As an actor, Lee Rumohr has been involved in a variety of projects on the big and small screen over the course of the years. He has guest-starred on the shows The Famous Jett Jackson, Mutant X, Smallville, Train 48, Queer as Folk, The Listener, Cra$h and Burn, Murdoch Mysteries, Lost Girl, Nikita and Covert Affairs. In addition, he scored roles in the films Denied, The Final Experiment, Breakaway, An Insignificant Harvey and Dr. Cabbie. His latest role was on the veteran sci-fi drama Supernatural as the character Jesse. I recently had the pleasure of chatting with Rumohr about his experience on the Supernatural set, his favorite scenes to film and his love for The Big Bang Theory. Check it out below!
Were you a fan of the show before you were cast on it?
To be brutally honest, I knew of the show when I was in Vancouver the same year that “Supernatural” launched its first episode or first season, and from that point on, I honestly didn’t watch a full episode; I maybe watched a little bit of one. Then, being back here in Toronto, I lost track actually that it was still on. When I went back to Vancouver to audition for that character, it was cool to find out that it was on season eleven. I was like “What?!” It’s truly amazing.
And it just got renewed for a twelfth season!
Yeah! Yeah, my wife actually informed me that they had gotten picked up for season 12, and I was like “Man, how do you find all this stuff out before me?” (laughs). Yeah, it’s pretty cool. I’m very happy for them. They’re all so amazing. You know, I’ve been in the business for eighteen years, and I’ve been on great sets, but this—this show, because it’s been such a family-esque cast and crew for eleven years, you can really feel it. You can see the respect that they have for each other and it literally carries out for people like me who are newcomers. It makes it so much less stressful. I’m so grateful that I got the chance to be a part of that. It’s hands down my favorite show production that I’ve even been a part of. And Jensen and Jared…they’re probably the two coolest dudes on set that I ever met. They made it very easy on me. A couple of scenes were just pages and pages of work, and they were so cool and supportive as well as humble.
When you first read the script, what was your first impression of your character Jesse?
My first impression was….I actually really, really enjoyed the possibility of the arc in the episode and the emotional roller-coaster ride of that character. From an actor’s standpoint, when you really dissect where a character goes, you hope that, in the writing, there is a good build-up for the character, and that’s what I found there. I’m gonna be honest; I actually, when I first read it, did not know that my character was gay. I had no idea! (laughs). Sometimes, it’s amazing how you read something and you read it again and go “Oh, how did I miss that the first time?” I actually did not know, and I really didn’t figure it out until I was on set, and then I was like “Oh!” Love it, though. I mean, I’ll take any role so long as there’s some good, meaty stuff for the character.
Nancy Won really did a great job writing this episode. I don’t know what’s in the future for her but I’m sure it’s going to be great. But I really loved the character. It’s really sad because I invested a lot, and Hugo did, too. We actually—I just met him, during the show, and either you like or you have that instant connection with somebody or you don’t. When you don’t, you just have to roll with the punches. Luckily, we had that instant connection. He actually is in my phone as one of my good friends and I’ve only known him for a couple of months. It’s nice; it really helped for that episode, that the two of us connected instantly.
What did you enjoy the most about the relationship between Jesse and Cesar, and why do you think it resonated so much with fans?
I actually really loved the honesty behind the writing for Jesse and Cesar. It was just very honest and it’s a relationship. Whether you’re straight, gay, lesbian—it doesn’t matter. I think that, when Hugo and I talked, it’s not trying to segregate. It’s showcasing two people in a relationship. And I’m hoping that when people watch it in general, they actually see that. It’s a relationship; they’re human. I think now, or I’m at least hoping, that people, when they watch TV shows and movies, they see gay and lesbian characters as normal or human. I mean, a lot of people like it—there are still some people who are uncomfortable with it—but I’m not uncomfortable with it. I hope that it shows that it’s real and that I treated it like I was with my wife or anybody else.
I care about that character—I care about Hugo—so it was important that we actually make it real. So I hope the fans see that. How it affects them…I hope it touches those that are in a gay or lesbian relationship and gives them something that they can actually relate to. And, I’m hoping it becomes a fixture on TV; this is something that shouldn’t be hidden. I hope it continues. I hope the show continues on with that relationship. I know that we hung up our spurs but my fingers are crossed that we could come back.
I know that I really hope to see both Jesse and Hugo again—but I also want you guys to be happy, so I’m torn!
