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Thursday / April 25 / 2019

Interview: Forging a Career

Jake spoke with Television Academy and talked about his acting career, Murphy Brown, and What We Do in the Shadows. Here’s an excerpt:

“I went to a few really good classes there and in those classes I met people who had been going back and forth from Dallas to LA for pilot season or busy times out here for years and years and years, so pretty quickly I realized, okay, that’s what I want to do.”

And once he figured that out, he put it into action quickly. “I was originally going to finish high school and try to get into a college somewhere in Los Angeles or Southern California. If I couldn’t get in directly maybe go to a college in Texas for a first year and transfer, just to move myself out there. I have a half sister that grew up out here so I felt like I had some kind of semblance of a home base in LA.

“But as I got an agent in Dallas and as I met more people through these acting classes that had actually made the trip to LA earlier than even graduating high school, that started to take shape. I had really supportive parents that were just, I think, really excited that I had found something that really got me going.

“By the time I was 13 or 14 I had Adobe Premiere and was editing my own movies and eating, breathing and sleeping film and television and acting and all that. I think that was enough to give them at least the confidence to take at least the first leap of faith and have me start homeschooling and try six months out here.

“I got an agent and a manager in LA when I was 16 and then I saved up for about a six month trial run in 2003, I guess it was, and tested for a few pilots. Ended up getting a recurring on a pilot that got picked up and I think that was enough to say, ‘hey, all right, let’s do this’ and kind of been working steadily ever since.”

If 16 seems young to start a career in a strange city far from home, McDorman didn’t always see it that way. He says, “When I first moved out here I was 16, which in hindsight now, I’m like, god that’s young. That’s so young.

“I remember when I was 16 I was like, god, I missed it. I should have been out here when I was 10, when you meet these people who have been doing it forever. I’m very glad now that that wasn’t the case.

“As I’ve grown up and I’m now in my 30s so many of those people that I got off the bus with originally, so many of them don’t do this anymore and I think a large part of that was because some of them, they did it so young they didn’t know if it was even what they wanted to do or even worse, it might have been their parent’ idea.

“‘Let’s get you in acting’ and kind of stage parents type thing. That was never the case with my family. This was always my thing and they were so supportive, but then when it came to auditions and making it happen they were very hands off. They would let me forge my own way.
“I’m really grateful. I couldn’t have done it without two really, really supportive parents and a supportive family overall, my sister, both my sisters. That was it. Yeah. Still here.”


Friday / March 29 / 2019

Interview with Hollywood Life

Jake spoke with Hollywood Life and discussed his character on What We Do in the Shadows and his (hilarious) first day on set.

Jake McDorman stars as Jeff, an average human guy who Nadja thinks is the reincarnation of her old lover, Gregor. Nadja spies on Jeff and catches him masturbating in one of the funniest scenes from the premiere. That scene was actually the first scene Jake filmed for the show, and his recollection about it is absolutely hilarious.

“They sprung that on me like the day I had to do it,” Jake told HollywoodLife EXCLUSIVELY. “That was my first day at work, by the way, with my heroes, Jemaine and Taika. I went to set at midnight, because the show is all about vampires, so it’s night shoots. I meet Taika and Jemaine, and the first scene I’m doing is that scene. The first experience I had on What We Do In The Shadows was laying in bed with a walkie talkie next to me with Taika Waititi giving me direction on my ‘O’ face. He’s like, ‘That’s good. More teeth. More teeth. Now be happy about it. Be happy about it. Now angry. More angry at yourself. Hate yourself a little bit. Good, good. Hate yourself. Hate yourself.’ I’m just going to town trying to take his direction, and he goes on and on and on until I finally broke. I was like, ‘Oh my god. Someone call cut.’ He goes, ‘Oh, mate. We called cut ages ago.’ I asked Jemaine, ‘So was that everything that you’d imagined when you wrote it?’ He’s like, ‘Yeah, pretty much.’ As much as I would’ve died if I got a call from them personally about getting the part, I think this introduction was even more special.”

While Jake couldn’t reveal whether or not Jeff is actually the reincarnation of Gregor, he teased that “Nadja is dead certain, so that will play out for sure, and we’ll find out if that’s real or if she’s mistaken.” Even though Nadja is a vampire, Jeff is just excited to have some female attention. “He’s just so stoked to have someone even into him that he doesn’t stop to ask why,” Jake continues. “He’s just going to roll with it. You want to look like a vampire from hundreds of years ago? That’s all right. I’ll take it. It’s the most innocent intentions.”

Before What We Do In The Shadows, Jake was working on the Murphy Brown revival, playing Candice Bergen’s onscreen son, Avery. These projects were polar opposites. Once he was finished filming Murphy Brown, Jake jumped at the chance to be a part of Jemaine and Taika’s show.

“I’ve seen almost everything both of them have done, and that was how I went into this project, and that’s always an exciting way to go into anything,” Jake said. “It was also humbling and terrifying. But they did such a good job of making you feel like, hey, you’re here for a reason, and we’re going to have some fun, and just have a blast. There was no pretension. There was no ownership. It was really, really, really a great environment to improvise, play around, take suggestions, and get ridiculous.”

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