Home cover story Jake McDorman

Jake McDorman

by devnym
photography: Alison Dyer Styling: kate longarzo Grooming: Lana Michelle

Tell us about your new show, Peacock’s wild sci-fi series “Mrs. Davis,” and your character Wiley?

Mrs. Davis takes place in an alternate reality not too dis similar from our own where a seemingly benevolent algorithm has quickly risen to ubiquity across the globe claiming to have ended world hunger, famine, pollution, and war. My character, Wiley, ex-bull rider and ex-boyfriend of Simone (who is a nun), believe something more nefarious is afoot. They join forces to take Mrs. Davis (the algorithm) down, with the help of a well funded underground resistance made up of bros who watched Fight Club and Mad Max way too often. The tone shifts wildly between comedy and drama, science fiction and fantasy, and every genre in between. Betty has aptly described it as “No Country for Old Looney Tunes.”

How has the film industry changed in the past fifteen years?

How do you see it changing in the future? Yeah I’ve been working in the TV/film industry for twenty years, since I was sixteen. There is so much that’s changed. Probably the most obvious would be the way we consume media. I marched the picket line in solidarity with the WGA during the last writer’s strike in 2007-2008. One of the many things they—and in effect, all of us, were fighting for, was that the compensation for their work keep pace with the rapidly changing technological landscape. Fifteen years ago, this included residuals for the sales of DVDs. Now, fifteen years later? It’s nothing even tangible. And compensation for streaming is only one item on a long list of important changes the WGA are fighting for, but it speaks to how quickly our technological paradigms are shifting and how impossible they are to predict. In the film industry and otherwise. What was once something you could hold in your hand is now floating through the air and constantly competing for your attention.

photography: Alison Dyer Styling: kate longarzo Grooming: Lana Michelle

When did you know you wanted to be an actor? When did you first feel like you ‘made it’?

I knew pretty young. It was the feeling of being on stage. Overcoming the nerves of something like that. Executing this plan with your cast and feeling the audience react. It’s a thrilling bond. No one in my family is in the industry, so it also came with this very niche, almost exotic community where I grew up outside of Dallas. And since I was so young, I was maybe in second or fourth grade, I don’t think I made the connection right away that what I was doing in theater was a version of what I was seeing on television and in movies. That came later. Not much later. But I’m grateful it came in that order. To have an unfiltered experience of what acting is on stage before you try to chop it up, stretch it, reshape it, contort it, compartmentalize it into these little boxes like we do on screen was invaluable to me. And I don’t know any actor that really feels like they’ve ‘made it.’ I think that definition is constantly being redefined in your mind.

photography: Alison Dyer Styling: kate longarzo Grooming: Lana Michelle

You’re involved in a number of social justice movements, is there any one cause you’re particularly passionate about?
Yeah equity and equality. They’re not just tenets of social justice, they’re tenets of being human. We don’t all get to start from the same place. Systematically. We’re evolved enough, we have the power, we have the resources, to identify, adjust, and correct some of these imbalances. Across race, across gender. People are in this fight daily and not usually by choice. So, anytime I can help amplify those efforts, I try to.

What’s the funniest moment you remember from filming Mrs. Davis – or any production?
Oh, good lord there are too many. I think we laughed so hard so many times on this show that we all lost years of our lives trying to contain ourselves. If I had to pick one off the top of my head? Standing in the desert, naked, pants around my ankles, waddling over to Chris Diamantopoulos, while he’s in a G-string, acting deadly serious—I can barely type it without laughing out loud. How absolutely ridiculous.

What’s a dream project of yours that you haven’t gotten to work on yet?
You know, I don’t really have one. Certainly nothing I want to publicly lobby for here…I have to play it cool. You get it, New York Moves. Come on.

photography: Alison Dyer Styling: kate longarzo Grooming: Lana Michelle

Who is an actor/actress you would want to work with?
I’ve been very lucky. I’ve worked alongside some tremendous actors. I learn a ton from the people I work with. But if I had to name a couple? Joaquin. And Betty Gilpin again.

Do you have any advice for young actors starting out in the industry?
It really has changed so much from when I was starting out…I’m sure there’s more specific advice out there from someone who really has a beat on how to break in these days. But similar to what I was saying before—and this is just from my personal experience, find a place to do it. Whether its a class in school, a class outside of school, a theater pro-
gram. You’re really not going to know how you feel about it until you put it on it’s feet. Find a safe place with people who are eager to learn. Where the only expectation is on the work itself. Before it gets muddied by auditions and connections and representation, etc. I spent two or three years in classes before I got an agent. Then another two years before even considering LA. It doesn’t always take that long. But take some time to try it on.

How do you decompress after a long day on set?
My dog, Wolf Man. He gets it.

photography: Alison Dyer Styling: kate longarzo Grooming: Lana Michelle

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