The father of two young children, Patrick Wilson is teaching them about conserving at home. "It's as important to tell them to turn off the water when they're brushing their teeth, as it is to turn on the water to brush their teeth. We start small," says the actor, now starring in CBS' "A Gifted Man," premiering Sept. 23, as a brilliant, successful, self-centered New York surgeon who begins to re-evaluate his life after the spirit of his late ex-wife appears to him and he becomes involved in the free clinic she ran.

Wilson, who has starred on Broadway ("Oklahoma," "The Full Monty"), in film ("Little Children," "Watchmen," "The A-Team," "Insidious") and TV ("Angels in America"), says "it has always come down to the script for me. I've been very fortunate for a long time to get meaty roles and this was a role that just felt very complicated and a challenge. I usually go after things that frighten me." On the fact that it shoots in New York City, where his son just started kindergarten: "It was too good to pass up."

Comparing himself to his character, "He's a pretty guarded person. I guess I am, too, but when push comes to shove I'm more open than he is," observes Wilson, who hasn't had a supernatural experience but considers himself a spiritual person. He did briefly want to be a doctor, when he was about 13, "only because everyone said you should be a doctor and I wanted to play sports."

On the big screen, Wilson will play Charlize Theron's old high school boyfriend whose marriage she returns to town to split up in "Young Adult," opening in December, and the stage musical veteran keeps his vocal chops up by sitting in with bands like '80s rockers TNT. "I always find ways to sing. I've got instruments in my basement. I play drums," he notes. Being multi-faceted can only serve him well in terms of career longevity, he believes. "You want to be able to have more tools in your bag."

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