Jesse Metcalfe Discusses Harmony From The Heart & Desperate Housewives - Exclusive Interview

If you've ever wondered what Jesse Metcalfe is doing now, you're in for a treat. He may be best known for his work on "Desperate Housewives" in the mid-to-late 2000s, but Metcalfe has been steadily acting since — and he's proven that he doesn't intend on stopping any time soon. Metcalfe is well known for "The Ninth Passenger," "John Tucker Must Die," and "Beyond a Reasonable Doubt," but in recent years, he's been making a name for himself at Hallmark, too. Metcalfe starred in the Hallmark original series "Chesapeake Shores" opposite Meghan Ory, and he's now starring in GAC Family's upcoming Valentine's Day rom-com "Harmony from the Heart."

In "Harmony from the Heart," Metcalfe portrays Dr. Blake Williams, a surgeon who doesn't have time for love. That is, until he meets Jessica Lowndes' Violet, a student working toward a master's degree in music therapy. Oh, and Lowndes wrote and produced the film, too!

Luckily, we at The List were able to sit down and chat with Metcalfe about all things "Harmony from the Heart," as well as "Desperate Housewives," "Chesapeake Shores," and his 2020 stint on "Dancing with the Stars."

Jesse Metcalfe shares how Harmony from the Heart is unique

First up, what can you tell us and tease about "Harmony from the Heart"?

Well, like most Hallmark movies, or GAC movies — it's a GAC Family movie — this movie's really about two people falling in love, but at the core of the movie, I think it's really about grief and overcoming grief and loss. Two people from the medical field. My character, Dr. Blake Williams, is a heart surgeon, and Jessica Lowndes' character is Violet, [who] is just finishing her master's degree in music therapy. And the man who raised me, my grandfather, has recently had a stroke and has lost the ability to speak.

So, she has been tasked by my grandfather's sister, my great aunt, to see if she can get him to speak through music therapy. And Dr. Williams is very skeptical of this. And obviously he's very close with his grandfather, and he is the person overseeing his treatment. So initially our two characters butt heads, but once he sees that the music therapy is really doing his grandfather some good, he kind of starts to open his mind and his heart to Violet. So it's actually a really moving story. And I think the viewers that are tuning in to see a very romantic love story this Valentine's Day weekend, they're going to get a little bit more than they bargained for, because this movie's a bit of a tearjerker.

Yeah. When I was watching it, I could feel the extra layer that really is added to the movie through that grief that you were talking about.

Oh, thank you so much. That's such a compliment. I don't get to hear that often from people. I pride myself on bringing that extra layer, so thank you.

Yeah, it definitely comes through. Do you think that, in general, that added emotional weight really makes this movie stand out from other holiday movies?

Well, I take it as a personal challenge to bring that extra emotional layer to every character that I play. And I think it's very important to bring that to these type of movies, which can be a little formulaic. This movie is, I think, very special. One, because it was the written and produced by our star Jessica Lowndes, and also she wrote and recorded some of the original music for the movie. So that in and of itself makes this movie incredibly special, but I also feel like there's a deeper emotional resonance to it. And that the reason why these people butt heads and why they're not open to each other and also open to finding love is because they're still dealing with the grief and loss of their pasts.

On the 'competition' of working with Jessica Lowndes

Yeah, absolutely. And you brought up Jessica [Lowndes], of course. How did your relationship with her sort of form, and how did you two meet and kindle that energy?

Well, we didn't know each other at all coming into this project. I had heard great things, but I think I put a lot of pressure on myself to bring a lot to the role because I knew that she had written this movie and was also a producer on the movie and also wrote original music for the movie. So I wanted her to be happy with my performance, and I wanted to bring something of my own to the movie as well. And I think that happened. I think our chemistry was incredible. I think when you're really kind of committed to your character and in the emotions of your character, it can sort of just kind of spill over a little bit into real life.

And I feel like there was a little bit of a — I don't know if it was competition, but there was a little bit of a sparring kind of energy between us where we butted heads a little bit at times during the production, but I think it really translated well to the screen. And I mean, at the end of the day, that's what I'm all about. I'm really just all about the storytelling, and the character arcs, and the love story and the chemistry between the characters. And I think it worked well. I don't know if we'll do a sequel to this movie or if we'll work together in the future, but I really enjoyed the experience. And I think Jessica's incredibly talented, and I think the movie speaks for herself.

I definitely think so. And I think that chemistry does, it comes through.

Thanks. Appreciate it.

With Jessica, I also wanted to ask, was working with her different from working with leads in other movies who maybe weren't as hands-on with the movie? Was it different working with someone who — like, she was doing every single aspect of the movie?

I mean, it's always a new, different experience in this industry when you're making television or movies, but yeah, this was a very new and exciting experience really, because I felt like someone was meeting me with their commitment to the project, their commitment to their character. I really respect just Jessica's work ethic. And I pride myself on my work ethic and not phoning in [a] performance. And I felt like she was right there with me every step of the way.

How Jessie Metcalfe developed his character alongside Jessica Lowndes

Yeah, definitely. I think that's really interesting. You said that, as you mentioned, your character is a surgeon. Did you do anything special to prepare for that aspect of your character?

