The Bear fans, rejoice. FX confirmed on July 14 that Jeremy Allen White and the rest of the Original Beef employees will be returning for a second season of the hit show about the goings-on of a Chicago beef joint. That means even more screen time for White’s dreamy character, Carmy Berzatto, and his many, many tattoos.
I love Carmy and have been a fan of Jeremy Allen White since Afterschool, his 2008 indie film. White’s popularity surged the past few weeks, thanks in part to his riveting performance in The Bear. A screenshot from The Bear that showed off White’s floppy hair and tattoos going viral certainly helped too.
The photo made me wonder if Carmy’s tattoos are real. Turns out I’m probably not the only one wondering. Search traffic on Google for “jeremy allen white tattoos” is up since mid-June, so I’m ready to investigate the truth of White’s tattoos.
Well, turns out my impending investigation has already ended. White recently spoke with Vulture about creating custom ink for Carmy’s character. “I created all of them with a friend who is a tattoo artist. His name is Ben Shields,” he said. “He has an incredible knowledge of the history and art of tattoos, and even the geography of it. He can see tattoos on older people and generally figure out where they were and when they got it.”
Shields, for his part, was thrilled to be a part of The Bear. “I made the tattoos for this amazing show!!!” he captioned an Instagram post of the show trailer on June 7. “I’m honored & extremely grateful.”
White told Vulture that working with Shields to create Carmy’s tattoos helped him learn about his character through Carmy’s art. “It was actually my introduction to figuring out Carmy, because Ben wrote down a list of questions,” White said of the tattoos. “He was like, ‘When people get their first tattoos, it’s going to be a boyfriend or a girlfriend or their parents or an area code or an address, because that’s something about your identity no one can challenge you on. It’s a very safe first thing to get.’ He had a whole list of questions like that: ‘Did you get something when you were at Noma in Copenhagen? Who gave that to you?’”
Carmy has several tattoos on his biceps, forearms, arms, and hands, including a rose, a snail with the words “Live Fast,” a hand with a knife through it, two angels surrounding a sun, the Grim Reaper and a bottle of alcohol shaking hands, and a spilled whiskey glass.
This is all well and good, but it’s time to get to the real question: How many tattoos does White actually have? “I’ve got something for Mom, something for Dad, something for my wife, something for my daughter,” he told Vulture. “All the safe ones.”
One of his tattoos — a triangle on his left pec — actually caused a stir while filming the pilot for Shameless over a decade ago. “The triangle tattoo was for a couple of friends. I got it when I was really young. I was like 17, and it was done very poorly, so it’s very raised,” White told FOX 5 in 2020.
“I went to shoot the pilot for Shameless, and it was pretty much just a pain to cover,” he said. “[The makeup artists] were like ‘It’s so raised, no matter what you do to it, you pretty much see it.’ We ended up asking the tattoo artist if I could have his tattoo on my body, so Lip ended up with the tattoo as well as myself.” Unsurprisingly, fans also thirsted for his Shameless character, Lip Gallagher.
Though Carmy has significantly more tattoos than White does IRL, White still saw himself in the chef. “I knew immediately how much I cared for Carmy and how much my heart really hurt for Carmy, and I don’t think I knew exactly why yet,” he told Vulture.
Based on the insight Shields gave White about the popularity of tattoos as momentos, it might be only a matter of time before White gets a tattoo to honor The Bear. I’d suggest ink of a classic Chicago Italian beef.
For now, though, consider this investigation closed.