"I am honestly not sure how anyone can pursue dreams without the support of people that they love"

An interview with Jesse Ray Sheps | All Square | VMA19 BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR | August Edition


Jesse Ray Sheps is undoubtedly one of the most promising young actors in today's cinema scene, about whom we will hear more and more often in the next future.


His brilliant acting performance alongside Michael Kelly in All Square, winner as Best Film of the Month at the Vegas Movie Awards in July 2019, granted him the major awards as Best August Supporting Actor and Best Child/Young Actor in the fierce competition of August.


At such a young age, Jesse Ray Sheps is already proving to be much more than an actor: he already wrote, directed and starred in an award-winning comedy short film, playing 6 different characters. He also writes music, plays guitar and sings. Last but not least, he’s an honor student with a big heart.


In the following interview, Jesse tells us from his point of view how amazing his career is becoming, and how beautiful it is for a boy his age to be able to pursue his dreams in the creative environment he loves most.

• Hello Jesse, congratulations on winning such high prizes for an actor at the Vegas Movie Awards: Awards of Excellence as ‘Best Supporting Actor’ and ‘Best Child/Young Actor’. How do you feel about your success so far?


First I just want to thank everyone at the Vegas Movie Awards. It was such an amazing honor to be recognized by you guys especially when I saw the list of all of the other great actors who were also nominated from so many great movies. It's been such a great experience working as an actor and it is such an important part of my life. I always try to take those experiences and hopefully some of those past successes as use them as a springboard moving forward towards hopefully the next great opportunity and adventure.


• Tell us about your background. How and when did you discover your love for acting? What were some of your first roles?

I guess I always had a great interest in performing and it eventually catapulted me towards acting. I started off modeling when I was about 4. I did some international modeling campaigns for companies like H&M, AT&T and some other commercial work. It gave me my first taste at a young age about working with adults professionally and I immediately loved it - especially all of the free food and cookies they would always have out on all of the sets! From there I booked a role playing Fluffy the Hedgehog on Nick Jr.’s show Zack and Quack. The two full seasons were recorded over the course of a few years - and it really further fueled my desire to act more. It was a great learning experience at such a young age only being able to use your voice in animation to express a character’s emotions. I knew I wanted to do this forever.


I have been really fortunate and blessed to have met so many cool people in the industry - whether super famous or just nice kind people working on the set - many coming from all parts of the world. Its just the best experience and I am thankful.

• Let’s talk a bit about All Square, winner as ‘Best Film of the Month’ at the Vegas Movie Awards in July 2019. How was it to work together with formidable stars such as Emmy nominated Michael Kelly (House of Cards), Pamela Adlon (Better Things, Transformers) and Yeardley Smith (The Simpsons), just to name a few?


All Square was really a dream come true for a young actor. Getting to be a lead in that movie- while working with such incredibly respected actors like Michael, Pam, and Yeardley - was the ultimate learning experience. I also got to work on that film with so many other great actors like Isiah Whitlock, Tom Everett Scott, Josh Lucas. Just watching each of them prepare and work and transform themselves into these deep characters was just inspiring. Michael and I worked together the most - he was really great to me on and off the set and definitely a much nicer guy than his Doug Stamper role on House of Cards. He taught me a lot and was so much fun to work with. I am so proud of the movie - and everyone involved like Tim Brady who wrote it and John Hyams the Director who was really super nice too. It was like working with a family - especially since so many of the actors and members of the crew were friends for so many years. I was new to the party but they welcomed me with open arms and I am so grateful. They even threw me a big birthday party when it fell on one day of filming which was really great. • Despite your young age, you already have a very impressive acting career. In addition to your stunning performance in All Square, you already filmed some scenes with Kate Winslet in Collateral Beauty, worked with Donnie Wahlberg in Blue Bloods, and had even a two hours meeting with Robert De Niro…what were some of your main takeaways from meeting with such inspiring world-renowned talents?

I am really fortunate to have been able to meet so many great super inspiring actors - each of them being so kind and great to me. I met Kate Winslet and at the time I kind of forgot she had a British accent. I also suppose in my mind I just always imagined her being this Oscar dress wearing actress all of the time. So on my first day on the set by the make up trailer this absolutely amazingly friendly woman with a British accent started talking to me. She was so incredibly nice, cool, and friendly - and the lady was just wearing a T-shirt and sweats - real cool and casual just talking to me about life and school. I actually didn’t realize during the conversation that it was Kate Winslet because of the accent and because she was just so relaxed and like a real cool regular person. I was a few years younger so I think I imagined her walking around every minute of the day in a long gown like a Queen - with paparazzi shooting pictures of her every minute - or walking on the deck of the Titanic! But I walked away saying wow that British lady was so nice for saying hello and taking the time to meet me! Best of all I got to work with her in a couple of scenes where she played my movie dad’s love interest. Working with her was really a dream come true. She was so great!


Donnie Wahlberg was amazing. He was so funny on the set and so supportive. We were busting each other over football (I kept telling him that his idol Tom Brady was old and over rated and he was making fun of my Dallas Cowboys). He was really the greatest guy ever and was so nice to me - he even tweeted out something nice about me to his millions of followers on Twitter. I am forever grateful to him.


