“It’s a little strange in the best possible way,” the actor tells me in his first interview since signing on to reprise his role as Jess in Netflix’s forthcoming revival. “All of a sudden, you’re teleported to being 25 years old again. But you’re not 25 anymore. We’re all a lot older.”
In the following Q&A, Ventimiglia tackles the big Jess-related revival mysteries, including — but not limited to — in how many of the four installments he’ll appear, what’s up with Jess’ publishing empire, and with which of Rory’s men does he think she ultimately belongs?!
TVLINE | When did you first get the inkling that this was maybe going to happen?
It wasn’t until the [cast] reunion in Austin a year ago that it was something that felt potentially, possibly real. When Amy [Sherman-Palladino] first told me [that it was happening], my first response was, “Yes. Absolutely. I’ll be back. I don’t care if I’m in Tunisia doing a movie. I’ll fly home, I’ll be Jess, because I love you guys so much. And then I’ll go back to my job in Tunisia.” As it turns out, I don’t have a job in Tunisia. I’m here in L.A., which is nice.
TVLINE | How many of the four episodes are you in?
I would say more than two, less than four.
TVLINE | What can you say about where Jess is in his life when we pick back up?
I was trying to recall where we left off with him. I think he was starting his own press in Philadelphia. He had written a book. And he was trying to re-inspire Rory into going back to her roots. Not much has changed in Jess’ world since then. Jess might’ve been a pain in the ass when he first got to Stars Hollow, but he grew up and became a pretty decent guy. So it’s kind of a continuation of that with Jess.
TVLINE | Obviously, many of the headlines about the revival have focused on Rory’s men, especially now that you, Jared and Matt are returning.
Always a hot topic. [Laughs]
TVLINE | Where do you currently stand on the question of who Rory should be with?
[Laughs] Oh, God. I don’t know. I kind of love Scott Patterson’s reaction to it at the Gilmore panel last year, where he said, “None of them.” The fans are a better authority about who Rory should possibly be with or could be with.
TVLINE | When do you start shooting?
Soon. I’m looking forward to being back on the Warner Bros. lot. I feel like it’s the studio that raised me, so it’ll be a nice homecoming.
TVLINE | Do you feel like you have unfinished business with Jess?
[Laughs] I really don’t think about a character beyond what the run is. When my stretch on Gilmore ended, I was done. But I had a lot of fun with this character and the cast and Dan and Amy, so [it’s really about] going back to a fun bunch of memories in my life. And reconnecting with old friends. So I’m excited. But I personally don’t have unfinished business with Jess. I don’t have a grievance with Jess. There’s nothing in particular I’m excited to play, other then maybe strap on his leather jacket and pop back in to shake things up.