Longtime fans of Milo Ventimglia may think that by now, they've seen all sides of him; after all, the actor has played a loving dad on This is Us, a rebellious teen on Gilmore Girls, and a sensitive superhero on Heroes. Yet Ventimiglia's latest role, that of a mysterious husband in the new horror thriller Devil's Gate, is like nothing fans have ever seen before from the star — and he wants them to prepare themselves accordingly.
"They are not gonna like me in this one," Ventimiglia says with a laugh, speaking alongside his castmates and director at Bustle's New York office in April. "I’ve played heroic, I’ve played rebellious, I’ve played paternal... I think [this role] stretches a little further and deeper in psychology of a man who’s trying to grasp desperately onto his own existence, as well as hold onto his family, in a very different way than people currently know me on [This is Us]."
Devil's Gate, which premiered at this year's Tribeca Film Festival, stars Ventimiglia as a man possibly responsible for the disappearance of his wife and child. Yet when the FBI investigation, led by Agent Daria Francis (Amanda Schull) starts, it's quickly revealed that not all is what it seems — and the circumstances surrounding the family's absence become even creepier, and much less simple. "I thought I knew the movie until it totally flipped," says star Shawn Ashmore.
The film is led by a cast of talented actors, including Ashmore, Schull, and Bridget Regan, all of whom get to immerse themselves in the creepy world of horror films. And taking on the role of Jackson, Ventimiglia says he looked forward to getting to explore different territory than he ever had before. "That was the fun part, going down the road with amazing actors and a leader that had a very clear vision of what he wanted from all of us," he says. Adds director Clay Staub, "Where [Ventimiglia] starts and where he finishes is a completely different place. You might say it’s a little bit different than anything or everything [he's] done."
It's exciting to see the actor, who's currently on hiatus from filming This is Us (he has the clean-shaven face to prove it, although he says he's about to begin the process of growing the now-iconic mustache back) play a character who's nothing like Jack Pearson or Jess Mariano. Hopefully, though, he won't get too used to playing spooky and mysterious — I don't think anyone is quite yet ready to say goodbye to the caring, likable characters that have earned Ventimiglia fans' love for all these years.