Jesse Metcalfe is back as the grand marshal for the NASCAR Cup Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway. He is ready to deliver a special command while surpassing his previous effort.
Metcalfe, who will promote his new film “On a Wing and a Prayer,” first served as a co-grand marshal for the 2012 race at Texas Motor Speedway. He then returned solo for the 2016 Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway. He brought the energy ahead of the playoff race, but he will now make his return while showing his love of motorsports once again.
“It’s a treat. I mean, being the grand marshal is like being the hype man of the race,” Metcalfe told Heavy ahead of the Atlanta weekend. “Everyone loves speaking those four words and going out there and putting your spin on it. I’ve done it once before, and I thought I did a nice job. But I’m gonna try to top that this time.”
Metcalfe did not divulge his approach for his grand marshal return. Though he teased something special after getting reminders about Adam Sandler singing, Kevin James screaming, and Matthew McConaughey taking the approach that only he could.
Metcalfe Loves All Things Motorsports-Related
Metcalfe, who won a Screen Actors Guild award for his role on “Desperate Housewives,” is a big fan of speed. He owns some unique vehicles, such as a 1977 Chevelle, a 1987 Porsche Turbo, and a 2003 Ferrari Modena.
Metcalfe has also spent time in some high-powered race vehicles. He took part in the NASCAR Racing Experience at Texas Motor Speedway while filming an episode of the “Dallas” reboot, and he went 220 in an IndyCar Series car while riding tandem. Metcalfe also took part in the 37th Annual Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race alongside Rutledge Wood and Scott Dixon.
“I’m a big car enthusiast. I love hot rod culture, for sure,” Metcalfe said. “I’m a fan [of NASCAR] but I’m not a super fan. You know? I can’t tell you like where the standings are at right now, but I have my favorite racers and you know I keep an eye on NASCAR and Formula One.
“I’ve always been into speed, man. I was always the kid that would bomb the hill on the skateboard when nobody else would do it. I was always the daredevil kid. I’m not a huge fan of heights, but I love speed.”
Metcalfe Has a New Role To Play
Once Metcalfe gives the command for the Cup Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway, he will prepare for the premiere of “On a Wing and a Prayer.” He will celebrate the release of a film that tested his acting ability in multiple ways.
“On a Wing and a Prayer” is based on a true incident that occurred in 2009. Dennis Quaid plays Doug White, a real-life man who had to take control of a twin-engine plane after its pilot died mid-flight. White had to control the plane despite having no experience and he had to try to save the lives of his wife and two daughters.
Metcalfe plays Kari Sorensen, a pilot who provided White with step-by-step instructions from his home in Connecticut. He had to be the voice of reason and expertise during an incredibly stressful situation.
As Metcalfe approached this role, he had to contend with three main hurdles. First, he had to familiarize himself with Sorensen in order to better portray him on screen. He also had to find ways to channel the emotions that would be on display.
“I never talked to the actual man, Kari Sorensen, but there were a handful of interviews that he did after the events and also a couple on-camera interviews and a small speech that he reluctantly made,” Metcalfe said. “I basically extrapolated what type of guy he was from this limited material, what his personality was like.
“Obviously, Kari and I look nothing alike. So we took a little bit of artistic license there. But from an acting standpoint, I tried to figure out what’s driving the man. And the script really outlined that quite well. There was a nice emotional arc for Kari in the script. That’s what really attracted me to the role.
“He had a lot of unresolved emotional trauma from both his father and his stepfather and plane crashes, and that was rearing its ugly head in his personal relationship. So I thought that was a very subtle way of expressing Kari’s sort of inner world because he’s a guy from a bygone era, sort of a strong silent type.”
The third hurdle came in the form of filming his scenes. He and Quaid were unable to work together due to scheduling conflicts, which took away some of the emotional energy that Metcalfe could have used. Instead, he worked with a crew member who brought as much energy as he could during the sessions.
“So it’s a little bit more challenging from an acting standpoint, but it just means you have to be that much more prepared,” Metcalfe said. “You definitely tell them to amp up the urgency, eat up the lines a little bit, etc.”
Metcalfe’s work will be put on display when “On a Wing and a Prayer” officially makes its debut. It will head to Amazon Prime Video as an exclusive on April 7, 2023.