[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for Poker Face, Season 1, Episode 7, “The Future of the Sport.”]
You may recognize Jack Alcott when his character Randy pops up in the latest episode of Peacock‘s newly-renewed Poker Face, but it’s understandable if it takes a moment or two to place him. That’s because the actor looks and sounds quite different from when he was Harrison Morgan in Showtime‘s Dexter: New Blood.
This time around, he’s playing a go-kart track employee who is besties with Charles Melton‘s Davis McDowell, an up-and-coming racer who has a beef with seasoned vet Keith Owens (Tim Blake Nelson). The feuding racers’ conflict ultimately leads to devastating consequences when Keith’s daughter Katy (Jasmine Aiyana Garvin) winds up severely injured after Davis allows her to drive his car, which was tampered with by Keith. The only catch is, Davis knew the vehicle wasn’t working right and further incapacitated it before inviting Katy to get behind the wheel.
Below, Alcott opens up about playing Davis’ ride-or-die pal, where his character would stand on Davis’ actions, and hopes for a potential future as Harrison on newly-announced Dexter spinoffs.
How was the role introduced to you?
Jack Alcott: It came [to me] as an audition packet, and with a role of that size, usually there’s just not as much material for you to bite into, particularly when you’re auditioning. But in this case, I had so much fun with it. I remember goofing around and sending it in just feeling like I had had fun, which isn’t always the case with self-tape. The last thing I did before that was Dexter: New Blood, which that character could not be more different. I was very excited to try something different. And the character’s dialect was not noted in the script, I was just thinking this feels southern and I say “ain’t” enough times in the script that I was like, “you know, let me just throw that in there.” My mother’s side of the family is from east Tennessee, so I just thought, “I’m gonna just ratchet that up and see what happens.” It just ended up being a ton of fun.
Speaking of making the role Southern, Randy could have easily been a caricature. Was it important to lean into stereotypes or do you think he defies them?
It was really fun to lean into some of the stereotypical qualities of Randy. I think a lot of people know somebody sort of like that. But you know, he’s a really wonderful guy and a super loyal friend, he’s just not the sharpest tool in the shed but would do anything for people that he cares about. I think once you’re on set, and I’m working with Iain MacDonald who is a wonderful director, we were able to pick and choose what to tone down because we don’t want him to be a stereotype.
I feel like a lot of Rian Johnson’s stories, uh, and it’s one of the things that makes them so brilliant is that they’re, um, they’re stylized and they’re unique, but they’re not stereotypical and they’re not flat or one dimensional, they’re super nuanced. Once the camera’s rolling, you’re not thinking about the choices you’re making, I’m listening to Charles, or I’m listening to Natasha [Lyonne]. They’re both such brilliant performers all I need to do is bounce off them and it’ll work out.
Randy is ride-or-die friends with Davis. What was it like building that with Charles and do you think Randy would be so ride-or-die if he knew Davis purposely harmed Katy?
That’s a tough one. I think he is someone who would stick to his guns and his boys, um, under almost any circumstances. Maybe if it were somebody else, I could so imagine Randy helping Davis hide a body. That would be hilarious, but not Katie’s body. I don’t think Randy could bring himself to be complicit in the murder or intentional severe injury is someone who’s totally innocent. And Charles, I knew who he was, but I didn’t know much about him. And, he’s such a bro, he’s the best and just could not be nicer and more generous. There are some actors you can just nerd out with about acting and he was absolutely one of them.
On the flipside, Randy helps piece together clues with Charlie. What was it like playing off of Natasha?
Well, she’s Natasha. She’s brilliant and unique. Getting to share the screen was so dope. She’s so unbelievably impressive watching her work because the episode that was being shot after ours, she was directing. So in between every take she would like run over to the DP of her episode and they would be writing and brainstorming stuff about their episode. So she had her acting brain going, she had her producer brain, her director brain, and her writer brain all working at the same time and was able to execute all of them.
You mentioned Dexter: New Blood. It’s been revealed that Showtime is working on multiple spinoffs, including one following your character. Do you hope to participate in the show again?
I know what everybody else knows. I know that if it does move forward, I couldn’t be more interested. What a crazy awesome character to get to explore. So many facets, so much going on, like a literal dream role. So yeah, very much into revisiting that. Until then, I’m on the hunt for my next journey and I’m excited about that. So, we’ll see what that is, whatever it is.
Poker Face, New Episodes, Thursdays, Peacock