Long before Milo Ventimiglia played bookish bad boy Jess Mariano on Gilmore Girls or beloved patriarch Jack Pearson on This Is Us, he was Party Guest #1 on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
As Ventimiglia discussed in a new profile for Interview magazine, his first credited screen role was on the popular Will Smith sitcom, and it proved to be a formative experience even though he only had one line.
“The most impactful thing for me being on that set was to see how Will Smith was with his crew,” Ventimiglia recalled of his 1995 appearance. “I think he was coming off of Men in Black, and was already signed up for Men in Black II. He was not just a TV star; he was a movie star already. He knew everyone’s name and was inclusive of everyone and the crew.”
Ventimiglia continued, “For me, being that that was my first job, I just watched and soaked up as much as I could. It impacted me and how I am around my sets and my crews. Will Smith is a good man. So I just try to be a good man. It was a pretty impactful moment, I’m very thankful that that was my first gig — being around him.”
Elsewhere in the interview, Ventimiglia weighed in on his return to Stars Hollow in Netflix’s Gilmore Girls revival, and whom he thought Alexis Bledel’s Rory should end up with.
“For Rory and who she was, I was always interested more in what does she want to be for herself?” he said. “What is she going to achieve for herself? It isn’t reliant on the guy that she ‘ends up with.’ It was one of those things that I never really thought about in great detail, other than what she was going to do in the world of literature or business or anything else that she excelled in. [That] was much more interesting to me.”
Read Ventimiglia’s full profile at Interview, and see another photo of him in the magazine below.