Go ahead and stare at Simon Baker. Gawk at his curly golden locks and his winning smile. He doesn't mind, really.
"It doesn't bother me because I know time is ticking," the 41-year-old Baker tells TVGuide.com. "I've been doing this for almost 20 years, and I'm able to see myself age on film. Eventually I know what I'm going to become — I've seen my father."
When Bruno Heller was looking to cast a leading man to play the role of Patrick Jane in The Mentalist, he was won over by Baker's looks as well. But he quickly learned there was much more beneath the surface. "What Jane does is get in people's physical space and inside their heads, and in order to do that, you have to be someone that people want to be close to, whether they know it or not," Heller says. "It needed a very magnetic personality playing the part.
Look back at Simon Baker's most memorable roles
"Simon has a physical and mental grace. He's always switched on — he's always alert, always alive," Heller continues. "If you watch him working on a stage, he's never just going through the lines. He's always looking for the extra grace notes. It's actually a much tougher job. Very few actors can do the hard physical work that must be done on a show like this."
But back in the late 1980s, when Baker first began acting in commercials in his native Australia, he laughed at the idea of considering acting a form of labor...