Two summer shows -- "Dead Rising: Endgame" and "Chesapeake Shores" -- have only three things in common: The star (Jesse Metcalfe), the film setting (Vancouver) and the fact that they were made by humans. Beyond that, these shows cover the exact opposites of our species. For Metcalfe, that adds up to an interesting summer; here's the story I sent to papers.
By Mike Hughes
Jesse Metcalfe as a summer star.
This is his time to
be sweet, sensitive and pensive. It's also his time to slash zombies.
We can see him in a
soft, wateride setting, strumming his guitar. And we can see him run
and leap, while beheading and bedeviling the walking dead.
Hey, actors are
supposed to have variety, right? “That was the reason I took the
role,” Metcalfe said.
He's talking about
“Dead Rising: Endgame,” a high-octane, high-body-count movie
that's just been released on Crackle. In one scene, he's rushinging
down an escalator, leaving a backwash of blood and body parts. “I
was pretty banged up by the end of it,” he said.
By comparison, his
“Chesapeake Shores” series will debut in August on the Hallmark
Channel. Like so many Hallmark projects, it's zombie-free.
Most of his roles
have been that way. Metcalfe went from being a lothario (“Desperate
Housewives,” “John Tucker Must Die”) to being warm-hearted in
“Dallas” and Hallmark's “A Country Wedding.”
Underneith all that,
he says, is a would-be action hero. That goes back to his California
and Connecticut childhood.
“My first thing
was being a cowboy,” Metcalfe said. “I would go to bed with my
hat and my guns on.”
Then, at maybe 5, he
had his Superman phase. There were times when his mother, a
bus-driver, would bring him to work. “I would be sitting behind her
in my Superman tights.”
basketball and baseball, before focusing on theater at New York
University. He left school when he landed the soap role of Miguel on
“Passions”; then came “Desperate Housewives.”
“It was just one
of those auditions where you don't know what to expect,” Metcalfe
said. Soon, he was the lawn boy whom Gabrielle seduced, doing 30
episodes and becoming famous.
There was a
short-lived crime show (“Chase”) and then a break: In “Dallas,”
he was Christopher Ewing; like his adoptive dad (Bobby Ewing), he
was a good-hearted hero, surrounded by deceit.
“I really thought
that would last longer than it did,” said Metcalfe, 37. “But I
had a chance to work with some legendary people.”
Hallmark cast him as
a country music star in “Country Wedding” and even had him record
three songs. Then came the similar role in “Chesapeake Shores.”
This time he's a former country singer who's back to his home town,
where his high school girlfriend has also returned.
That's the opposite
of a zombie film, but one Canadian region handled both projects.
“Chesapeake Shores” is filmed amid the beauty of Vancouver
Island; “Dead Rising” was done inside a movie studio that used to
be a post office. “There were all kinds of interesting passageways
to go through.”
And in any of them,
of course, there could be the walking dead, waiting to eat him.
The “Dead Rising”
videogame series began in 2006, with a journalist battling zombies
inside a shopping center. Metcalfe starred in the first movie version
and now takes the story to its conclusion.
Desperate to stop
conspirators (Dennis Haysbert, Billy Zane), he's trying to get a tech
whiz (Marie Avgeropoulos of “The 100”) to the core of the enemy
domain, before millions are killed. That requires lots of action,
lots of bloodshed. And he never gets to pause and sing a country
-- “Dead Rising:
Endgame,” available any time at www.crackle.com.
Shores” is scheduled to debut Aug. 14 on Hallmark.
-- Crackle is the
streaming service owned by Sony. It has many past series --
“Seinfeld,” “Firefly,” “NewsRadio,” etc. -- and movies.
It also has some original TV shows, including “The Art of More”
and Jerry Seinfeld's “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.” The
“Dead Rising” films (“Watchtower” and “Endgame”) are two
of its first original movies.