Milo Ventimiglia is a knee-toucher. As we sat at La Sirena inside the Maritime Hotel, talking about the new, uber tear-jerking ABC drama This Is Us, the very, very, very much-anticipated return of Gilmore Girls, and angsty teen love, the actor gave my knee the occasional friendly tap when emphasizing a point. My inner 16-year-old wondered how I was ever Team Logan, when Jess Mariano was around.
Over a pair of Bella Donnas, Ventimiglia discusses crying quiet tears, experiencing the extraordinary passion of Gilmore Girls fans, and why he’s not Team Jess―or Team Logan or Dean for that matter…
First, tell me about your new show, ‘This Is Us’
It’s the hardest thing to explain, but it’s the easiest thing to understand. It’s a show about family, it’s about love and loss and life – ultimately a family that is going through a lot of joy and a lot of heartbreak.
I mean, just from watching the trailer, I cried. I think that everyone cried.
Yeah. I still cry [laughs]. I do, I do. Honestly, I still cry when I see the trailer.
Are you a happy crier or …?
Umm I’m a quiet crier. I think I kind of tend to not… I don’t want to impose on anyone else and make anyone else emotional or anything. I tend to quietly cry, kind of turn away.
No pressure tears.
No pressure tears, yes. I feel like that’s how my father always did it and I feel like maybe as a responsible man it’s like I don’t want to impose on anyone else so I just kind of quietly turn my back, have a moment, compose myself and then go.
Do you have favorite cry movies or shows that just get you every single time?
Oh God. I’m going to sound odd for saying this but the movie Steel Magnolias used to get me when I was a kid. Oh man, it would really get me [laughs].
So if you had to have a good cry, you’re like: ‘Steel Magnolias’
But that’s the thing, I don’t think I really seek to have a good cry. I just kind of … there are just certain things that kind of catches me. But when I was a kid, Steel Magnolias definitely made me cry. Or The Family Man. You know The Family Man with Nick Cage? Dude, that movie … that will make me cry..
So you worked with Mandy Moore, you worked with a lot of really great people. What was it like on the set?
Fun. Exciting. Inspiring. They are an amazingly talented group of people that I feel everyday lucky to be around. They make me work harder. They are all so naturally talented and gifted– for me, I see what they are doing and think ‘oh man, I need to step up my game.’
Okay, I have to hit ‘Gilmore Girls’ cause everyone is freaking out.
Of course, yeah totally. Which is insane. If you watched it originally, way back when. You’ve never seen….?
I did. I watched it originally and then I binged watch it last year like a casual psychopath.
You did, wow. Trust me, there are people that say to me that they’ve seen it seven times.
Oh, I’m sure.
I’m like seven times?! How do you see it seven times? That is crazy.
People are really into it. So what was it like returning to the set, getting this opportunity?
It was a little strange but it was also fun. I’d stayed close to Amy Sherman-Palladino and Dan Palladino. When they called and said that they were doing this, I said ‘Yup, of course I’ll be there. I’ll totally be there.’ But it’s strange to play a character that I’ve played 13 or 14 years ago. He’s kind of the same where we left him. We pick right back up in the same spot.