Manny Jacinto had to say goodbye to “The Good Place” and his character, Jason Mendoza, earlier this year. It was a bittersweet moment for the actor who has played Jason since 2016. He describes in an exclusive new interview with Gold Derby how he was both panicked and relieved to know this was the final season. “It really allowed me to be present and to ground myself and to be like, ‘Oh my gosh, we ended up doing this amazing thing and we get to see it to the end,'” Jacinto says. “Not a lot of shows get to do that.” Watch the full video interview above.
The final season follows Jason and the gang as they make their way to the real Good Place. Once there, Jason does everything he could ever dream of, including play a perfect game of “Madden,” and ultimately finds a level of contentment to where he is ready to end his eternal existence. He is the first one of the gang to decide to leave the Good Place, which Jacinto found “curious” at first. However, as the actor notes, “I truly believe that Jason is very intelligent emotionally and he definitely is very much in touch with his feelings and he follows his impulses and instincts and through that, the trickery of the mind didn’t get in the way.” Jacinto reveals there were some lines he could “barely get through in that table read ’cause that’s when it really hit me.”
The last few scenes were filmed in the Redwoods of California, and it turned out to be a fitting setting considering the context of the story. “These characters have been together in the Good Place for more than thousands of ‘Bearimys,'” Jacinto notes, not unlike the redwood trees that surrounded them. The actor describes those final days as “heartbreaking” but “beautiful at the same time.” Being part of “The Good Place” cast, especially working with the legendary Ted Danson, caused some positive change for Jacinto. “You can’t help but try and be a better person,” he states, adding that it has inspired him to “really step up for something that I believe in and to fight for something whether it be climate change or human rights, refugees, anything other than myself, I think, is the first step. You can’t help but try and step up when you’re surrounded by that kind of heart and talent.”
Jacinto has plenty of exciting prospects to come post-“Good Place.” He will next be seen starring alongside Tom Cruise in “Top Gun: Maverick” in addition to a new Netflix series, “Brand New Cherry Flavor.” It was also just announced that the actor will be in the TV adaptation of “Nine Perfect Strangers,” with Nicole Kidman and Melissa McCarthy. Jacinto could not be happier about booking the latter series and while he cannot say much right now, he admits: “This is a dream job to be doing and I can’t wait.”
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