The New York Life with Jake McDorman

In a business where the competition is high, actor Jake McDorman’s star is on the rise.  Appearing in TV shows such as “Greek”, “Shameless” and movies like “Live Free or Die Hard”, the actor also plays Bradley Cooper’s best friend in “American Sniper”.

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The show follows the unlikely pairing of Peter, a resident New Yorker, and Dana, a newcomer in town, with a romanticized view of the city. Set up on a blind date that doesn’t go exactly as planned, audiences get the chance to be part of the couple’s journey right from the start. Through the use of voiceovers, the characters’ inner monologues put the audience at an advantage – they know what Peter and Dana are feeling even before they do. “It’s almost as if I’m playing two characters,” says McDorman, “the unaware version that the viewer sees and then myself.”   

While his character may have a jaded, cynical view of Manhattan, it’s just the opposite for McDorman. Originally from Dallas, Texas, he spent the last 12 years living in Los Angeles but since the show tapes in the Big Apple, he now calls the East Village home. 

“Filming here is one of the cooler things,” McDorman explains. “Anytime I feel like exploring, all I have to do is go outside and walk around. Compared to LA there is no shortage of activity and there’s a bigger pulse to New York City.”

Apart from a visit to NYC a few years back with family, everything is a first, just like Tipton’s character, whose laundry list of things she wants to see and do has the TV couple sightseeing all over Manhattan. While Peter and Dana are knocking things off the list on-screen, McDorman and Tipton are benefitting off screen. 

The New York Life with Jake McDorman

Taking in all the sites the city has to offer isn’t the only exciting thing McDorman has been up to.  He’s starring in the new Clint Eastwood film, “American Sniper”, which debuts in limited release on Christmas Day and nationwide on January 15th.  The powerful film is based on the memoir by Chris Kyle, a Navy SEAL with the highest number of sniper kills for an American.  McDorman joins stars like Bradley Cooper and Sienna Miller, and portrays Navy SEAL Ryan “Biggles” Job who is Kyle’s beloved comrade. McDorman was in touch with Job’s wife to make sure he stayed true to his character, and calls the role a “real polarizing experience.”

Not only was it a dream to be a part of the film, he explains, he also feels fortunate to have had the chance to work with Eastwood, an icon he’s always idolized. “As an actor, it’s an amazing opportunity to work with people I can learn from.”   

McDorman knew he wanted to act since an early age. “I loved watching [TV] and needed to figure out how to get inside the box as opposed to the opposite of being outside of it.” He found an agent and started attending acting classes when he was 16 years old. It was there where Jake learned what a pilot season was, as well as the premise of home schooling, which many of his classmates did while chasing their dreams to become actors.

“I wanted to do this,” McDorman explains. Once he was able to get his supportive parents on board, everything fell into place, including a move to Los Angeles with his mother and sister. While his sister stayed for the first six months, his mother remained with McDorman until he was 17, then returned to Texas.

The aspiring teen’s hard work had paid off; he hit the audition circuit and within a few months, booked a recurring role on a pilot, “Run of the House.” Although the show ran for only a short period of time on the now defunct WB network, it was a great start for the new kid in town. He’s worked steadily every since in a variety of roles in both TV and film.

The New York Life with Jake McDorman

In 2007 McDorman appeared on screen with Bruce Willis in “Live Free or Die Hard”, the fourth installment in the “Die Hard” film series. As a huge fan of the franchise growing up, he describes the experience as “amazing,” one in which he says his 12-year-old self would have gone crazy for had he known this would happen. His role on “Shameless” had the same effect on his younger sister Morgan who he says “freaked out” when she learned her brother would be joining the cast.

“I hadn’t watched beforehand but she brought me up to speed. By the time I appeared on screen at the end of season 3, I knew every minutia of the show.” He credits the experience as a huge part of his life, one he’s happy to have been part of. 

While acting may be his first love, one he’s extremely jazzed about these days, McDorman also enjoys other aspects of the arts. An avid photographer who loves to take pictures, he also writes music and has played guitar for the past 10 years, something the writers have incorporated into “Manhattan Love Story.”

In addition to all he’s accomplished, McDorman sees all different facets of the business in his future – writing, directing … he wants to do it all. From the beginning, he says there’s never been a contingency plan or another career to fall back on.

“Failure was not an option, and that’s what motivates me to keep moving forward.”   

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