The NBC drama features the Watchmen alum playing three versions of the same character

By Dan Snierson
July 22, 2021 at 12:00 PM EDT
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When James Wolk was offered a starring role in a new NBC drama, he said yes.

And yes. And, well, yes.

The Watchmen alum headlines Ordinary Joe, which features not one, not two, but three versions of his character. Think Sliding Doors, but with an extra set of sliding doors.

After a fateful decision on college-graduation night, Wolk's Joe Kimbreau is sent in vastly different directions: in one story, he follows in his father's footsteps and becomes a cop (choosing family), in another he becomes a nurse (choosing love), and in another, he's a big music star (choosing passion).

"I always thought it was interesting to examine how choices can shape our lives dramatically," he tells EW via email. "When I was 21 graduating from college, I remember I felt like there were so many different avenues to go down and I was overwhelmed by which avenue would lead to the correct life for me. And now in my 30's I read this script and I thought, 'Oh my god – this is me.' I remember graduating from college and wondering what I was going to do with my life, and then I realized that I wasn't very special in that way. I think we all have that sort of question of 'What if?' So it was exciting to board a project that played with that and allowed that conversation to be watched on television."

House writer-producers Russell Friend and Garrett Lerner serve as writers and executive producers. (Among the EPs is Matt Reeves). Premiering Sept. 20, Ordinary Joe also stars James Wolk, Natalie Martinez, Elizabeth Lail and Charlie Barnett. 

Get a first look at the trailer above and see Wolk in triple action. "It's very challenging to play the three roles," say the actor whose TV credits also include Mad Men, Tell Me a Story, and Zoo. "The most exciting thing about that is getting to really stretch as an actor and kind of play with the idea of how circumstances can kind of mold our personalities. There's the question of nature vs. nurture — and nature absolutely plays a part — but then you have nurture and the environment you're in and the people you're around, the job you take and how that affects you. So as a character study and as an actor, it's just a joy to dive in."

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