Smash's Jeremy Jordan on Jimmy's "Darker" Side and His "Love at First Sight" for Karen
Katharine McPhee and Jeremy Jordan | Photo Credits: Will Hart/NBC
A Broadway actor with leading man charisma, great pipes, impressive dance moves and a Tony nomination under his belt? Jeremy Jordan sounds like the perfect fit for NBC's musical, Smash. However, he admits he had his doubts about joining the drama.
"At first I thought the fact that I can sing in it might be hindering to me and I might get put in this box," he tells TVGuide.com. "But at the same time, if it's something that you're good at, why not add that element to what people know to be your abilities?"
Months later, Jordan is turning heads and pricking up ears as one of the newest additions to Smash (Tuesdays at 10/9c on NBC), playing bartender-by-day, rock musical composer-by-night Jimmy Collins. Jordan joins the series after his star-making turn in the Broadway adaptation of Newsies, playing the role originated by Christian Bale in the 1992 cult classic film. A month into Newsies, for which Jordan earned a 2012 Tony nod, his agent told him to take a look at Smash. "I was like, 'I don't know if I'm ready to leave much less do a musical television show," he says. "I had a meeting with [showrunner] Josh Safran and he really excited me about it. I thought about it and I was like, 'Why not just ride this rollercoaster up? Why not just ride the wave?'"
After getting his start on Broadway productions like Rock of Ages and West Side Story, and starring in the 2012 Dolly Parton-Queen Latifah film Joyful Noise, Jordan says television was the "natural" next step. "When I moved to television, , I didn't want to do anything that was going to have a teenybopper audience like a kids show, or a CW Gossip Girl-type of show, or even a Glee, because I had just experienced all that with Newsies," he says. "[Jimmy's] grittiness, his edginess, is what led to me to be OK with taking a musical television show even though it wasn't really my intention."
The cynical and defensive Jimmy is indeed a far cry from Newsies' daydreaming, do-gooder paper boy Jack Kelly. He's first introduced as just another pushy New York bartender before Karen (Katharine McPhee) accidentally overhears snippets of his modern, Rent-like rock musical after hours. Despite his difficult demeanor, Karen quickly becomes determined to help get Hit List off the ground. "He sees right through her and he sees who she's trying to be and he doesn't like it. He thinks that he can fix her. He falls in love with the idea of her," Jordan says. "Even though she has trouble meeting his expectations, that's what he loves about her. Even though she's this quiet, calm, shy, maybe a bit antagonistic, there's that energy — that initial love at first sight sort of feeling."
After Karen convinced Derek (Jack Davenport) to give Hit List a listen at the end of last week's episode, the Bombshell director will invite Jimmy and Kyle to contribute a song to Ronnie Moore's (Jennifer Hudson) big TV concert on Tuesday's episode. "Jimmy's not really fond of letting other people take control of the show. He knows it has to happen, but he's not fond of having a director. He's not fond of having a producer, and not fond of other people's opinions," Jordan says. "He has some trouble with authority."