Jesse Metcalfe of 'Dallas' talks rivalry & racing

NEED TO KNOW
  • 'My First Time' explores the first time your favorite celebrities did something significant
  • Jesse Metcalfe plays Christopher Ewing on TNT's revived drama 'Dallas'
  • He opens up about sibling rivalry and racing NASCAR
Jesse Metcalf
Christopher John Ross
Jesse Metcalfe nascar

Editor’s note: Every Friday, HLN brings you the "My First Time" series. It explores the first time your favorite celebrities did something significant or memorable (so get your mind out of the gutter!).

In this installment, actor Jesse Metcalfe — who plays Christopher Ewing on TNT’s drama series “Dallas” — reveals a sibling rivalry with a current cast member and longtime friend. 

HLN: Your “Dallas” character, Christopher, and John Ross (played by Josh Henderson) are the epitome of sibling rivalry. Have you ever had that with a family member or a close friend?
Jesse Metcalfe: Actually, Josh and I had a rivalry at one time. We’ve been friends for probably 10 years and we competed for a lot of the same parts. We both also played on a basketball team together, so we competed for points and playing time. So it’s ironic we were set to act opposite each other in “Dallas.” It makes for great chemistry on the show.

HLN: You’ve worked with another cast member before as well — Brenda Strong on “Desperate Housewives” — and now she plays your adoptive mother. What’s it like working with her again?
JM: I never really got to work with Brenda before. We only spoke a few times — she did more voiceovers and flashback scenes on “Desperate Housewives.” I feel very lucky to be working with her now — she’s an incredible actress. We have great chemistry and find a way to connect on a lot of different scenes. Obviously, being adopted, Christopher has baggage and hesitates getting close to certain people. With his stepmom, you’d think he’d be resistant — but they’re very supportive of each other and have a great relationship.

HLN: What activity have you had to learn for your role that has been the most fun?
JM: I’ve probably had to do the coolest stunts in the show! I rode a horse a lot in the first season. I’d never ridden one before and was taught how to ride by rodeo champion Chad Eubank. This season, I learn how to drive a NASCAR car. I took a NASCAR car around the track at 130 miles an hour by myself — it was a lot of fun, scary at times, but it’s really going to add a lot of authenticity to that particular story line.

HLN: How different is your personality from your character?
JM: I’m similar to all the roles I play. I haven’t really had many opportunities to step outside of myself and play a very distinct character. Christopher and I are different in the way we handle adversity. He has an incredibly strong moral compass. It’s almost a cathartic experience because I bring a lot of myself to the character, but I become more like the character. It’s cool to play a guy who’s moral and ethical and steps up for his family in times of need. 

HLN: What has been the biggest challenge for you in this role?
JM: The fact that it’s a pretty emotional role. Christopher certainly deals with a lot in the first season and is about to embark on some heavy story lines in the second one. It’s stretched me as an actor to have to access the darker, more raw emotions.

HLN: What are you looking forward to the most in the second season?
JM: I’m just looking forward to where everything is going to go. We’ve read up to episode 10 and I know with J.R.’s passing, some intriguing story lines are set in motion. So I’m looking forward to seeing how they resolve them. 

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