(laughs) Yeah, I totally get that. You know, when I look at it as a fan, I see that; I see both sides of that. I see the fans actually saying “It’s really that they ran into two hunters and they helped them out” but those fans have been loving Sam and Dean for eleven seasons and they carry the show. They are the hunters. So seeing other hunters come into the show—hopefully, the fans don’t think “Oh, they’re overshadowing the leads.” Hopefully, they see it as “Oh, they need help. It’s getting tough for them.” We will never be able to overshadow them or take the spotlight away from them because they are who they are. But as far as hanging up the spurs…we did, and even though you can say “They finally found peace,” there’s still that hope that maybe they will come back, you know?
In this episode, we learned a bit about Jesse’s backstory, but there’s still a lot that we don’t know. When you were preparing to play him, did you construct a backstory for him in your head to kind of fill in the blanks?
I did a bit, yes. For me, what I had to do is I just thought about—I just had images and little stories that I pulled from my journey in life. I used all the obstacles that I tried to overcome as I strived to be an actor to create a backstory of struggle for Jesse. I have a brother, so—for example, the scene where Jesse finds his brother’s body, I had to sit there and think “I can’t even imagine what it would be like to lose my brother.” That’s kind of what I had to do. You’ve got to dig deep or you have to take certain life experiences in order to reach a certain moment.
What was your favorite scene to film and why?
One of my favorites was actually the scene of finding Matty and also my scene with Jared in the truck when we’re driving. Because I had to kind of visualize the different ways in which my character was still not getting the support that he should’ve gotten twenty-seven years ago and hasn’t resolved anything. So it was a short scene but it was one that I think was kind of meaningful for Jesse, especially considering the scene at the end in which I turn to Jared’s character and say “He was a good brother.”
For me, I was thinking of my brother, so I hope that came across as being honest. However that line translated to Jared’s character, it obviously has to apply to Jensen’s character because they are brothers. My intention with that was to share my experience not only as a hunter but also as a brother. So, I really enjoyed that truck scene. And, I really, really enjoyed the scene in the cabin where I’m confronting Cochran. That was a very emotional scene and I liked where I went with it. They didn’t put a lot of the aggressiveness of what the scene really was because of editing, but I really liked that scene and I liked how they edited it. There was just so much to do with it—free range. And the director, Eduardo, was so amazing.
What was it like working with Jared and Jensen, and do you have any stories that you could share from on set?
I would work with them again in a heartbeat. They made my job so much easier and less stressful. They were very welcoming to having me and Hugo as guest stars on the show. They let us breathe and do what we needed to do to help them, you know? We became a four-person team of hunters—and we felt it. We all enjoyed each other’s company on set; we had a lot of laughter. For me, I remember being on set and I was talking to Jensen, and I was like—because they work long hours. Our call time was really early in the morning and we were talking and I was like “Where do you find the time to workout? I don’t understand how you have time to do that.” (laughs). And he goes “Have you not seen the gym?” And I was like “No….” To which he says “Yeah, we have an onset gym.” And he points to it and I was like “It’s in that?!”
It was inside of a trailer and that kind of blew my mind. But mostly, we just talked about life. I mean, they have families, and I actually found out in Vancouver that my wife and I are having a baby and I’m going to be a dad, which is nice, and it made me want to be a better person as an actor while I was shooting. They were very supportive, both of them, the whole time. So we had a lot of great heart-to-heart talks, so that was really nice. And, you know, they’re under a lot of pressure, between shooting every week to having to fly back and forth between home and Vancouver, and they handle it really, really well. They’re so humble, not hot-headed at all, and they carry themselves really well.
When I asked them about that in between shots, Jared responded instantly with “We lean on each other. We’re always talking. We may not be brothers by blood in real life but we’ve become brothers due to the show, and we need each other. If we don’t lean on each other and constantly express how we feel, then everything falls down. It’s each of our jobs to lift each other up and say ‘Yeah, here’s my shoulder, man,’” He expressed that really well, and that’s what they do. You would think that they are real brothers; they’re absolutely amazing.
What books, TV shows, movies, etc. bring out the nerd in you?
I’m just gonna backpedal within that question for a minute. I grew up an athlete before anything else. Sports are probably the easiest things for me to do where I don’t have to think about them. I’m a natural athlete. But in my heart, though, deep down inside, I’m a big geek. (laughs). I don’t get portrayed as that but I love “Lord of the Rings” and all that kind of stuff. Movie-wise, I probably watch “The Goonies” four or five times a year. It’s a childhood thing, and I like geeking out on that. I like “The Big Bang Theory”; playing those roles are my idols. I have so much respect for what they do as actors. A book…I don’t really have any books that I geek out over. I wish I did. I’ve just started coming out of my sports shell to really explore the nerdy, geek world where I want to find more things to enjoy. You know, I have never been to a Comic-Con, and I’d love to go. I’d love to be a part of that.