You Must Know: Jesse Plemmons
Any Friday Night Lights fan will tell you that when Landry Clarke stepped out of Saracen's shadow to become the show's most unlikely romantic lead, it discovered gold in actor Jesse Plemons. Witty, charming, steadfast and courageous are not only adjectives that describe the character, but also the man who brought him to life for five seasons.
Now, Jesse is back with a new NBC show, Bent -- a smart and subtle comedy that focuses on newly divorced Alex (played by Amanda Peet) and her not-always-so-handy handyman Pete (played by David Walton) -- and a new movie, Battleship (directed by FNL producer Peter Berg).
I caught up with Jesse to talk about his small screen return, how you'll discover what a good actor he really is and why he's not as excited as fans are for that Friday Night Lights movie.
Insider.com: What attracted you to Bent?
Jesse Plemons: I loved the whole style of the show, from the writing to the acting style. There's not a lot of comedy on TV that I really watch and enjoy – this was just a really understated and funny show.
Insider: You play Gary - who is he?
Jesse: I'm the new guy on Pete's construction team. The backstory is that my dad knows Pete. His crew has worked together for years and I'm fresh off the boat, trying to save up money for school.
Insider: In real life, how are your construction skills?
Jesse: You know, I really should be a lot handier than I am [laughs]. I grew up in Texas and, as a kid, would go to construction sites with my dad, who is a carpenter, so it's kind of a shame that I'm not handier.
Insider: So when audiences are impressed with your on-screen handiman skills, they're really appreciating your acting?
Jesse: Yep. It's all an act. When I'm holding those tools or reaching around for chords, I have no idea what I'm actually doing [laughs].
Insider: What excites you about this show?
Jesse: I'm excited because I don't feel like there's anything quite like this on TV. I think, just as I was, people will be pleasantly surprised by the humor. But at the same time, there's a lot of heart at the center of this show. I love the underlying theme of "Bent Not Broken." These characters are all on the mend in one way or another, and that's something I'm excited to see play out.
Insider: Much like FNL, Bent is a no frills show. So how different was the experience of making Battleship?
Jesse: It was definitely a learning experience. I think I'd done maybe a day’s worth of greenscreen before Battleship and we had 2 months of greenscreen on this set. It was really crazy but I'm excited to see how it all turns out because I spent months looking at colors taped on a wall. I don't think you can get further apart in experiences than this.
Insider: Peter Berg has said that a Friday Night Lights movie is happening -- how do you feel about playing Landry once again if asked?
Jesse: I don't know. That's a tough one. I feel like the way they left Landry was really ambiguous and I almost prefer it that way. At the same time, I don't think anyone could say no to going back and doing it again because that show was so much fun. A movie would be like a big reunion.
Insider: So you're not hoping for Landry to finally get that scene where Tyra comes home, throws her arms around him and says, "I've been a fool -- it's been you all along" as they walk into sunset?
Jesse: [laughs] Yea. I didn't really want that to happen for some reason. I feel like that relationship was one of those first love things that was never really destined to work out .. as much as fans wanted it to. It's supposed to be the experience that sticks with you through life, but not the person you end up with.
Bent premieres tonight at 9 p.m., followed by a second episode at 9:30 p.m. on NBC!