I didn't. Just because I didn't really feel like it was necessary because we didn't really go into a lot of medical jargon, but more so, surgeons have a tendency to be a little cold, a little gruff. They almost have sort of, a lot of them are kind of egomaniacs because they really feel like they're playing God and saving people's lives, which in a lot of cases they are.


So I brought some of that to the character, and just made him just a little arrogant, a little rough, and a little closed off. And I think that's what the character called for, and I think a lot of high-powered, talented surgeons are often like that.

Yeah. I would definitely agree. Do you think that this movie and other movies like this really offer you the freedom to really develop the character yourself?

Jessica was incredibly collaborative, and I mean, she was really calling the shots on this project. So yeah. I did feel that I had room to develop the character in the way that I saw fit. And, also from a directorial perspective, our director really gave Jessica and I the time and the takes to explore different choices with the character, despite the fact that these movies are shot on such a tight schedule. So, yeah, I mean, I really found the experience of making this movie pretty creatively satisfying. And I really enjoyed working with some of the other supporting actors as well. Like Jesse Moss, I think, turns in a really great performance.

Absolutely. Yeah. Were there any sort of unexpected challenges that arose when filming "Harmony from the Heart" or generally from bringing this character to life?

Maybe the fact that I'm kind of used to being the head honcho on set when doing some of this genre of movie. So it was an interesting experience to sort of answer to someone else's creative vision. And ultimately, I think I really learned a lot from it and enjoyed it. And I sort of wrapped the movie having a really great respect for Jessica. Like I said, for her work ethic, for her drive, and for her talent.

He opened up about working on Chesapeake Shores

Yeah. I mean, do you have any interest in writing films that you could then star in as well?

I definitely have a lot out of interest in continuing to produce. I wouldn't really call myself a writer. I did go to NYU Film School and have written some scripts, but writing is not necessarily a passion of mine, but I hope to do more producing and maybe some directing, and get the opportunity to make some films that might hit the festival circuit and stuff like that. I actually just recently sourced a script that I'm really excited about that I sourced an option and kind of trying to put that project together right now, but yeah, I'm really just all about kind of affecting people and moving people with the characters that I play and stories that I'm a part of.

Speaking of moving things, that's actually a perfect transition. I wanted to talk a little bit about "Chesapeake Shores." I find that in some ways there's some tonal similarity between "Chesapeake Shores" and "Harmony from the Heart." So I wanted to ask how might that role have prepared you for "Harmony from the Heart"?

Well, on "Chesapeake," I did much of the same things that Jessica did with "Harmony from the Heart." I had a lot of influence on my character's development and direction. And I performed, played on guitar, and sang all the original music on the show and wrote some of the original music on the show. And I found it incredibly — although I was never an actual credited producer on the show, I found it incredibly rewarding to do all of those things. And I think I was able, alongside my wonderful castmates, to create some unforgettable moments on that show. I think that my storyline, opposite Meghan Ory and the storyline with the Trace Riley Band, I think that's a lot of, or one of the reasons, [why] people really got hooked on "Chesapeake Shores."

And to this day, I still get a lot of messages on social media asking if I'm going to come back to the show and that they miss the music on the show and they miss my character. And of course, I'm flattered by that. I feel like I kind of really made my mark, and I mean, that was definitely a labor of love being on that show. It presented certain challenges, definitely, but I loved that experience, too, and I'm just really proud of that storyline and that character, and I wish everyone on "Chesapeake" the best.

What it was like working with Meghan Ory on Chesapeake Shores

Other similar series like "When Calls the Heart" have been bringing old characters back, and really expanding their sort of scope. Is that something you'd be interested in?

Yeah. I would be open to coming back to the show maybe in the future in a limited capacity, given the right circumstances.

Okay. With "Chesapeake Shores," I just have one other question about it. We wanted to ask, we were big fans of Meghan on "Once Upon a Time" before she went over to "Chesapeake Shores." So what was your experience like working with her?

Well, Meghan Ory's great. And we first worked together on a video game adaptation called "Dead Rising," which was like a zombie apocalypse action movie. And we had a great time together. And when Hallmark tapped me for what was then a wheel of movies on the network, not yet a series, they kind of threw out a lot of names and allowed me to weigh in on who I kind of wanted to play this love story with, and Meghan's name came up and I said, "Yeah, let's give it to Meghan." I mean, we had a great experience together on "Dead Rising," and I think she's talented, and we had a great rapport, and I knew we'd be playing opposite each other for multiple years. And I certainly wanted to make sure that I worked with someone that I got along with.

And I really enjoyed my experience with her on the five-plus years, really, that we played opposite each other. So now she has a new love interest on the show, and she's gotten the opportunity to take her storyline and her character in a completely different direction. And I certainly hope that she's enjoyed that, because I mean, in a lot of ways, I think maybe the new showrunner and maybe the producers behind that show were starting to find it challenging, figuring out really where they wanted to take these characters, even though there was a strong outline from the books and also, I think, a strong desire by the audience to see them ultimately end up together.

