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Living up to television’s No. 1 dad onscreen, Jack Pearson on This Is Us is quite the task. And many viewers tell the actor who plays Jack, Milo Ventimiglia, that they aspire to be like the character.
“He’s a hard man to live up to for myself, for husbands around the world, for fathers around the world,” Ventimiglia tells The Hollywood Reporter during the latest episode of In Studio.
He added, “I get a lot of bereavement for people who are like, ‘Man you’re ruining my marriage.’ Everybody sees Jack and they’re like ‘I got to be Jack.’ And I [say], ‘No man, just be yourself. You can truly impact your wife, your family, your community, whatever you choose to put your positivity towards.’ ”
On the past season of the NBC drama it was through Jack’s backstory and his time serving during the Vietnam War that shined light on what transformed this family hero. For Ventimiglia and show creator Dan Fogelman, showing Jack’s past and time fighting in the war was its own task in getting the story right in a real way. Bringing in author and veteran Tim O’Brien was significant in crafting the hero Jack was beyond his family.
“Heroism isn’t something that Jack strives for. He’s a man that jumps into action,” says Ventimiglia. As for working closely with O’Brien, the actors adds, “There was a lot of direct correlation to Tim’s experience in Vietnam to Jack’s. There was a lot of what they were wanting to tell story wise about Jack’s story that was brought up from him. It had a great impact on the direction we took Jack on. There were a lot of things that I would sit and I would talk to Tim about his time and relating it to what Jack was going through.”
“It was really a great honor having him around and just having the prospective,” he added, “the lens of what he experienced when he was in Vietnam, but also he’s a storyteller first and foremost.”
Now the actor is gearing up for production of the show’s upcoming season and it’s a time where there is an end in sight for the series. After the show was picked up for three more seasons, with season six being its last, it’s the role, story and family offscreen that the actor will miss most.
“It’s always the crew,” he says. “They’re the living, breathing entity, the family of what we do.” Of the ending he said, “The sad truth and reality is everything ends. Knowing what I know already I’m looking forward to what the audience gets to experience with the closing of the show, which is still three seasons away.”
Watch Ventimiglia’s full interview above where he talks exploring each relationship on the show and his upcoming film, The Art of Racing in the Rain. As Ventimiglia put it, “If you like This Is Us, you’ll really like The Art of Racing in the Rain. It’s a human story.”
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