IN the last five years, I've worked in dozens of short and feature films, plays, tv shows, music videos, commercials and industrials. April 2018 marks my double film debut at TriBeCa Film Festival: starring in the interactive 3D/360 Storyscapes installation Queerskins, a virtual-reality narrative set in 1990s Missouri during the AIDS epidemic; and as Senator Lionel in the first episode of the interactive web series WarGames, created by Daniels (Swiss Army Man) and mobile game director Sam Barlow (Her Story). Also premiering in 2018 is Up the Stairs (dir. Alexander Black), in which I star as a father whose old wounds are reopened when his son is bullied in school. It co-stars the music legend Jimmy Buffett as the school principal! Later in 2018, I star in Dan Ventresca's short film The Rival, based on the never-produced short story by Charles Beaumont, one of the head writers of the original The Twilight Zone. As of 2017, I'm on permanent exhibit several times a day in a short film for the visitors of The Hermitage, home of President Andrew Jackson (Nashville), taking them back to 1829 as James Hamilton, son of Alexander Hamilton. On the ads front, I recently had a successful campaign for Kinney Drugs, playing a pharmacist in their series of light-hearted commercials. Also coming in 2018 is the short film The Gaze, produced by Sam Kretchmar, whose feature film Keep in Touch is making waves. And I was nominated for Best Actor by 168 Film Festival for my role as a biotech scientist who paves the way for human immortality in the futuristic short film E.T.O.D. My short film As It Seems (dir. Nancy Menagh) is already winning awards on the festival circuit. In 2016, the short film Brothers showcased me as a dubious priest in a surprising, provocative story about homegrown terrorism, directed by Todd Wiseman, of Hayden 5 Media.
MY theatre and tv/film career began at age 12 in Nashville, TN, and then took me to Chicago, where I studied theatre at Northwestern University, and then to London for a semester at British-American Drama Academy, and then to Los Angeles, where I lived out my youth. During those years I performed in hundreds of shows, films, commercials and industrials. Highlights included the role of Orlando in As You Like It, which was the inaugural production of the Nashville Shakespeare Festival, and roles in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Life and Limb, Psycho Beach Party, Macbeth, The Merchant of Venice, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Golden Boy starring an unknown Mark Ruffalo, The Young and the Restless with a teenage Paul Walker, and the Amy Grant music video Angels.
BUT then the East beckoned me home. I took a break from acting—a long break—and earned a second bachelor’s degree in Classics at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. After UT I moved to New York, where I worked as a freelance writer before going back to school once again and earning a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature at the City University of New York. Over eight years I taught Classics at Brooklyn College and English at West Point. I also tutored John Jay High School as an Americorps volunteer and taught summer writing camps. These post-L.A. years took me to far-flung places intellectually and emotionally, and even geographically (an archaeological dig on the island of Crete). Highlights included taking college field trips with Brooklyn high school students, teaching Greek mythology to thousands of CUNY students, and introducing West Point cadets to the pleasure—and sometimes torture—of studying and performing Shakespeare. I published an essay about the exhaustive and amusing search for my paternal ancestry, and I translated from French a collection of Revolutionary War prison letters, Caught in the Crossfire: The New York City Prison Letters of St. John de Crèvecoeur (currently being prepared for publication).
WHEN I’m not acting, I’m making my own films and videos. In 2011 I shot the documentary short A Neighborhood Reborn: Life in Lower Manhattan Ten Years After 9/11, and I’m finishing up a documentary feature about a man who suddenly loses his sight after 60 years of perfect vision, which leads to an unlikely friendship with his neighbor.