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'This Is Us' News: Milo Ventimiglia Not The First Choice To Play Jack Pearson

by Jessica Rapir / May 18, 2018 05:05 AM EDT
Milo Ventimiglia was not the first choice to play Jack Pearson in 'This Is Us' but the love of fishing lands him the role. Photo by This Is Us/Facebook

American actor Milo Ventimiglia was not the first choice to play the role of Jack Pearson in the tearjerker drama This Is Us. Many fans are not aware that they almost watch a different actor for the character. Ventimiglia was not the first pick to portray the role of the Pearson family patriarch but it was Oliver Hudson.

The Nashville actor revealed during an interview with the Ladygang Podcast how he almost got the role of Jack Pearson. Hudson said he already passed the initial audition for the character and he was even invited back to do a screen test with the series' leading lady, Mandy Moore (Rebecca Pearson). It was supposed to be the final screening to see the chemistry between Hudson and Moore as an on-screen couple.

"So I went in and read, and it went very well. They wanted me to come and do a chemistry read with Mandy Moore," he said.

Hudson admitted that he wasn't able to do the screening with Moore because he chose to go on a 10-day fishing expedition instead of pursuing the role. In turn, Ventimiglia's life changed when Hudson bailed on the final screening for the character because of his love of fishing.

"It's my life! Fishing is a big part of my life and it was this 10-day fishing trip and my agent says, 'We have to test, and they really like you, and this, this and that.' And I said, 'Ooh, I'm supposed to go on a fishing trip'... And he's like, 'Ok, yeah ... so? I mean, this is a big thing,'" the actor revealed.

In the end, Hudson had a huge catch during the trip but he lost the Jack Pearson role. Hudson admitted that he has slight regret for letting the opportunity to join the cast of a critically acclaimed TV show passed, not to mention to play a character that gave Ventimiglia an Emmy nomination.

Hudson recalled seeing the show ratings after the premiere and revealed that he exclaimed "Sh*t" at the time. Nonetheless, the actor said he is happy for the NBC drama and for Ventimiglia for getting the role. Hudson eventually landed a lead role in Ellen DeGeneres-produced sitcom Splitting Up Together. The show has been renewed just recently for another season.

As for Ventimiglia, he is aware that he is not the first choice to play the Big Three's father. In an interview last year, the actor recalled that he arrived in the audition in a motorcycle. Ventimiglia said he has long hair at the time and already have the Papa Pearson's beard.

"I walked in with my beard and my long hair and set my motorcycle helmet down and they went, 'Who is this guy?'' ... I think they just saw something different than someone who had practiced the words, and they picked me," the actor told Freida Pinto for Variety's "Actors on Actors" series.

Ventimiglia also previously admitted that he almost quit acting after a failed attempt of a Gilmore Girls spin-off. Fortunately, an opportunity on This Is Us came along.

The series' fans will see more of Ventimiglia in the upcoming This Is Us Season 3 despite his character's death in the recent installment. The show's creator Dan Fogelman has already assured that Jack is definitely coming back in Season 3. This Is Us is slated to return for Season 3 in September with the same timeslot as the previous two seasons. 

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