Kris Marshall has done a lot of television work in his native England, and it's now a go for his first American series.
Probably best known as the office pastry cart operator in the 2003 movie "Love Actually," Marshall plays one of several friends who spend a lot of time in their cars while ruminating on their love lives in "Traffic Light," Fox's adaptation of an Israeli show that premieres Tuesday, Feb. 8.
Marshall's new character, ambulance driver Ethan, is much smoother with women than the actor's "Love Actually" alter ego, Colin ... who ended up with Elisha Cuthbert ("24") and several gal pals once he came to America anyway.
"I love Colin Frissell, but to most of the Western world, he's a geek," Marshall says. "Off he goes, and all that success just falls into his lap. It's a beautiful story, but he's an absolute nerd. Ethan is not. He's much smoother, and I'm glad people are going to see a slightly less nerdy version of me.
"I play him as someone who has an English parent and an American parent, and after they divorced, he went with the parent who moved to the States. That's why he's in Chicago, though he's obviously kept the accent."
That helps Marshall stand out in the ensemble cast, and it also did much to land him the job after he had feigned an American accent.
"I actually read for the part of Ethan with an American accent," Marshall reports. "None of the guys really knew me then, and they didn't know me. They were about to go, 'Thanks, see you later,' when Bob Fisher -- the show runner -- went, 'Hang on a second. You were in "Love Actually." You're a Brit.' And I went, 'Yeah. Busted.' "Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times