When did you first discover acting?
I guess it really discovered me, at about age 11 or 12, when I had a major speaking role in our local church Christmas play. After that, I was hooked, and played leading roles in the Junior and Senior Class plays, Spring Festivals, etc. That plus, being an active FFA officer, got me involved in public speaking, debate team, etc.
How did you get into film acting?
During one of our many locations throughout my “regular” career, we lived in Franklin, TN, where during the summer of 1985, I think it was, they filmed most of “At Close Range”, a movie featuring numerous later award winners—Christopher Walken, Sean Penn, David Strathairn, Keifer Sutherland, among others. I managed to be on camera as a Sheriff’s deputy, when they brought in Walken’s character for trial.
What was your first film role?
As that Deputy Sheriff in “At Close Range”, as an extra or “background actor”.
What music videos have you been in?
The first, and biggest, was as the angry preacher-father in Toby Keith’s “God Love Her”, which was number one song and video for about 6-8 weeks in 2008-09, and heavily nominated for everything. There were only 4 actors, and only 2 of those were locally based, (they brought in 2 from LA), and it was a featured role, so I was pretty lucky. Josh Turner’s “Everything is Fine” was filmed like the very same week, where I played his father. Then I was in a Kenny Chesney Tour screens stills for “Down the Road”, a big hit he had with Mac Mcnally, Patty Loveless’ “Busted”, Bobby Dean’s “Hank on the Radio”, and recently one with a new artist, Greg Bates, which has not been released yet. And I think there was one other one, somewhere.
What faith-based films have you been in?
“Unconditional” and most recently, “Flowers for Fannie”.
Tell us about your role in “Flowers for Fannie”.
Oh, that was fun! I play Jim, Fannie’s handyman, and sometimes antagonist. It was a great experience, and I loved working with the entire cast, and the production crew. Sharon and Fred Wilharm were a joy to work with and really believe in what they are doing and trying to portray on screen.
Tell us about your role in “Unconditional”.
Well, you have to look quickly, but I played a detective in the police station, when Lynn Collins comes in to talk to the Chief, played by Bruce McGill.
What was it like filming “National Treasures – Book of Secrets”?
That was really an awesome experience, since it was such a huge budget movie, and the scenes I was in were filmed on the back lawn of Mt. Vernon(home of George Washington), and at night. Filming at Mt. Vernon is basically never done, so that was an event in itself. National Treasures was already such an iconic nameplate also, so it drew lots of attention. I was in the President’s birthday party scene, where Nicolas Gage’s character, talks to and then kidnaps the President. Took all night, 2 nights, and it was freezing cold. We all wore tuxes and evening gowns for the ladies because it was a high profile party scene. Again—look quick, but I did make the cut). What I will never forget is seeing a full moon across the Potomac River at about 2 am, from the back lawn and veranda of Mt.Vernon, and thinking, “Wow, I bet George Washington, saw this exact same view many years ago!”
Tell us a little about filming “We Fight to Be Free”.
Well, coincidentally, that one involved George Washington too! When the new Ford Orientation Center was opened at Mt.Vernon, they decided to have a theatre, and show a short orientation film about Washington’s life to everyone who visits Mt. Vernon. Filmed in 2006, it’s only a 20 minute movie, but they spent something like $7.5 million on it, so that indicates the production values, and authenticity extreme to which they went. It was a lot of fun, partly because it was all period costume with lots of detail, colonial wigs, knee britches, etc. Hair and make-up took forever, and we actually filmed the scene I was in briefly at Colonial Williamsburg, a very historical place in its own right. I was in the Second Continental Congress and also did stand-in for Sebastian Roche, who played Washington.
What are your acting goals for the future?
Get better at my craft. One is never too old to learn, so I have taken some workshops recently, to hone my skills. I really enjoy acting and just want to do a variety of roles, from local summer theatre, which I did last year, to dramatic roles. One of my most satisfying, which no one will ever likely see, was in a very short student film. So you never know from which direction your biggest challenge or best work may come from.
Acting, or narration, is one gift I can also use for the betterment of others. So I use that at church as a skill to glorify God. We have had numerous Christmas and Easter roles, but I see that as my duty—if asked.