IN the last several years, I've worked in dozens of short and feature films, plays, tv shows, music videos, commercials and industrials. In 2019 I had supporting roles in two exciting feature films. First came the horror-thriller The Shed (now available on Amazon), directed by Frank Sabatella and from the producers of Saw and Hatchet. The second feature, sweeping up awards at FirstGlance Film Fest Philadelphia, was Bill Crossland's Catching Up (2020 distribution date), starring Sam Daly, Jonathan Fernandez, Chris Petrovski, and Caroline Duncan. It began as a short film at Sundance 2016. 2018 marked 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 MGM's interactive web series #WarGames, created by Daniels (Swiss Army Man) and mobile game director Sam Barlow (Her Story). Continuing to freak out online and festival audiences is the short film The Gaze, produced by Sam Kretchmar, whose feature film Keep in Touch aired on PBS. 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. In 2016, the short film Army of God showcased me as a dubious priest in a surprising, provocative story about homegrown terrorism, directed by Todd Wiseman, of Hayden 5 Media. On the commercial front, I star in a campaign for Kinney Drugs, playing a pharmacist in their series of light-hearted commercials; and I recently played a scheming dad who gets played in this Shark vacuum commercial. In late 2020, look out for Nausheen Dadabhoy's feature documentary An Act of Worship, in which I lead a group of FBI agents. This film documents the everyday lives of Muslim women activists in the environment of U.S. Islamophobia.
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 CUNY Graduate Center. 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 2019 marked the film festival premiere of my first documentary feature They Look Like Trees, about a man who suddenly loses his sight after 60 years of perfect vision, which leads to an unlikely friendship with his neighbor.