch your breath a second, and then it just goes for the rest of the story."

Jackson said he recorded the audiobook — his first ever — in a studio while shooting his new Peacock series, "Dr. Death," in New York from last September until March. "Dr. Death" premieres Sept. 12 on Showcase with Jackson starring in the true story of Dr. Christopher Duntsch, a Dallas neurosurgeon who was nicknamed Dr. Death for gross malpractice.

Jackson recorded the rest of the "Oracle" series at his home in southern California, where he spent the first few months of the pandemic bonding with his family. As he recently told men's designer fashion magazine Mr. Porter, he grew up in that very house until he and his mom moved back to Vancouver when he was eight, but he bought it for himself in 2001.

"I've been working, which has been good, a little pressure release. But really, the year for me has been falling in love with my wife and my baby," Jackson said from the basement of the home.

"She came a couple weeks after we locked down and I had this amazing experience of being able to be with my wife for pretty much the totality of the pregnancy, to be there for the birth, obviously, and then really to be there.

"I didn't go back to work until end of September, so we had almost six full months of just 100 per cent time in the house, the three of us being a family. And it's terrible to say on the heels of this extremely difficult year for everybody, but it was actually a wonderful experience for us. Because there's no other version of my life, certainly my work life, that would have given me that stretch of time really off."

Jackson said his mother was there for the birth but had to return to Canada when lockdown and border restrictions were implemented.

"My wife's mom has actually been living with us, not the whole time but for a lot of time, because she lives in the States," he said.

"So the Jamaican side, (the baby) has met. But the Canadian side, the Irish side, we've got to get mom down here. She's got a second (vaccine) shot now. So we're just trying to figure (it)out."

It was Jackson's mom, casting director Fiona Jackson, who got him hooked on literature as he started acting at a young age and eventually soared to fame as self-deprecating Pacey Witter on the WB/Global teen drama "Dawson's Creek." The series is enjoying a resurgence in popularity as viewers rewatch or discover it on streaming services during the pandemic.

"My mom instilled in me the love of reading from a very young age and gave me the joy of books," he said.

In recent years, he says life in Los Angeles has fostered an appreciation for audiobooks.

"There's a lot of commuting here, so there's a lot of time in your car to be listening to books," said Jackson. "It's an amazing experience to have a well-read book come into your space and be your companion on the way to work in the morning."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Monday, Aug. 23.

Victoria Ahearn, The Canadian Press

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