With an easygoing Texan charm and a substantial list of acting credits, Jesse Plemons first gained notice as Landry Clarke, the lovable best friend and back-up quarterback to Matt Saracen (Zach Gilford) on the critically acclaimed series "Friday Night Lights" (NBC 2006-2011). His success on "Friday Night Lights" led to bigger projects in both film and on television, including the Seth Rogen dark comedy "Observe and Report" (2009), the universally acclaimed cable dramas "Breaking Bad" (AMC, 2008-13) and "Fargo" (FX 2014- ), Paul Thomas Anderson's heralded "The Master" (2012), Steven Spielberg's Cold War drama "Bridge of Spies" (2015) and Doug Liman's action caper "American Made" (2017). Possessing a relatable, down-home charm, backed up by spot-on acting instincts, Plemons carved out a niche as a varied and memorable character actor.
Born on April 2, 1988 in Dallas, TX, Plemons received an early start as an actor, making his debut at age three in a Coca-Cola commercial that was booked through an open casting call. He landed the role because he met both job requirements - he wore a cowboy hat and he knew how to work a lasso. While these qualities helped Plemons land acting jobs, some casting directors thought they were a detriment, prompting the young actor to spend most of his life trying to lose his Texas twang. Ironically, one of Plemons' first big screen jobs was "Varsity Blues" (1999), a football drama set in a small Texas town. In 2001, Plemons had a guest-starring role on "The Guardian" (CBS, 2001-04), which earned him a Young Artist Award nomination. Soon enough the jobs were rolling in. He played the young version of Matt Damon's character in "All the Pretty Horses" (2000), acted alongside rapper Bow Wow in "Like Mike" (2002) and appeared in episodes of "Judging Amy" (CBS, 1999-2005) and "Grey's Anatomy" (ABC, 2005- ).
At 18, Plemons landed on "Friday Night Lights," which allowed him to keep his accent and stay close to home. He was just one of two actors on the show who were actual Texans, the other being Brad Leland who played Buddy Garrity. "Friday Night Lights" was a critically-acclaimed, Emmy Award-winning show that followed the Dillon Panthers, a Texas high school football team, and focused on issues facing contemporary teenagers, from rape to teen pregnancy to drug use. Despite the show's somber themes, Plemons' character provided some necessary comic relief. Meanwhile, in 2009, Plemons branched out from television into the independent film world, playing a pot dealer named Jesus in the low-budget comedy "Shrink."
That same year Plemons picked up a supporting turn in writer-director Jody Hill's dark comedy "Observe and Report" (2009), as a mall security guard who grows increasingly uncomfortable with his supervisor's (Seth Rogan) volatile tactics. In much lighter fare, he played a struggling actor who embarks on a wild night of shenanigans with fading Broadway star Jeffrey Tambor in the indie comedy "Meeting Spencer" (2010). After "Friday Night Lights" finished its five-season run in early 2011, the actor quickly moved on with a multitude of film and television appearances, including a small role in the extraterrestrial comedy "Paul" (2011). Entering one of the busiest periods of his young career, Plemons played a crewmate on the USS John Paul Jones trying to ward off an alien invasion in the big-budget flop "Battleship" (2012) before joining the cast for the final season of the award-winning cable drama "Breaking Bad" (AMC, 2008-2013). Continuing to impress, the actor next appeared as the son of a charismatic cult leader (Philip Seymour Hoffman, to whom Plemons bore a striking resemblance) in writer-director Paul Thomas Anderson's critically lauded drama "The Master" (2012).
After working with Tommy Lee Jones on 19th century drama "The Homesman" (2014), Plemons co-starred opposite Kirsten Dunst in the second season of acclaimed crime anthology series "Fargo" (FX 2014- ) and co-starred in crime drama "Black Mass" (2015) and Stephen Frears' Lance Armstrong biopic "The Program" (2015). Plemons worked with Steven Spielberg on 1960s-set Cold War drama "Bridge of Spies" before taking on the lead role in dysfunctional-family comedy-drama "Other People" (2016), based on writer-director Chris Kelly's own experiences coming out to his conservative family. After co-starring in science-fiction romance "The Discovery" (2017), Plemons co-starred opposite Tom Cruise in Doug Liman's "American Made" (2017), an action comedy-drama set in 1980s Central America, and reunited with "Black Mass" director Scott Cooper for 19th century war drama "Hostiles" (2017) and Spielberg on journalistic drama "The Post" (2017).
Cast (Feature Film)
Made his screen-acting debut as a hobo in "Finding North"
Co-starred in teen drama "Varsity Blues"
Played Landry Clarke on "Friday Night Lights"
Played Gary on "Bent"
Appeared as Val Dodd in "The Master"
Had the recurring role of Todd on "Breaking Bad"
Appeared as a small-time mobster in "Black Mass"
Had a supporting role in Stephen Spielberg's "Bridge of Spies"
Had the central role of Ed Blumquist on the second season of "Fargo"
Cast as a sheriff in Doug Liman's "American Made"
Appeared in Dick Cheney biopic "Vice"
Co-starred in ensemble comedy "Game Night"