Chris Diamantopoulos dove headfirst into his role as the beefy, intense JQ in the new Peacock series Mrs. Davis. With his thick Australian accent, chiseled physique, and a little too much time in the sun, the character seems ripped from a 1980s action flick in all the best ways. HollywoodLife spoke EXCLUSIVELY with Chris about embracing all the intensity and weirdness JQ had to offer.
“I think the key to this guy is how much fake can he attach to himself. I heard someone describe him as an Australian G.I. Joe character, which is pretty funny because it’s like fake blonde. The blonde hair couldn’t be more bleached. I went to the hairdresser with my wife. She was going to get her hair done. Damon [Lindelof] was like, ‘Would you dye your hair for this?’ I was like, ‘Absolutely. Let’s do it.'”
The inspiration for JQ was a little Bruce Willis in The Fifth Element and Tyler Durden in Fight Club. But Chris wanted to take it up a notch with JQ. “We really sort of went for it,” Chris added. “When I called them I was like, ‘Guys, I kind of feel like this guy needs to be orange, like a Cheeto in terms of tan.’ They were on board 100%. They did like the extra super dark, burnt orange spray tan on me. I was in relatively good shape, but it was really just a matter of I can’t help but feel JQ had a big poster of Dolph Lundgren in his room and just looked at it every morning.”
While it may have seemed initially that JQ was just the “inadvertent third wheel” to Simone and Wiley’s adventures, JQ will be a “key” part of their journey. “JQ’s mission is clear. He wants to stop the big D. He wants to bring it down. He wants things to go back to normal. This is the thing that I really loved about the character. All that bravado is actually shielding and hiding this massive vulnerability. He was this guy that had a life before Mrs. Davis getting released. This is the way he sees it. He had a life, and he had a purpose. He was very good at one thing, and Mrs. Davis came along and demystified the very thing that he was good at along, along with everything else by giving absolute power to everyone that wielded her, right? The minute you have a knowledge of the ages at your fingertips nothing’s kind of special or secret anymore.”
For JQ, Chris stressed that the mission is “really about reclaiming his identity. There’s a great vulnerability with regard to that and his relationship, his friendship, and his kinship with Wiley is also a big driving force. JQ is fiercely ferociously loyal to Wiley and deeply loves him, deeply cares for him, and doesn’t want him to get hurt. So it’s really there’s a really, really great little journey for JQ within all of this.”
He also teased, “Let me just say this. If you truly do like Wiley and JQ, you’re going to lose your mind. There’s an episode where your mind might explode.”
Chris is a revered voice actor and has also had notable roles in Silicon Valley, Good Girls Revolt, and many more shows and films. In his career up until now, Chris hadn’t worked with Damon Lindelof and jumped at the chance to do so for Mrs. Davis.
“I’ve been such a massive fan of his shows and such a massive fan of his writing in the world that he creates,” he said. Chris admitted that he told his team that he’d “pretty much do anything” with the famed screenwriter. Once Chris started working with Damon and co-creator Tara Hernandez, he realized that this project was “something that I could add value to and it was in my weird wheelhouse of odd characters that I had the pleasure of playing, and it sort of grew from there.”
Despite his incredible on-point Australian accent, Chris actually hails from Canada. He’s tackled accents and dialects before but never tried an Australian accent — until now.
“Australian is one I had never touched before because it always mystified me,” the actor told HollywoodLife. “I just never understood it. I couldn’t get my head around it. When they said when he’s Australian I just sort of messed around with it a little bit. I was like, he’s just epic. He’s like Russell Crowe’s great f**ing cousin next to the Hemsworth farm in Australia. Everything is super epic. At first, I was nervous because the character speaks so much information, I didn’t want to slow anything down and I didn’t want the accent to sacrifice the material or vice versa. But once I sort of got who he was because he’s Australian fully, but he’s JQ. He’s got his f***ing legendary accent. I fucking loved it.” New episodes of Mrs. Davis drop Thursdays on Peacock.