Dallas born actor Jake McDorman discovered his passion for acting at the tender age of 16, encouraging him, like many, to move Los Angeles to pursue his dream. Now, thirteen years later, McDorman credits his supportive family for allowing him to pursue his lifelong journey learning and perfecting his craft as an actor.
You may remember him as Evan Chambers, the classic frat bro on the 2007 guilty pleasure television show Greek or you may recognize him as Mike Pratt in season three of Showtime’s hit series Shameless. Well, if he were to have told his middle school self that he would be snagging some sweet line time with Bruce Willis in the fourth Die Hard or that he’d act alongside Bradley Cooper in the 2015 Oscar nominated film American Sniper, directed by THE Clint Eastwood, he would have never believed it. In fact, he still can’t believe it. For instance, he laughed over the idea that Bradley Cooper could have hand-picked him to star in a television series. McDorman can keep pinching himself because it’s all true and it’s all happening.
Based on the 2011 film starring Cooper and Robert De Niro, the CBS action crime series Limitless stars McDorman as main character Brian Finch who discovers NZT, an IQ-increasing drug that transforms his cognitive abilities into an extremely valuable asset in solving FBI cases. Cooper reprises his role as Eddie Morra on the small screen and offers guidance to McDorman’s character.
Just when McDorman was “licking his wounds” after the ABC show Manhattan Love Story was cancelled, he got a call from his agents about an audition. “They advised me to audition for what they believed to be ‘one of the best pilots of the upcoming season.’ I had my tail between my legs. My show was just cancelled, I felt beat up by television, and I didn’t want to audition for another TV show. I thought to myself, TV shows are mean. Then my agents told me that Bradley Cooper was pushing strongly for me to audition. I thought to myself, ‘Yeah, okay, so we worked together on American Sniper, but this is what agents say to make you go audition. I didn't believe it for a second.”
His agents pushed and he folded. McDorman met with the Limitless team on a Saturday. At the end of the meeting, the team told him that, indeed, Cooper was personally requesting him for the role. When that happened, it finally started to click.
The next day was Oscar Sunday and American Sniper was nominated for six Academy Awards. Humble McDorman was stoked that he got an opportunity to attend because, as he explained, “Even when you're in a film that has nominations, big or small, it’s a really hard ticket to come by.” He went in honor of James Cameron’s wife’s charity campaign, 'Red Carpet Green Dress', accompanied by Jane The Virgin star Gina Rodriguez. The campaign aims to represent Hollywood’s commitment to environmental initiatives by pairing emerging fashion designers with environmentally conscious mentors to create sustainable clothing for the red carpet.
Around 2am Oscar night, McDorman and his girlfriend (fellow actress Analeigh Tipton) end up at one of many swanky Oscar after-parties. They see Cooper walk in. His girlfriend urges him to go over and talk about Limitless. McDorman was not about it. “There was no way I was going to go walk over to Bradley Cooper after he had just lost the Oscar for Best Actor. Furthermore, I thought Bradley would be wondering how I got into this dope party," he jokes. "I was convinced he would have thought I had totally snuck in." McDorman bowed his head and then, to his surprise, Cooper beelined straight to him. They discussed Limitless, exchanged phone numbers and, as McDorman describes it, “from then on out, Bradley became a lifeline throughout the entire process, which is still super surreal.”
McDorman is and has always been clear about his unfaltering love and passion for acting. “If there was any fraction of me that didn't enjoy acting fully, it would have surfaced by now. It would be like torture if I was anything less than obsessed with acting.” To those seeking to follow similar success, he offers the following advice. “If you're interested, just find a way to do it. Whether it's an acting class or just seeing a play, doing anything. Just find a way to do it because you are never going to stop learning and when you're learning, you’ll never stop getting better.” McDorman sounds eerily similar to his Limitless character, Brian Finch, when he explains in a voice-over in the premiere: “There’s a maze inside everyone’s head, a labyrinth of missed connections and untapped potential.”
Catch McDorman's spread in Rogue's Issue 2!