STAGE TO SCREENS: Jeremy Jordan Dishes On His New Role as Bad-Boy Heartthrob of NBC's "Smash"

By Michael Gioia
31 Jan 2013

Katharine McPhee and Jeremy Jordan on "Smash."
Photo by Will Hart/NBC

Although their relationship blossoms within the first few episodes of this season's "Smash," Jordan hinted that audiences will see the ups and downs of Jimmy and Karen throughout the year. Karen is simultaneously intrigued and put off by Jimmy's edgy personality — a 180-degree spin from her former fiancé, the buttoned-down mayoral aide Dev Sundaram (played by Raza Jaffrey, whose character was axed).

Jordan also hinted that Jimmy Collins is an object of desire for his writing partner, Kyle, quietly slipping in that Mientus' character is "secretly in love with him."

On his character's wild side, Jordan explained, "I think that Jimmy has had a history with drugs, and it's sort of his go-to when he doesn't understand or know how to deal with things. I wouldn't say he's a drug addict, by any means. Maybe he was at one point, I don't know…but he definitely has that sort of crutch. It's what gets him through tough times." When under pressure, Jimmy Collins makes mention of his recreational use of scotch, weed and cocaine. Jordan added that Jimmy's reasoning is because "he doesn't want to face reality."

"Yeah, he can definitely be seen as a bad boy," said Jordan as he continued to spill the details on Jimmy from the "rehearsal room" seen on "Smash." "He's kind of a womanizer…and he doesn't give a shit about what anybody thinks about him. I think he cares about what people think [of] his work…and then when he meets Karen, he finally, for the first time, actually starts to give a — I keep saying shit, I'm sorry — care about what people think."

Jordan at a recent "Smash" press event.
photo by Ben Cohen/NBC

Jimmy Collins' work, Hit List, the new musical written with Kyle Bishop (Mientus) uses songs of real-life rising songwriters in the musical theatre scene, such as Joe Iconis, Drew Gasparini, and Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, among others. "For the amount of material they wanted for each new episode, it began to be too much [for "Smash" composers Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman], so they sort of started spreading it out, which makes Jimmy look like he's like some musical genius who can change styles," said Jordan with a laugh. "While all the music is much more pop/rock/contemporary, it does shift a bit from Broadway/pop to true-blue pop music that you would hear on the radio today to more traditional, contemporary musical theatre, too… It definitely gives [Jimmy] a nice range."

The cast members on set explained that Hit List begins at the New York City Fringe Festival — getting "a lot of traction," said Rodriguez, whose character is in the cast of Hit List — and moves Off-Broadway. "The New York community embraces it immediately," said Jordan of Hit List, "and suddenly it's on this fast-track to the top, which is completely plausible."

Jordan explained that the Hit List cast is comprised of "the new people plus a couple of the returning characters," and that McPhee's character has "migrated to the cool, young group."

Read's earlier interview with Josh Safran, the new executive producer and showrunner of "Smash," who talks more about changes in the coming season