'The Righteous Gemstones' actor James DuMont enjoys being an on-set dad for his son Kelton: 'It's a nice scenario we got going'
'The Righteous Gemstones', created by Danny McBride, has James DuMont playing the role of Chad, Jesse's right-hand man, while his son Kelton plays Pontius Gemstone in the HBO show
Actor James DuMont, who plays the role of Chad in the HBO show 'The Righteous Gemstones' created and starring Danny McBride, worked on the show with his son Kelton DuMont as Pontius Gemstone. In an exclusive interview with MEA WorldWide (MEAWW), James spoke about how things took shape, his role in the show and what it was like to work with McBride.
Speaking of working on the show with his son, James explained that it was a week after he was confirmed to play Chad, one of the guys in Jesse's goon squad, that the call for Kelton's role happened. James recalled how Danny wanted to meet Kelton in Charleston — which was where the show was shot — before he made a call and Kelton and James made the appointment.
James felt that McBride found it necessary to meet Kelton beforehand to see how comfortable they were around each other as Kelton would be playing Danny's character Jesse's son Pontius. He also said, "While we are in the same show together, we hardly have a few scenes together. He is a Gemstone, which is like a precious commodity. Once the show was picked after the pilot episode was shot, we arrived in Charleston and shot it. On some days, I was the on-set dad, working as his assistant, getting water and being there and on the days that I am working, he is on the set and hanging out. So it's a nice little scenario that we got going."
James plays one of Jesse's henchmen in the show. "Chad is one of the lowly henchmen in Jesse's posse called the goon squad. When there are a bunch of guys in a group, I would say Chad is the kind of emotional thread of things. He is Danny's (Jesse) right-hand man in the group. He is the first person that Danny would turn to and count on."
Speaking of preparing for the role, James shared, "I'm really just being very real, true and honest to what the material is and what's great is that we'll shoot it the way it was scripted the first one or two times. Then we'll do like the third take, which will be totally improvised and that's where we have lots of fun. All the writing is fantastic and so everything's perfectly set up."
James explains how having one of the directors of the show 'Jodie Hill' play a role in the show, especially as a member of the same good squad has helped Jesse's gang in portraying their roles as well. McBride, who plays one of the lead characters, is the executive producer of the show and the creator. James said, "Danny McBride is exceptional. He is exceptional and amazing on many different levels, on and off camera. Extremely generous in terms of like, you know, giving things over to make things better, funnier. He directed the pilot. So he wrote, directed and starred in the pilot of the gemstone."
He pointed out, "One of the things I really loved about him is this ability to be totally present and available with you in the scene. Then when we are done, he may have an idea or a thought that he will suggest in there that we can do. The only other person who I've ever worked with was able to do that was Ray Romano in 'Men of a Certain Age'. The ability to be totally present and available as a fellow actor and then to also be able to kind of have an overview, or a sight, a direction of like how you would want things to go — that's a mark of brilliance to me because not a lot of people can pull of that skillset. And Danny is just fantastic at it. He knows and has ideas of how things would want to go but he also keeps it open and leaves it over to the other people as well."
He added, "On and off-screen he's extremely kind and fun and a joy to work with and at some point when he was working with my son and me, he said, 'I can't believe I have two DuMonts on a show'. He's just so happy that we have this kind of a set up here."
'The Righteous Gemstones' airs every week on HBO on Sundays at 10 pm ET.