‘This Is Us’: Milo Ventimiglia Says Jack Is Hard to Live Up to — But He’s Up for the Challenge

As any This Is Us fan will tell you, Jack Pearson (Milo Ventimiglia) is one of the greatest dads in television history. Of course, the fourth season hinted the character may not be the epitome of perfection he was always made out to be. He is human, after all. Nevertheless, there’s no denying Jack was not only a good father, but also a good man. Then recently, Ventimiglia opened up about living up to Jack on This Is Us. And although the actor admits it’s difficult, he’s willing to go the distance.

Milo Ventimiglia discusses Jack’s perfection on ‘This Is Us’

Milo Ventimiglia as Jack on 'This Is Us' - Season 4
Milo Ventimiglia as Jack on ‘This Is Us’ | Ron Batzdorff/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images

In the May 7 episode of the LA Times podcast, Can’t Stop Watching, the host revealed Kyle Chandler — who played Coach Taylor on Friday Night Lights — joking said his character’s perfection was a “pain in the a**” at times. And it seems Ventimiglia can relate when it comes to matching Jack’s perfection on This Is Us.

“I think it might have been the end of season 2 and I was sitting around. [Creator Dan Fogelman] and I were just talking and I said, ‘You know, Jack is really difficult to live up to, man,’” Ventimiglia said. “And he is. That’s the real truth.”

He also explained why This Is Us fans care so deeply for his character. “There is this mystical, reverent love for Jack. And I think a lot of it is because we only had him for a short period of time,” the 42-year-old said. “Knowing who he was and how he really was and the love he had for his family —  for his wife, for his kids, the dedication he had to them — creates this hero, this superhero … You just want to admire him.”

Ventimiglia then admitted it can be difficult being compared to Jack. “Being the actor who plays that guy is tough sometimes because I think I’m held to an equal standard,” he said. 

That said, Ventimiglia doesn’t necessarily think it’s a bad thing. “I don’t mind it because that is a good reminder to me of the upbringing that my mom and dad gave me, which is lead with love,” he said. “Be a good person. Do your best. You’re going to make mistakes. But you have to, have to, have to try let that golden heart come through in the end. You gotta do it. You gotta do it.”

Ventimiglia added, “So I don’t mind, I’m up for the challenge.”

Milo Ventimiglia opens up about working with kids on ‘This Is Us’

Now it appears Ventimiglia is living up to Jack’s legacy just fine. Still speaking with the Can’t Stop Watching podcast, the actor shared what it was like working with kids. He stated it was a ‘blessing and a curse.” But ultimately, Ventimiglia acknowledged the very real role he has in the lives of his co-stars.

“Here’s the thing, I play father to these kids, but I’m not their dad,” he said. “But I also want them to know that, ‘Hey, if you need anything you can call me.’ It’s just a tough, tough thing .. You’re working with someone that is asked to be an adult for whatever amount of time they’re on a set. For eight hours a day. And that’s tough.”

Ventimiglia continued: “When you’re a kid, I mean, these are monumental relationships. You know, friendships that you’re building and then all the sudden jobs over. They get taken away. I try to — with any of the kids that I’ve worked with — be just like, ‘Hey kid, I’m around. The rest of your life, I’m around. You need advice, you need anything, you need a meal, you need a hug? Whatever you need. I’m here for you.’”

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The actor also explained he does this because he didn’t have anyone to do the same when he was in their position. “I didn’t have anyone on my coming up as an actor that I could really rely on,” Ventimiglia said. “So for me, I think I always want to offer that to the kids that I work with and let them know that, ‘Hey I care about you. I want you to do the best work that you can. My job here is to make sure you’re better.’”

It may be hard for Ventimiglia to match Jack’s perfection, but the This Is Us star already seems to have a few things in common with his on-screen alter ego. And of course, we know it’s impossible to expect individuals to be like fictional characters. But quite frankly, there’s nothing wrong with raising the bar just a little.

Read more: ‘This Is Us’: Milo Ventimiglia Predicts How Jack Pearson Would Respond to the Coronavirus Pandemic