AFTER shooting to fame as Wisteria Lane’s randiest gardener, Jesse Metcalfe is hot TV property.
He is now playing the good guy in new US marshal drama Chase, which can be seen on Sky Living, and will be seen in the return of Dallas next year.
The man responsible for putting the ‘aah’ into gardening during his time on Desperate Housewives is back on screen with two exciting new additions to his tool belt.
Roles in high-octane police drama Chase and the eagerly anticipated remake of iconic series Dallas are lined up for Jesse Metcalfe, the American heartthrob who found fame tending more than just Eva Longoria’s garden.
Six years after playing John Rowland in the glamorous US series, his talents are still very much still in demand.
“It’s been a busy time and I’m not complaining,” says the very happy-sounding 32-year-old, who owes his muscle-bound, brooding looks to his parents’ mixed Italian, Portuguese and French roots.
“There’s a bit of a track record of the British enjoying police procedurals, so I can’t wait to find out what people in the UK think of Chase.”
But, as the actor points out, it’s not your standard cop show. Each episode begins with the story of a fugitive carrying out their latest crime, then the race is on for a team of US marshals to track them down.
“It’s more action than talking heads in an office looking over paperwork,” he explains.
Californian-born Metcalfe plays Luke Watson, the newest recruit to the team, who has trouble settling in due to his background. “He’s from a very affluent, politically-connected family in Washington DC. He’s highly intelligent and incredibly ethical but he also has a great physical side so I get to kick a little butt too,” he says.
US marshalling is the oldest form of law enforcement in America and a service that last year captured about 90,000 wanted criminals.
The cast attempted to do most of their stunts, Jesse reveals, even in the searing heat of a Texan summer.
“It was a pretty gruelling show to shoot, wearing all our tactical gear in that heat made it very taxing.”
But although he has a very disciplined fitness regime, which includes weight training every day, hiking, running, basketball and boxing, Jesse couldn’t spare himself from pain while on set. “There were quite a few little injuries along the way,” he admits.
“I had one really bad back injury where I was running through a field, took a pretty bad spill and threw out my lower back.
“That took about three months to get through. It was a process of getting to work every morning, icing my back and stretching.”
It was while filming Chase that Jesse got a call from his agent suggesting he audition for the Dallas remake, a continuation of the landmark series which followed the lives, betrayals and affairs of the wealthy Ewing family.
The actor says he was “too young” to appreciate the series when it first aired in the US but his mum was “a huge fan”.
“Initially I wasn’t that excited by it,” he admits. “It sounded like another prime-time soap opera to me, it wasn’t somewhere I wanted to go.”
Jesse initially auditioned to play JR Ewing’s son John Ross Ewing III but missed out on the part, which went to his Desperate Housewives co-star Josh Henderson.
But he acknowledged the scripts were good and, when he found out original cast members Larry Hagman (who played JR), Patrick Duffy (Bobby) and Linda Gray (Sue Ellen) were on board, he gladly accepted when offered the part of Christopher Ewing, Bobby’s adopted son.
“I think the fact they’ve come on board absolutely gives the project credibility, and it’s testament to a script that’s so good Larry decided to come back,” Jesse explains.
Hagman’s villainous turn as the ruthless JR is legendary – 83 million viewers reportedly tuned in to watch the conclusion of the famous ‘Who shot JR?’ plot – and Jesse says they won’t be disappointed to see him don his trademark stetson once again.
“Larry at 80 years old hasn’t lost a beat,” he says. “He’s still a great actor, just deliciously mischievous, he really nails it. That character was totally unscrupulous but people loved him for it. He was conniving, manipulative, womanising, and people loved to watch him on screen.”
The new series, which begins next year, promises to be just as spicy as its forerunner. “The original was pretty racy, it was pretty edgy for its time, and we certainly continue that, without question,” says Jesse.
Luckily he’s had training in that department thanks to his Desperate Housewives role, a role that he acknowledges has made these subsequent projects possible.
He’s even hoping he might be invited back for a guest appearance as John Rowland, given that the show is coming to an end after eight series.
“There’s always that possibility. I would definitely be open to it, and it seems appropriate – seeing as I was part of the birth and the initial success of the show – to bring me back for the final season. But we’ll see if there’s interest there,” he says.
Source: Coventry Telegraph (blog)