Interview

Doug Novlan Dishes On His Famous Son Tanner Novlan

Where is Tanner in the Novlan pecking order? “Tanner is the oldest, then we have a daughter and then another boy, who is 10 years younger.”

How did those family dynamics work out? “Tanner was always very caring and sociable. He made it very easy as his parent because he was so likable.”

What was Tanner like as a teen? “He was always into sports like hockey and basketball and water-skiing. Water-skiing was a big pastime in the summertime, and he always took everything on with a full heart. He always wanted to be the best at everything. So, he did that. I coached him a lot in his hockey. We had a very close bond that way. Then, when he decided to make the move [to Hollywood], he did not know a lot about the industry. He just thought, ‘Well, I’m going to try this and see what happens.’ He always loved [entertaining]. When he was water-skiing, the video camera came out and he performed much better behind the boat. He would flip in the air and land and then he’d edit it and show it to us and his friends. He always put on a good show!”

What’s a funny story from Tanner’s youth? “Well, he took a $350,000 combine [a machine to harvest grain crops in the field] by himself. He kept that under his belt, and there were no cell phones then, so I couldn’t call him. Then I heard from people, ‘Your son is driving a combine at 12 years old.’ Well, he knew how to drive it, and I was like, ‘Don’t let word get out,’ but it was too late.”

What kind of relationship did Tanner have with your father, Clem? “Tanner had an especially close relationship with my father. Tanner was the first grandchild for him and he didn’t have another one for quite a few years. He didn’t spoil his grandkids, but he got them engaged and involved with everything.”

What did you think when Tanner announced he wanted to leave Saskatchewan and move to L.A. to pursue an acting career? “Well, it surprised me but my wife is from Sacramento so we had a little background in that way. I sell farm equipment and Tanner spent quite a lot of time on the farm with us, but he’s always wanted to do things his own way so I said, ‘Okay, do it.’ You just have to let them go and let them be independent. He always thinks things through and he’s a perfectionist, and I’m like that, too.”

What’s it like seeing your son on B&B every day? “Unbelievable. We tape the show every day and watch at night…. He’s pretty good! All that dialogue he has to remember? That’s impressive. It wasn’t an easy process at first but he got engaged with the right people and has made a success for himself. I couldn’t be prouder.”

Have you ever visited the set? “Yes, and seeing the sets and meeting everyone at B&B, who were all so friendly and so welcoming, I was awed.”

What did you think when you heard that Finn was going to be killed off? “I am very superstitious, which comes from sports. You know, you put your left skate on first, then your right. He was very quiet about it. He didn’t tell us because he’s like me, in that you don’t speak until things are finalized. So, he kept it a secret. At first, he didn’t know if he was coming back, and since I’m superstitious, too, I didn’t watch  [Finn’s shooting]. I just thought, ‘If I don’t watch this, maybe he might come back,’ so I didn’t watch it when his character got killed — so maybe that actually worked!”

How is it to see your son as a dad? “He is a great parent. His daughter [Poppy] is an adorable little girl and smart as a whip. She’s priceless and she is not scared of anything. I can’t wait for her to come back to Canada to visit. And we have another [grandbaby] on the way! We love Kayla [Ewell, ex-Caitlin, B&B, Tanner’s wife] and her family. They really took Tanner in like a son, and his father-in-law is like another dad, who treats him like a son himself. That gives me such a good feeling, that he’s really got another dad. That’s a great feeling, knowing that Tanner, a dad himself, is sharing two fathers on Father’s Day.”

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