Yeah. So is that sort of the scenario you want to go back for?

I think that's the scenario that makes the most sense. Yeah.

Would he be interested in a Desperate Housewives revival?

Yeah, I gotcha. And then this one is a little similar to what I asked you a moment ago, but how would you feel about a potential "Desperate Housewives" revival similar to the new "Sex and the City" series, "And Just Like That"?

I would be open to it, and very interested to see what Mark Cherry and whatever writing team he put together would come up with, because obviously there'd have to be a major time lapse, and figure where all of these characters are now and how their lives intersect, which I would imagine would be incredibly challenging. So I would certainly be curious to give that script a read if it ever manifests itself, but I would definitely be open to it. And I actually think it would be cool to do it as a limited series, or possibly a TV movie or something like that. I mean, it could definitely be interesting. I know people would tune in, that's for sure.

Yeah, definitely. Are there specific "Desperate Housewives" memories that really still stick with you today?

Oh, gosh, yeah. I mean, that whole experience was just a whirlwind and really during kind of my most formative years in the industry. So, I mean, I remember everything really like it was yesterday. A lot of laughter and a lot of really funny moments. I was definitely lucky to be working with Eva Longoria and playing most of my scenes opposite her because she was just a joy to be around and work with.

How has your fan reception grown from the "Desperate Housewives" days to now?

Well, I think a lot of those fans, those "Desperate Housewives" fans, have really stuck with me. They've been incredibly loyal, followed me on "Dallas," and then they followed me to the Hallmark Channel, and hopefully now they'll follow me to GAC Family. I mean, I really love my fans. I mean, they're really inspirational actually and just incredibly supportive and encouraging. They kind of keep me going. And today, in the social media age, I mean, they have so much more access to you and you get so much more feedback from them, and I mean, you form real relationships with a lot of these people, and I think it's pretty cool. And I'm just so appreciative of their loyalty to me.

Jesse Metcalfe recalls competing on Dancing With the Stars

Yeah. And I'm sure you felt that, too — you were on "Dancing with the Stars" two years ago, too, and I'm sure that's just —

That was already two years ago already?

I know, I couldn't believe it either.

Time flies when you're having fun.

And I'm sure that fan base was really excited to see you on that show. And I wanted to ask, what other reality series would you want to appear on?

Yeah, for a minute, I was pitching a home renovation, home-flipping show to a lot of the networks, like HGTV and stuff like that, because I do that. I actually do that on the side. Sort of develop, and renovate, and flip and stuff, but there's so many moving parts that go into making those type of shows happen that that basically has to be the main thing that you do, because it's like, to constantly have a new property to renovate, and I mean, so much time and energy goes into that. I mean, I'm really pretty good friends with Josh Altman on "Million Dollar Listing," and I know that he's constantly balancing his actual profession of selling homes with the show because it takes up a lot of his time.

But I'm not a huge fan of reality. I just felt like the "Dancing With the Stars" thing was something that really scared me, so I was like, I should kind of face this fear head on and just go for this. And also, I felt like it was a really special season. I felt like the cast they got on that particular season was a cast that I was proud to be a part of. And it was a pretty exciting season. And I mean, all the professional dancers. I mean, that show is just really a class act show. I mean, they treated us incredibly well, and all the professional dancers on the show are so cool. And so it was a lot of fun.

That's amazing. ... I mean, you assume watching it that they would treat you well, and it would be just as great behind the scenes as it is on the screen.

It really was.

But it's nice to hear that confirmed.

I wish I could have stuck around a little longer.

Yeah. I mean, you were still great, though. I mean, and the fact that you specifically did it to face a fear is really admirable, too.


Jesse Metcalfe teases his upcoming projects for 2022

Are there any other reality series that you love to watch, even if you maybe wouldn't want to be on them?

Well, I've watched several seasons of "Too Hot to Handle" because my girlfriend is best friends with Francesca Farago. So for some reason I find myself tuning into that show. That show's pretty entertaining. I mean, reality is always kind of a guilty pleasure, and it's so incredibly popular. I mean, when reality TV sort of ... I mean, I've been watching reality TV since the first season of "The Real World."


And it's so interesting to see, actually, people that start in reality and end up having real acting careers. It's pretty cool. You know?

Generally, what can you tell us about what's next for you?

Well, we have "Harmony [from] the Heart" coming out February 12 at 8:00 p.m. PT, 5:00 p.m. ET on GAC Family. First movie with GAC Family, so I hope everybody watches it and enjoys it. I haven't even seen it yet, but I'm already really excited about it because I'm hearing really great things about it. Then towards the end of April, "Fortress 2" comes out, which is the action movie I did with Bruce Willis, and Chad Michael Murray, and Ser'Darius Blain, and Michael Sirow. We had a lot of fun on that one, and I'm excited to see the second installment. And then sometime in August I have a movie coming out called "On a Wing and [a] Prayer" with Dennis Quaid and Heather Graham. So got a couple projects.

You can catch Jesse Metcalfe in GAC Family's "Harmony from the Heart" on February 12 at 8 p.m. PT.