Milo Ventimiglia Explains His Physical Transformation from 'This is Us' to 'The Company You Keep' (Exclusive)

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Milo Ventimiglia is opening up about the simple physical transformation he underwent to get into character for his new ABC series, The Company You Keep. The show began production while This Is Us was wrapping up, and while it was hard to say goodbye to the long-running NBC show, going from Jack Pearson to Charlie Nicoletti was pretty easy.

"Shave and a haircut. No joke. It was a shave and a haircut," Ventimiglia told ET's Denny Directo of the simple switch. "I mean, we had this wonderful cast assembled by that point. Script ready to go, and then of course shot the pilot it, got it going. ABC picked it up and here we are with the series."

As for why the series -- which centers around the love story between con man Charlie (Ventimiglia) and undercover CIA officer Emma (Catherine Haena Kim) -- was the right next move, the 45-year-old actor said it brings a "sexiness" and "fun" he was ready to step into for a bit.

"This one was a lot of fun. I think we touched a lot of hearts with This is Us. I think we hit a lot of families. I think we got to the core and foundation of being a human being -- this one felt like entertainment," Ventimiglia explained. "This one felt like, 'Hey, let's show some sexiness. Hey, let's let's show some fun, show a little crime and have everybody kind of ride that train for a little bit."

While Ventimiglia has moved on from his This Is Us role, he brought the show's crew along with him for his new series, creating that familial feeling on set of the ABC series once more.

"I mean we've been doing it on that show going on six years and for me, the product of my work is dependent on my working environment, personally. And to work with my crew -- same camera, grip, electric, hair, makeup, transportation folks and faces that I'd seen day in and day out for six years, it was like, if I can be around them -- great," he shared. 

Ventimiglia continued, "And then also, for me, it's satisfying to be able to continue that. Say, 'Hey, we're a group. We've been doing this successfully for as long as we have been, let me see if I can do that.' It was a surprising thing for some of the crew. They were like, 'Wow,' on day one of the pilot, 'You got us all back together.' I said, 'Yeah, of course, I did. I said I would.'" 

"It was important for me to understand what would make the crew the happiest," he added. "And listen, I mean, some people live in different pockets of Los Angeles and others you want to do what you can, but at the same time, I think everybody was already very settled and very happy with where we film in Hollywood at Paramount, and it just made the most sense."

The decision was one Ventimiglia was happy to make, telling ET that always wants to be a man who "wants to open the door" for every and any opportunity for others.

"I'm in a very fortunate position to be able to make some decisions that benefit a larger group, and I think for me, I've always been a man who wants to open the door," Ventimiglia said. "I may be the first one through, but I'm going to hold it open and let everybody else in."

The Company You Keep premieres Feb. 19 at 10:00 p.m. on ABC.


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