Jade Carter

Once the patient, now he’s the doctor

Jade Carter didn’t find success in Los Angeles by accident — but it took a serious accident for the Ponoka native to find his passion for acting. Growing up on a farm just outside of Ponoka, Carter said he dreamed of becoming a professional athlete in baseball, hockey or rodeo.

Jade Carter didn’t find success in Los Angeles by accident — but it took a serious accident for the Ponoka native to find his passion for acting.

Growing up on a farm just outside of Ponoka, Carter said he dreamed of becoming a professional athlete in baseball, hockey or rodeo.

But that dream came to a crashing halt when he nearly lost his life in a farming accident.

It was July and a tractor needed to be moved the eight km from his grandparents’ farm to his parents’ property.

A then-12-year-old Carter took control of the wheel and headed down the road after convincing his grandfather he could handle the job.

He came to an intersection where he needed to turn left and Carter recalled doing everything properly — except he forget to turn down the hand throttle.

When he let out the clutch, Carter was unable to control the tractor as it sped forward.

He made the split-second decision to jump off the machine when it started to tip but was unable to crawl away before the tractor rolled on him.

First the hot, uncovered engine burned his skin. Then a line broke, spilling scalding oil everywhere.

Carter, now 35, said he only survived because another farmer just happened to be trailing a bit behind and rushed to get help.

The young boy’s left quadricep muscle was burned all the way through to the bone and doctors considered amputating the limb. His abdominal muscles were also severely burned.

Carter spent about three months at the University of Alberta Hospital and had the majority of his 12 major surgeries in that time, some of which involved replacing his burned muscles with healthy tissues from other parts of his body.

The one thing that made his hospital stay a bit more bearable was watching movies that the owner of the Ponoka video rental store graciously donated.

“I was able to just kind of lose myself watching these great late ’80s, early ’90s comedies,” Carter said recently from his home in Los Angeles, Calif., recalling classic John Candy, Eddie Murphy and Chevy Chase films.

“(They) took me away from all the pain.”

Still, the boy felt discouraged when he walked out of the hospital — something he was originally told would likely not happen.

“My mom saw that I was just crushed. I had no self-confidence. Obviously, sports were just taken out of my life. I didn’t know who I was and I was just a mess.”

His mom, who was involved with the local theatre group, begged the troupe’s director to give her son a role in an upcoming play.

It was then, playing a prince in the small comedy, that Carter learned he had a knack for the theatrics.

“It just clicked. I was a fish to water. I just loved it,” he said.

“And I saw how I was able to give (the audience) a break, even for just an hour, from their worries. So, I never looked back.”

Carter was active in drama during high school and majored in acting at Red Deer College.

He had an agent right out of college, but wanted more than four or five auditions a year. So Carter and his wife, Gail, sold their tanning business in Red Deer and made the move to L.A. in February of 1999.

Despite some initial challenges, Carter said things started to snowball after he got a local agent and joined the actors’ union. He landed his first gig, a role on the television show Hang Time, just a month after he moved south.

Since then, Carter has appeared on shows such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Malcolm in the Middle, Cold Case, NCIS and various soap operas.

He also received critical acclaim for his theatre work, with one review listing him as “Another powerful actor to be watched.”

Most recently, he appeared on the latest season of House, guest starting in an episode as a doctor who has a conflict with the title character.

But Carter said the highlight of his career so far was the reoccurring role he had on the television show Jag. He likened his character, the brother to the star of the show, as a “Russian James Bond.”

Carter was originally hired for only two episodes but was called back to reprise the role repeatedly over four years.

“I love that it’s different every single job I do. It’s completely different. The characters, the scripts, the relationships, that’s one of the things that I love,” he said.

Carter has currently taken the male lead in the film Love or War, which he said is similar to When Harry Met Sally.

And he’ll start working on the lead male role in the zombie film Love in the Time of Monsters in May.

He’s excited to work on both films, which have dramatic and comedic elements.

“In life and in film, in storytelling, whenever you have a dramatic moment, look for the comedy in it. It only helps to serve each other better and make it better. Because that’s what life is. There’s a little bit funny and sad.”

It’s a lesson that Carter — an avid traveller who has run two marathons in L.A. and recently started working as a video editor — says he learned early in life.

ptrotter@redderadvocate.com

Just Posted

PHOTOS: Red Deer College Queens host third annual Pink in the Rink game

The RDC Queens picked up an extra special victory on home ice… Continue reading

PHOTOS: The Mustard Seed CEO speaks at Seeds of Hope Gala in Red Deer

The first-ever Seeds of Hope Gala was held at the Red Deer… Continue reading

PHOTO: Renewable Energy Fair at Red Deer College

The Renewable Energy Fair and Workshops event was held at Red Deer… Continue reading

Person airlifted to hospital after collision near Innisfail

One person was airlifted to hospital after a serious collision west of… Continue reading

WATCH: Make-A-Wish grants Star Wars loving teen’s wish

The Make-A-Wish Foundation granted Anakin Suerink’s wish in Red Deer Saturday afternoon

‘Stupid’ law preventing Canada’s re-engagement with Iran: retired envoy

OTTAWA — The real reason the Liberal government hasn’t been able to… Continue reading

Voters head to polls for BC municipal elections today

VANCOUVER — Voters in British Columbia will head to the polls today… Continue reading

All sharks tagged in N.S. expedition can now be tracked on Ocearch website

HALIFAX — All six of the sharks tagged in Nova Scotian waters… Continue reading

Memorial service for former PQ minister Lise Payette today in Montreal

MONTREAL — Mourners will gather to remember former Parti Quebecois cabinet minister… Continue reading

Immunotherapy scores a first win against some breast cancers

For the first time, one of the new immunotherapy drugs has shown… Continue reading

‘Mom I’m in trouble:’ Canadian, Brit face 10 years in jail for alleged graffiti

GRANDE PRAIRIE, Alta. — The mother of a Canadian who was arrested… Continue reading

Coyote on the prowl near Penhold

This coyote was out on the prowl in a field just west… Continue reading

Most Read