The actor who rose to fame as ‘Meth Damon’ on Breaking Bad has fast become Hollywood’s favourite new character actor. He talks about his ‘sick enjoyment’ of pressure, his fiancee, Kirsten Dunst, and his latest role, as an FBI officer hunting the Black Panthers
Jesse Plemons has a square, pink face, the unassuming air of a neighbourhood handyman and a tendency to sigh as he speaks, so it sounds as if he is hoisting each sentence up on to a high shelf. At 32, he has already starred in two Spielbergs (Bridge of Spies, The Post), a Scorsese (The Irishman) and a Paul Thomas Anderson (The Master). He and his fiancee, Kirsten Dunst, who met in 2015 when they played happily married murderers in the second series of Fargo, will also be seen later this year in Jane Campion’s western, Power of the Dog. Most recently, Plemons and Jessie Buckley were stunning as a couple cracking up on a road trip in Charlie Kaufman’s largely car-bound horror-comedy I’m Thinking of Ending Things, which made for perfect pandemic viewing.
“Time didn’t exist for us,” he says from the Los Angeles home he shares with Dunst and their two-year-old son, Ennis, who at one point during our conversation bursts in before being scooped up and whisked off by his mother. “We were in that car for four days, but you could have told me it was two years or 20 minutes and I’d have believed you. The vehicle was being rocked like a boat – it wasn’t even on a sound stage, it was in this warehouse filled with antiques and oddities. There were guys throwing fake snow at the windscreen for the entirety of these 15-minute takes. And I thought to myself: ‘This is exactly why I do this.’ I mean, who else gets to do that in their job, you know? I enjoy being pulled in different directions and going down all these rabbit holes.”