EXCLUSIVE: Milo Ventimiglia Admits Playing Jack on 'This Is Us' Sets a High Bar for His Real-Life Romances
By Philiana Ng
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Milo Ventimiglia may play the perfect man onThis Is Us, but he’s well aware of the drawbacks, too -- at least in his personal life.
On NBC’s breakout family drama, Ventimiglia portrays Jack, the beloved patriarch of the Pearson family, who has become symbolic to fans of the show as an aspirational figure. When asked whether playing Jack has helped or hurt his real life, the first-time Emmy nominee was candid about the realities of playing a desired character.
“Totally hurts,” the 40-year-old actor told ET’s Leanne Aguilera on the Television Critics Association press tour red carpet on Thursday. “Totally hurts because people are like, ‘Man, I wish my husband were more like Jack.’ ‘Man, I wish my boyfriend would do the things that Jack would do.’ And I’m like, Jack’s not real. The dude standing in front of you is real and he’s probably sitting down watching the show with you, so therefore, give your dude some love.”
Ventimiglia was without his trademark facial hair at the press tour, instead rocking a clean-shaven look, which he later confirmed to ET was due to him currently filming young Jack scenes. The former Gilmore Girls star admitted he doesn’t think much of his physical look.
“I’m neither here nor there. I personally like the mustache, but I don’t have the mustache right now,” he said, adding that he’ll “never” take credit for continuing the mustache trend on TV. “I wouldn’t say it hurts me. It just kind of is what it is.”
Ventimiglia also echoed co-star and TV wife Mandy Moore’s wish for happier Jack and Rebecca scenes in season two, agreeing with her sentiments. In the season one finale, the two abruptly broke up after their massive fight, prompting the married couple to mutually decide to spend time apart. The season two premiere picks up the morning after.
“Playing this couple that has been through this argument that we all saw at the end [of last season] and knowing the road of repair that they’re going to have to get back to being the couple that we love them to be, yeah,” he said. “Mandy and I, we just want those happy moments because they’re fun to play. When it’s heavy, you’re like, ‘I really want to have a light moment.’”
Credit can be given to Ventimiglia for recruiting his Rocky Balboa co-star Sylvester Stallone, who will play Kevin’s father figure on the fictional movie he’ll film this season, for a pivotal guest arc. Ventimiglia revealed that he called Stallone and had “a couple nice conversations” before the action icon was “on board.”
“It's nice to know that the material attracts the greats even like Sly. And to know that he'd want to be a part and play with us, it's a very good feeling, so we're thrilled," he said. "I'm personally excited, too, because his character's involvement gives Jack a lot. Because you imagine if Sylvester Stallone is Kevin's movie idol, where'd he learn that from? Probably from Jack, probably from dad."
This Is Us premieres Tuesday, Sept. 26 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on NBC.