This Is Us And Gilmore Girls' Milo Ventimiglia Recalls When He Couldn't Get Work And Nearly Left Hollywood. He Barely Takes A Break Now

milo ventimiglia in the company you keep.
(Image credit: ABC)

Outside of the hardcore fanbase for Fox's short-lived teen drama Opposite Sex, Milo Ventimiglia first captured hearts as bad boy Jess Mariano in Gilmore Girls, and more recently had audiences weeping those same hearts out every week as Jack Pearson on This Is Us. While it seems like he’s had us melting for over two decades non-stop, there was a time where things weren’t necessarily going the way he planned, and the Emmy nominee came close to putting Hollywood in his rear view over not being able to get a solid acting job.

In a new interview with Variety for his new ABC drama thriller The Company You Keep, Milo Ventimiglia admitted that he had a hard time booking gigs following his four-season run as Peter Petrelli on the superhero drama Heroes. Due to the issues he was having at the time, Ventimiglia revealed he started questioning his career path, saying:

After Heroes, I had a hard time working, I couldn’t get a job. It was one of the one or two times in my career where I thought about, what if I did something else? What if I got out of Hollywood? What if I left, and I moved out of the country? What if I did something like completely different than the path that I had been on? Because I couldn’t get work.

Ventimiglia booked Heroes right after his Gilmore Girls breakout, keeping him a busy actor for the better part of a decade. Coming off of that, even with Heroes' decline in popularity, he likely presumed it wouldn't be too much of a struggle to follow up on those roles with something similarly meaty, though such presumptions clearly didn't go fulfilled. As such, questioning his choices and their values makes sense, even knowing that Hollywood is statistically one of the biggest crapshoot careers imaginable. 

It shows just how much of an effort is needed for actors to maintain their status and ability to continue with the career they love, along with a reminder about just how brutal auditioning can be. The Company You Keep star opened up about life as a younger actor, and how troubling it can be when rejection keeps coming:

As an actor, you’re out there, you’re pounding the pavement, you’re taking meetings, you’re auditioning, you’re putting what you can into those auditions, and you’re not getting the work. So therefore, it’s kind of like, ‘Well, if they’re not buying what I’m selling, what am I doing here still selling?'

Luckily, the hard work and countless auditions paid off for Milo Ventimiglia, whose professional life has been on a non-stop tear for the last 14 years. If not for that independent film that rejuvenated things, it’s likely he never would have gotten the role of Jack Pearson, and I can’t (and won't) imagine anyone else joining the cast of This Is Us as the Pearson matriarch. But it's perhaps not such a bad thing that he went through that ordeal, since rough patches help to keep one humbled and appreciative for opportunities that do arise. 

It's not uncommon for actors to struggle to find job after being at what would appear to be the height of their career, for one reason or a thousand others. But Ventimiglia is proof that things can work out in the end with the right combination of passion, timing, and dedication. That doesn't always guarantee Emmy noms, of course, but few things beyond being on Succession can do that these days. 

Fans won’t have to wait much longer to see Milo Ventimiglia on their TV screens again. Following his role as Jack Pearson, Ventimiglia was excited for his career's future, which has led him to his newest starring role in ABC’s The Company You Keep as a con man with a romantic side. It’s definitely different from a lot of his past work, but I have no doubt that he’s going to kill it, whether it be metaphorically or figuratively.

New episodes of The Company You Keep air Sundays at 10 p.m. EST on ABC! Check out CinemaBlend’s 2023 TV schedule to see what else to look forward to this year.

Megan Behnke
Freelance TV News Writer

Passionate writer. Obsessed with anything and everything entertainment, specifically movies and television. Can get easily attached to fictional characters.