The role of DJ Jason Mendoza catapulted the 33-year-old to fame. Now he’s starring with Kidman in Nine Perfect Strangers – and being entranced by Cruise in the Top Gun reboot

On YouTube, you can see Manny Jacinto getting the surprise of his life. During a break from filming, the stars of The Good Place are informed of the smash-hit comedy’s mind-boggling plot twist. Castmate Jameela Jamil covers her face with her hands. William Jackson Harper shouts out loud. Jacinto jerks his head around frantically, as if trying to make sense of this astonishing development purely through the power of repetitive neck movement.

“I wish I could bottle up that feeling and have everybody experience it,” says Jacinto wistfully, five years later. “It was incredible.” Fans of the heaven-set sitcom will know what he means: the revelation was up there with the best plot twists of all time (spoiling it would be a crime). Yet for Jacinto the show did far more than pull the rug from under him. Winning the role of nice-but-ridiculously-dim DJ Jason Mendoza sent shockwaves through his entire life, catapulting the 33-year-old from relative obscurity to the kind of stardom that invariably accompanies a Netflix success story.

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