Despite we haven’t seen much of Jack Damon’s future on This Is Us, and we don’t know if we’ll see him again as actor Blake Stadnik also underlines, I dare anyone not to empathise with his optimism and his big heart. “Even though you know when we first meet or meet him, he’s hungover because he can’t write a good song.” says he. “He’s not going to stop, and he’s always going to continue following his dreams, and I think that’s a quality.”
We at Survived The Shows had the great pleasure of talking with Blake Stadnik, who plays the adult version of Jack Damon, Kate and Toby’s son on This Is Us. We discussed his way of approaching the character, his relationship with his co-stars and his favourite moments and characters on the show – not to mention a little tease about the series finale!
What’s the main element in Jack’s character and the show in general, that fascinates you the most and drew you to join This Is Us?
BLAKE STADNIK: Well, I think that Jack exhibits a quality that is sort of encompassing in the entire show and that is his optimism. Even though you know when we first meet or meet him, he’s hungover because he can’t write a good song. I think he’s still in that moment. He’s not going to stop, and he’s always going to continue following his dreams, and I think that’s a quality. Throughout the entire storyline, that even though this family goes on, they have some rough parts of their journey. They have low points, they are always going to keep going and keep loving each other.
And how did you approach this role, also considering the similarities between your own personal story and his?
BS: Sure, it’s it’s actually funny. I was talking with Dan Fogelman, the creator of the show a while ago about how similar Jack’s and my life experiences have been actually. You know, he had vision loss from birth. I lost mine when I was six years old. But we both discovered performing and music, and in my case acting, as a way to express ourselves and interpret our world and kind of communicate in a way that everyone can understand. Whether you are visually impaired or not. And that took him on this huge journey into being a rock star. And, you know, I’m not a rock star yet, but it’s the same thing as my passion for acting and storytelling took me on this journey that propelled me into, you know, getting a role on This Is Us.
Has there been any particular feature in Jack’s portrayal that’s been most challenging for you to portray in the show both professionally and also personally?
BS: To to be honest, I don’t play the piano and Jack does and he plays the guitar. I’m just a singer and, you know, and also like I’m a tap dancer, so I consider that music too, but I don’t play the piano. So it was actually trying to make sure that I knew how to do it well enough that it’s believable that Jack is also playing that was probably the biggest like I-don’t-want-to-mess-this-up moment. […] At the end of season four, in the scene where Jack and Lucy are laying in bed together and she’s pregnant and he starts playing the guitar, I actually did learn how to play ‘Memorized’ on the guitar. We also had an extremely extremely accomplished guitar player layer in some stuff, so it sounded better than I think I was playing it, but that actually is me playing.
Besides the relationship between Jack and his parents and also his sister throughout the series, we got the chance to explore this lovely relationship between Jack and Lucy, the woman who later will become his wife. How was it like for you to build this relationship with Auden Thornton, who plays Lucy?
BS: Auden makes it very, very easy. She is just a wonderful person and we’ve become very good friends. Actually, even the show’s wrapped, you know, we’re actually getting dinner. My wife and I are getting dinner with her later this week. And she’s just wonderful. We’ve talked, you know, before each scene, like ‘where we’re at?’ cause you know we jump timelines so much. We always talk like ‘alright, so where are we at this point? What’s just happened? You know what? What kind of headspace are we in in this place?‘.
In the scene where, in the Katoby episode, where you see Jack at the nightclub and both of his parents are there with their new spouses and we get that great line of ‘you’re both here’. You know, Lucy and Jack aren’t married at that point, so we were sort of discussing like ‘how long has this been? How long have we been together that kind of stuff?’ But it’s been wonderful. It’s just as long as you are working with an extremely giving actor like Auden is that creation of that relationship. It just becomes organic and it just blossoms.
And you know, I’ve actually we kind of incorporated some things from my relationship with my wife into Jack and Lucy’s relationship.
There’s a montage in the season opener of Season 4. We’re sort of seeing Jack and Lucy’s relationship develop and they’re laying in bed and she’s reading to him. And that’s actually something that my wife and I do as well. You know, I listen to audiobooks a lot, but usually we have one book that we’re sort of reading together that she’s reading to me. And it actually in in the scene where Jack and Lucy first meet, where he kind of sort of messes with her like you know, pretends like that she scared him and he’s like ‘why would you do that?’ Well, that’s something that I would totally do too and I think that endears Jack and Lucy together, that they can laugh about the serious moments, too.
We’re coming closer to the series finale of This Is Us, what can people expect on Jack’s part of the story and we will see more of him and his parents or him and Haley?
BS: I wish wish wish I could tell you. But we do have – I’m going to have to keep all – Dan always wants Jack Damon’s appearances to be a big surprise for the audience so.. I can’t, you know, I can’t say whether he will be there or not. But what I can say about the series finale is, you know, it’s been bittersweet the these last few weeks wrapping everything because obviously we’re all sad that it’s ending, and for me, you know, I came in halfway through the series, so I still feel like this is all new and completely exciting for me.
But it’s sweet in the way that the story is ending exactly how it’s supposed to. It’s not one of those shows that goes on for way too long, and it’s not one of those shows that gets cut off too soon and they have to wrap things up too quickly. When I read the script for the last episode, my wife was actually reading it to me and we both started crying for good reasons and so I think, even though the audience will be sad because that it’s ending and we’ll all be working our way through boxes of tissues. I think we will all find it, you’ll find it extremely satisfying how it ends.
If you could choose one character on This Is Us, apart from Jack Damon, that you would love to play, which one would it be?
BS: Ohh man wow. Alright, I have two answers if that’s OK. First answer is Uncle Nicky because, not only is Griffin such a super cool dude. But if we’re just talking about playing the character, I think he goes on such a fantastic journey throughout the series. From being so angry and so tormented to then being so like loving and and really at peace. I think that’s beautiful and then, I think the other one would be my namesake. I think it would be Jack because he’s just such a awesome dad and such a great role model and I almost can’t separate him from Milo, who I love so much. It’s like I just kind of want to be Jack in real life.
If you had to give some advice to people who want to pursue an acting career, what kind of advice would you give them?
BS: I think, the entertainment business and specifically acting can be a very… It’s a very tough career path because you get rejected a lot and you’re sort of constantly, in a way, asking permission for the opportunity to do what you love.
So. I think if you’re looking at your your dreams and you’re thinking I will not be hay doing any other thing than this. Then you should follow it with all of your heart and all of your effort and don’t let anyone stop you. And always be true to who you are. Don’t try to change yourself to fit some mold because who you are is really the most interesting thing you can be. Umm? And then the last thing would be. Create your own stuff. Even if no one sees it, or hears it, it will feed your desire to create. And when that is being fed, everyone else can see the sort of light that emits from your heart.
Keep following us for more news about the world of This Is Us and its cast with upcoming projects!