And Robert De Niro - it was a meeting for a possible film. The project eventually didn’t materialize but I got to hang out for almost two hours with one of the greatest actors of all time - He is the King of coolness and was so kind. He was asking me what songs I was learning on the guitar. I told him that just the day before I was playing around with the old song the “Wanderer”. He turned to me, smiled for a second with that classic smile he does - and says “oh yeah - sing it“. I looked at him - and said to him a bit nervously (since this was Robert De Niro asking me) - “You mean you want me to sing the song...like sing it now?”. And staring down at me in a silent room was Robert De Niro with THAT stare and a smile saying “Yeah - sing it”. After taking a big deep breath - I started singing the chorus - and all of sudden - HE STARTS SINGING THE SONG WITH ME! We were both singing “I’m the kind of guy that always gets around...yeah the wanderer-yeah the wanderer...”. It will probably be the coolest moment of my life that I am guessing will be hard to ever top - I think he was even snapping along! No way I will ever forget that moment. Haha.

I have been really fortunate and blessed to have met so many cool people in the industry - whether super famous or just nice kind people working on the set - many coming from all parts of the world. Its just the best experience and I am thankful.

• Who are your role models? Is there an artist, in particular, you use as inspiration for your acting career or your private life?  


One person I have to admire is Seth MacFarlane. I guess its because he has that amazing animation background which I love but Seth is also so incredibly multi talented. He writes so many brilliant movies and tv shows - he can act - he can sing -even host the Oscars. I really love doing a lot of those things myself so I think he is really a great inspiration. I really admire actors who love to write their own movies or shows. Imagine how amazing it was for Ben Affleck/Matt Damon to have written Good Will Hunting and then starred in it. Same goes for an actor like Sylvester Stallone who has done so much.



• How important has been your family in pursuing and achieving your dreams?


I am honestly not sure how anyone can do it without the support of people that they love. The time and commitment it takes to audition for roles, hopefully booking some of them- going to a set- learning your part- and keeping up to be successful with school and friends- really needs tons of help. My parents (and my entire family) have always been there for me giving me the tools it takes to succeed when things go well and are there if there is ever a disappointment too. I am very lucky to have them behind me.

• What were some of the most memorable moments in your acting career so far? And, if you could make a wish, with whom would you like to work with in the future?


I have had a bunch of great experiences. I am thinking the most fun was my first “fight scene” during All Square. In the scene got to run over and punch the big town “bully” in the face and then got into a big rumble with him. The scene was great- first it was Michael Kelly “teaching” my character how to punch someone really hard- which was super funny. Then I had to run over onto the baseball field and nail the kid (fake of course) in the face. We then start rolling around in the dirt in a real rumble. It was my first action scene and I loved it! Since in the last month I have watched my first two Quentin Tarantino movies and totally loved them (Once upon a time in Hollywood and Inglourious Bastards)- maybe that means I should be rooting for a role in his next movie so I can have some more fight scenes! Haha. My dream is to one day play superhero- I’m hoping for Spider-Man but ready for anything.

• Your skill on set is a source of great inspiration for many of your peers, but even more so is your kindness out of the spotlight. You already donated a good part of your salary from All Square to buy tons of holiday gifts for sick kids at St. Jude's Hospital, just because you wanted to. How would you like to use your great influence to inspire always more people and make the world a better place?


It was really a great honor to be able to do that. I was so inspired by the kids at St. Jude's. They are the real life superheroes. I think that every day we should all think how we can do even a tiny little thing to make one person’s day even an inch better. If you start thinking that way- there are some days when you can do an incredible amount if the opportunity arises. But by thinking what small thing you can do right now- those big chances to help eventually open up. I would personally love to try to work closer with charitable organizations to figure out a way to make it easier for a kid to donate just one single Holiday gift towards kids in need. If anyone from Amazon is out there- give me a ring because I have a good idea to make this happen!


I think that every day we should all think how we can do even a tiny little thing to make one person’s day even an inch better.

• In addition to acting, and writing, you love composing music, singing and playing guitar. We will see you soon also on tour as a musician?


I love playing music. I have been playing guitar for a few years now- I love writing my own stuff- and I love singing. I have a bunch of songs that I think are almost there- I need a few more and then who knows- maybe an album. Upon until now, music has been my sort of private oasis but I would love to someday consider making the move professionally as a musician as well. Recording an album and touring would be a pretty cool experience. I may even throw in The Wanderer in there for fun as a tribute.


• Can you tell us about some of the exciting projects you will be working on in the next months? Where can our readers follow you and your work?


So I have movie I just starred in called Such a Funny Life that just came out. It was a really great project where I played the younger ages of a comedian whose life was anything from funny. It was a great chance to play a really complex role. I would love if everyone would follow me on instagram at jesserayofficial or check out my website at www.jessesheps.com.


• It was a great pleasure to have you as one of the winners at the Vegas Movie Awards, Jesse. We wish you all the best from your endeavor, hoping that our Film Festival may bring you luck for the future!


Thanks again for having me!




SCENES FROM ALL SQUARE with JESSE RAY SHEPS:

JESSE RAY SHEPS’ award winning comedy short “The Talent Show”




LINKS:

Website: www.jessesheps.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jesserayofficial

IMDb: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm6043297/

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