A heart-to-heart with Steve Harvey was all the encouragement Milo Ventimiglia needed to pursue his passion for directing.
During a recent appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, the 43-year-old actor — who directed an episode in season 4 of This Is Us — recalled his first directing gig for The WB network when he was just 25 years old.
"Season four I directed. It was myself and Justin Hartley both directed from the cast. I loved it," Ventimiglia said of directing for This is Us.
He continued, "I actually started directing when I was 25 doing these interstitial campaigns for The WB network. I was brought in just to direct this one set that they didn't have anybody to do. So they brought me in to direct the whole campaign when I was 25."
That experience introduced him to Harvey, 63, who left a lasting impact on Ventimiglia.
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"One of the bigger guys that passed through the stage was Steve Harvey," the actor recalled. "Here I am, 25-year-old me, looking like I'm 14, so I wear a suit and a tie because I feel like I need to dress it up a little bit — be a little more buttoned-up a little more professional. And Steve Harvey walks on stage with about 10 people and he says, 'Well isn't this some f——— b———.'"
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"And I'm thinking to myself, 'Oh god, what did I get myself into?'" Ventimiglia continued. "My assistant director walks him over and says, 'This is Milo Ventimiglia, he's our director.' [Harvey] kind of looks at me and goes, 'You're young, aren't you?' And I said, 'Yes sir, I'll get you out of here in five minutes.' "
However, the cameras broke in the middle of filming. While waiting for them to get fixed, Ventimiglia walked over to Harvey to apologize and the pair ended up having a "real" talk about the industry.
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"He goes, 'How old are you?' And I go, 'Oh I'm 25-years old.' And he goes, 'You're directing these?' And I go, 'Yeah, I just wanted to get into directing. I've always wanted to do it.' And he goes, 'Man, that's impressive. Man, that's impressive,'" the Gilmore Girls star said. "And I say, 'Yeah, but look at you. You've got a radio show, a TV show. Who knows what else you're doing.'"
"And we just had a very real conversation about what you give into the business and what you're creating for others," he added. "That conversation definitely sent me in a direction, on the producing and directing end, to just keep at it."
Since then Ventimiglia has added a few more directing credits under his belt, including an episode for Ultradome, an episode for Suite 7, a TV mini-series called It's a Mall World and the 2009 movie Dave Knoll Finds His Soul, per IMDb.
This Is Us airs Tuesdays (9 p.m. ET) on NBC.
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