Thursday / February 03 / 2022

Jake McDorman for PhotoBook

This year is off to a great start with a new photoshoot! Jake recently spoke with PhotoBook Magazine and discussed his career and his upcoming projects. You can read the interview below, and visit our gallery for outtakes!

What inspired you to break into the acting industry?
It was something I knew I wanted to do for a very long time, from a very young age. I didn’t have a name for it, I didn’t know where to go, or what to do, or exactly what shape it would take, but I eventually found acting to be the outlet I was looking for. A way to extend an immersive imagination with other actors on stage. Once I found that tribe, I knew I’d never want to leave.

What can you tell us about your roles in your two upcoming projects, FX’s new series Class of ’09 and the upcoming Paramount+ film Jerry and Marge Go Large?
Jerry and Marge Go Large is a movie I did last year with Bryan Cranston and Annette Bening directed by David Frankel. It’s a true story about a Michigander who, after retirement, discovered a flaw in the Winfall lottery, and exploited using the winnings to help rebuild his small, rural town. I play their son and we shot it over the course of five or six weeks in Atlanta. It was a great group of people. Class of ’09 is another great group of people, also in Atlanta. It follows a graduating class of FBI trainees from the time they spent together at Quantico, across their careers as agents over the course of three decades. It stars Brian Tyree Henry and Kate Mara, and we’re about halfway through filming.

If you could play any role what would it be?
I honestly don’t know what I’m right for until I read it. And even then, sometimes I’ll need convincing. So, it’s hard to pluck a dream role out of thin air. I’d have to read it in the context of a script. It has to crystalize in that part of the process or it never does.

Although you have been acting for many years, if you weren’t, what do you think you would pursue?
I started working on my house last year. Building and renovating. It’s a shift; working with my hands. I’ve enjoyed how tactile and practical it is. It’s relaxing, cathartic. I never thought I’d enjoy it as much as I have. So, if film is off the table, maybe I’d build one.

Describe your favorite moment of your career so far, or one of them?
My forever answer to this question is Taika (Waititi) and Jermaine (Clement) directing my O-Face via walkie talkie for What We Do in the Shadows. It can’t be beat. I think any time I’ve gotten to work with someone whose work I admire—it’s been a highlight. I’ve found there’s a real kinship among people who love the process. It’s never not educational. Always unmastered, ever changing. So, to get in the ring with someone who elevates you, whether that be a director, writer, actor, it’s always a highlight.

Who is someone you’d love to work with whom you haven’t yet?
I can’t tell you, what if they read this.

What is your favorite project you’ve worked on?
I can’t pick a favorite, what if they read this.

How has life during the pandemic affected your career?
You know, more than anything, it’s put my career in perspective. I’m grateful to be able to work, I’m even more grateful for the people I love. This was a hard year for everyone. It’s still hard. A lot of change, equal parts good and bad. We need each other. I’m very grateful for the people in my life.

What are you must haves to bring to set?
Portable fan, New York Time’s crossword, and a book I never end up reading past the first chapter.

Tuesday / September 22 / 2020

Jake McDorman for Esquire Latinoamerica

Jake recently spoke with Esquire Latinoamerica via Zoom to discuss his latest project, The Right Stuff, and more! This article is originally in Spanish, so apologies if the automatic translation is inaccurate.

ESQUIRE: Tell us about The Right Stuff.

JAKE MCDORMAN: The series is based on Tom Wolfe’s book of the same name, which tells the story of a group of astronauts in the American Space Program , where they tested experimental aircraft and rockets. 

It tells who they were, what they did, enters their personal lives and shows us what their relationships with their wives were like.

It was very interesting because they became famous in the world, the American media projected them as celebrities and they were not necessarily prepared for that level of fame.

ESQ: What made you decide to participate in this production?

JM: Honestly, it was a bit of everything. The pilot script was fantastic, one of the best I’ve read in years for a single camera drama.

He had a lot of different characters to introduce and juggle ; all that, in one hour of broadcast, is impressive. I think Mark Lafferty (the producer) did incredibly well. 

Plus, Leonardo DiCaprio’s production company was involved, which has a certain pedigree and makes you feel like you’re in good hands, and the fact that it was for NatGeo (Disney + wasn’t involved at the time) gave it even more exposure.

ESQ: Do you have anything in common with your character, Alan Shepard?

JM: Yes, I think you always find coincidences with the characters you play. I would say insecurities can be pretty universal, and even though these guys did very brave things, they are still human. 

Alan’s reluctance to be famous, as well as his ongoing struggle with being a celebrity and the fame that came with the Space Program, are things any actor can relate to. 

Alan and the other six astronauts were among the most famous people in the 1960s; I, obviously, have not lived something like that or at that level, but in my microcosm I can understand the anxiety of being in the public eye.

ESQ: Of all the characters you have played so far, which has been your favorite?

JM: Brian Finch from Limitless. I didn’t play it for that long, but it was a show focused on this character’s experience and the show’s writers were terrific, they wrote according to my strengths and allowed me to have fun with it. 

I also really enjoyed my experience on HBO’s Watchmen, the character was kind of nefarious, but it was a fun world and I’m a huge fan of comics. 

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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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