Joshua Jackson is a natural conversationalist, and it’s in part why I sat down with him for a second time to unpack his brilliantly nuanced portrayal of real-life neurosurgeon Dr. Christopher Duntsch, on the Peacock series Dr. Death.
Based on the podcast of the same name, the show is a compelling psychothriller about how a neurosurgeon managed to go unchecked by the medical system, both by the vetting and reporting processes at large. Creator Patrick Macmanus goes beyond the ripped from the headlines story about a man who wreaks havoc with a scalpel and tracks back to the man before he earned his monstrous title.
When I first previewed Dr. Death, it was unlike anything I’ve seen before from the actor, and knew if marketed right, it would be in the awards conversation. Since then, he’s been nominated for a Critics Choice Award for the series and has been in the conversation for this year’s Emmy awards.
“I’ve never taken a job thinking, ‘Oh this is an award style performance,’ but I absolutely take jobs now knowing this is an era in my career that I’ve been waiting for, for so long,” said Jackson. “In the last 6 or 7 years I’ve been able to work in large or small ways inside of productions that are examining things I find interesting or questions that I’m asking myself.”
Being a longtime admirer of Jackson’s work and a kid of the 90s, Jackson’s presence was a mainstay on my television screen, whether it was his roles on Dawson’s Creek, Fringe, or The Affair. As a teen, he made the most out of the material he was given, and always embodied the truth of whomever he played, making him an interesting actor to watch. As he’s grown up with his audience, the roles have gotten more nuanced; simply put, at 43, he’s much more than the boyfriend, allowing him to dig into rich material.
“It’s different for my career. I’ve never been given the opportunity to play somebody like this before. I think it’s unusual to center the villain in the way that Patrick [Macmanus] chose to center the villain here. To take the time and give that character the opportunity to be relatable before he becomes this monstrous figure at the end…instead of being ‘the bad guy’ I was given the opportunity to create sympathy for the devil. “
When talking to Joshua Jackson, you get the idea that he has stories for days, so it was nice to spend a generous amount of time talking about this significant time in his life; if we’re truly in the “golden age” of television, and a bit on what’s up next. Check out the conversation below.