It’s hard to picture anyone else, other than Milo Ventimiglia, playing the role of Jack Pearson in This Is Us. But creator Dan Fogelman said he initially had other plans in mind, far before Jack became America’s new favorite dad.
At the 10th Annual Television Academy Honors in Beverly Hills on Thursday, Fogelman admitted to PEOPLE that they were originally searching for “somebody a little less dreamy and less masculine” and “more like the every man, regular guy” to play the role of Jack.
However, as audiences know, Ventimiglia, 39, has no problem winning over hearts and this situation was no different.
“Milo walked into the room with his motorcycle helmet, his beard, his cool guy hair and all his muscles — there was something about him,” Fogelman explained. “We were like, ‘Okay well, we have to change the whole conception of the character.’”
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While Ventimiglia’s interpretation of Jack differed from their plans, Fogelman said they never had any doubts about him, noting “how great an actor he was when he was reading [the part for Jack].”
“He was not what we had in our mind… it was a little different than what we’d been thinking about,” Fogelman revealed. “He very much was not only the first choice, but the only choice.”
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As for Ventimiglia, when asked if playing a dad of three on the show makes him want to have kids, he responded, “When he wills it. I’ve got nieces and nephews and plenty of different ages of kids on the show, so when it happens, it’ll happen.”
This Is Us returns for season 2 this fall on NBC.