FROM ‘Passions’ to steaming up the box in ‘Desperate Housewives’, Jesse Metcalfe seemed primed to take Hollywood by storm.
Sadly, he has been greeted with disappointment with forgettable movie roles in ‘John Tucker Must Die’, ‘Loaded’, ‘The Other End of the Line’, ‘Beyond a Reasonable Doubt’ and even his regular TV role as Luke Watson in ‘Chase’. But redemption has arrived with his landing the pivotal part of Christopher Ewing in the modern-day interpretation of ‘Dallas’.
However, that role wasn’t his first choice. Metcalfe explains: “I originally interviewed for the character of John Ross; there was some interest there and that was what I think got the ball rolling for me. Ultimately, they ended up casting Josh Henderson and he embodies the role perfectly. Then they came to me with Christopher and I was thrilled because I identify with that character even more. I feel what’s at the core of Christopher is at the core of Jesse and that’s a drive that is really motivated by a need to prove himself.”
In the same way that a very principled and affectionate Bobby and his dishonest, cold-hearted brother JR fought in the original series, Christopher and his cousin John Ross continue with the family tradition.
“Because he was adopted, Christopher has a bit of a chip on his shoulder. But he is a moral guy, a man of integrity and he is constantly striving to be a better man and to bring his family together,” he adds.
“With all of my roles, I bring a lot of personal experience to the character. The great thing about acting is that with each new role, you grow as a person. Playing a certain type of role can either be a cathartic experience, where playing the role allows you to exorcise some demons you may have and make you a better person. Or it can be sort of a dark journey, where it takes you into a world you were never part of before, for example Heath Ledger in the role of the Joker in Batman.
“From the moment I got the opportunity to audition for Dallas to this moment right now where I sit across talking to you, it has been quite a journey.”
Commenting on the remake, he says: “The new Dallas continues in that tradition of storytelling; it stays with the original themes of power, money, greed, jealousy and betrayal – all the things that made the show so successful.”
Although Metcalfe and Henderson clash in the series, they share an off-screen bond.
“I have known Josh for 10 years and we have been in and out of each other’s lives. We used to play on a charity basketball team together. We were quite competitive with one another and we have also been up for a number of the same roles. There really is a built-in rivalry between us – and a history. Although the feuding cousins are rivals, they are also family. There is a very thin line between love and hate and behind this contemptuous rivalry, there is also love,” says Metcalfe.
With Metcalfe having found a “new family” in Dallas, it looks like his acting career has also been given a new lifeline.
Hopefully, he will make the most of his lucky break. After all, an unemployed actor – notwithstanding his dashing good looks – will always be an insignificant one.
‘Dallas’ is on M-Net (DStv Channel 101) on Tuesday at 9pm.