PALM SPRINGS LIFE
Route 66 Revisited
It’s a classic American cocktail. Take two guys, one Corvette Stingray, and a stretch of open highway. Mix. And get out of the way.
Actors Jesse Metcalfe and Ian Bohen tread pavement through Palm Springs' neighboring hills. Naturally, a proper desert jaunt requires a designer wardrobe.
PHOTO BY FREDRIK BRODÉN
The television series Route 66 premiered Oct. 7, 1960, and ran 116 episodes until March 20, 1964. The show followed two young men who travel the country in their Chevrolet Corvette. Both Jesse and Ian wear Vuarnet sunglasses, Panache Optical Gallery Palm Springs.
actor: jesse metcalfe
“To be able to transform is something that I get very excited about,” says Jesse Metcalfe. “As actors, we want to appear as little like ourselves as possible.”
In Escape Plan 2: Hades, an upcoming sequel to the 2013 prison-break movie starring Sylvester Stallone, Metcalfe is badly beaten and unrecognizable in the opening scene. “A very different character for me, very edgy, aggressive,” he says. “It was a large ensemble cast with a lot of badass guys [Stallone, Dave Bautista, 50 Cent]. I got the opportunity to have a lot of action, do a lot of stunt work. I’ve played a lot of romantic leads in my career, so anything that’s different is obviously very welcome.”
He plays the love interest in Hallmark Channel’s Chesapeake Shores, which is filmed in Toronto and based on a book series by the same name; the finale of its second season aired in September. Metcalfe has been songwriting for more than a decade and gets to peacock his guitar skills in the show as a budding Nashville musician. “I love acting; it’s definitely a very pure, creative outlet for me. But music is even more pure — it’s just such a direct reflection of who you are.”
Hallmark’s 2015 film A Country Wedding debuted Metcalfe’s mellifluous side and ultimately landed him the gig as Chesapeake’s Trace. “It’s the first time I really got to showcase my ability to sing and play guitar,” he says.
Thirteen years outside Desperate Housewives and his breakout role as Eva Longoria’s boy toy — which, along with 2006’s John Tucker Must Die, propelled him through the ranks of Hollywood’s hottest-hunk lists — Metcalfe is acutely focused on grittier pursuits. Films like Escape Plan 2 and The Ninth Passenger, marked for release later this year, provide opportunity to explore darker personas. In the latter, he portrays a shady mechanic aboard a luxury yacht in what he describes as “a play on a B horror movie.” Though fans will be pleased he hasn’t eschewed sentimental leads: next month Metcalfe can be seen as a single father on the road to romance in Hallmark Channel’s original movie Father Christmas, which premieres Dec. 17.
He is also adding producer to his resume with In Stranger Company, in which he stars alongside Danny Trejo, and Steps, a story about battling addiction, written and co-produced by Metcalfe’s fiancé, Cara Santana, in which they both star.
“It just seems like a logical progression. More control over the material is something that all actors really yearn for,” Metcalfe says. “I’m working toward that … I’m poised and ready for that next window.”
“I love acting; it’s definitely a very pure, creative outlet for me. But music is even more pure — it’s just such a direct reflection of who you are.” Jesse Metcalfe
Route 66 was famous for supplying great, once-great, and soon-to-be-great actors with guest star appearances. Among them were Ed Begley, Rod Steiger, Rip Torn, Tuesday Weld, Walter Matthau, James Caan, James Coburn, Robert Redford, Jack Lord, Joan Crawford, Cloris Leachman, and Buster Keaton. Above: Jesse wears a Hanes T-shirt, hanes.com; The Kooples bomber jacket; watch, Jesse’s own.