'Chase's' Jesse Metcalfe: 'I've shot a lot of guns in my life.'

jesse-metcalfe-chase-large.jpgFor his role as recently fledged U.S. Marshal Luke Watson on NBC's new Monday-night fugitive-hunt drama "Chase," Jesse Metcalfe sports a close-cropped, almost military haircut.

"It's definitely my call," he tells Zap2it over dinner at a hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif., just before filming on the series began in Houston, Texas. "It's another element to my character that makes me stand out. Everyone else is more of a veteran on the team, and their look mirrors that. I'm very by-the-book, and I want to present myself as I think I should, coming from Washington, D.C.

"The Marshals team that I join, their members, they're more of a Southern flavor. They're trying to blend in. Luke comes from an affluent family, and his father's somewhat of a political bigshot. That's why he joined the Marshals Service, to make his father proud, to prove himself to his father, to get out from under his father's shadow."

It's a struggle that Metcalfe understands, as he's built his career following an initial success as a teen gardener romancing an older woman ( Eva Longoria Parker) on "Desperate Housewives."

"It can be frustrating," he says, "but it's about paying your dues. Playing this character in 'Chase' kind of mirrors my own experience in Hollywood. I've always been very driven to prove myself and to be accepted and seen as a credible actor."

Metcalfe didn't come into the role of a lawman entirely without skills. It turns out he's pretty familiar with firearms.

"I've shot a lot of guns in my life," he says. "I own two guns. I have a Sig Sauer, and I have an HK."

Asked whether he hunts with his weapons, Metcalfe says, "I've never gone hunting, actually. I just shoot them at the range.

"I have an uncle who handcrafts guns for the Sultan of Brunei and the sheiks in the Middle East, stuff like that. Through him, I grew up around guns."

Metcalfe has expanded his knowledge to prepare for his role on "Chase."

"They put me through a lot of shooting drills," he says, "shooting a lot of different weapons, AR-15s, standard issue for the U.S. Marshals, Glock 9s, a lot of fully automatic weapons. There were a lot of training drills, clearing houses, simulations, where it's basically a movie screen in front of you.

"I did really well. I really enjoy it. It's been a lot of fun."

While he hasn't yet been hunting, Metcalfe is considering it.

"There's talk of possibly going on a bear hunt in Alaska," he says. "I might as well throw myself into it. I definitely want to go, if my schedule permits."

He might then have a trophy of his own to add to his collection.

"I have quite a collection of taxidermy," Metcalfe says, "none of which I actually killed myself. I have a water buck; I have a ram; I have a Russian boar -- all heads, on my walls.

"Some people are appalled by it. It's like your home is a museum. They really are works of art. You can get really close to the animal and see what it looks like. I think it's really cool.

"Obviously, I haven't killed any of the things. For all the PETA people, I'm not out there killing a bunch of animals for sport."

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Photo credit: NBC