Elizabeth Lail has multiple lives with ‘Ordinary Joe’

Former 'You' co-star returns to weekly work in NBC series

Elizabeth Lail

The title character in “Ordinary Joe” takes three different paths in life, but he’s not the only one.

With a concept similar to the Gwyneth Paltrow movie “Sliding Doors,” the NBC drama series — debuting Monday, Sept. 20 — examines what would have happened if Joe (played by “Mad Men” and “Zoo” alum James Wolk) had gone down any of several avenues after his college graduation … as an ambitious policeman, a maritally troubled medic or a literal rock star. The multiple lives also apply to his longtime friend Jenny, portrayed by former “You” co-star Elizabeth Lail, since she has a different place in each of Joe’s existences.

“It’s a good reminder that our choices affect everyone around us as well,” the pleasant Lail reflects. “When I first came to this, I was really just looking at Jenny and how she fit in, but I love thinking now about how my personal life might have been different based on choices that I’ve made.”

Jenny reveals something to Joe at the premiere’s end that clearly will fuel that particular story, and it’s had a long time to develop, since “Ordinary Joe” was conceived 15 years ago, “It doesn’t really matter when it’s made,” Lail reasons. “I think we all think about fate or destiny and how we carve our paths. It’s one of life’s great questions.”

The attention that “You” (in which she played object-of-obsession Beck) brought Lail gave her options, but she’s glad to have a series pace again: “Sometimes I work through the night, but my body and soul always feel better by being challenged by working. I’m always happy to be there.”

Elizabeth Lail

Birthdate: March 25, 1992

Birthplace: Williamson County, Texas

Current residence: New York

Marital status: Married (as of earlier this year)

Other television credits include: “Gossip Girl,” “Ben Platt Live From Radio City Music Hall,” “You,” “The Good Fight,” “The Blacklist,” “Dead of Summer,” “Once Upon a Time”

Movie credits include: “Countdown,” ”Unattended”

On keeping her “Ordinary Joe” stories straight: “It’s easy for me to keep up with my three Jennys, but I think it’s much harder for the crew and the directors and the continuity people, because they have to keep up with every character’s three different lives. Jenny has her own life struggles, and they’re all very different.”

Jay Bobbin

Jay Bobbin has decades of experience covering the television and movie businesses, winning Tribune Media Services’ Crown Jewel Award in 2008 for his performance in the company. Over those many years of interviewing and writing, he has spoken with everyone from Robert De Niro and John Travolta to Paul McCartney and Tony Bennett … from Meryl Streep and Julie Andrews to Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood.

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