Actor John Wells was gracious enough to spend the afternoon trekking across the new walking bridge with me, talking about his career and how he's made the progress he has in fitness and films. The Louisville musician turned actor has been seen in films like "Overtime","The Hatfields and McCoys "," and is the lead in the forthcoming "The Old Winter" by John A. Coulter. (Trailer below.) I enjoyed getting to know him a little better and found him to be an intriguing person with a beautiful vision of where he's headed. Interview follows:
Jessica Lynn: I've been following your posts and career for a few years and have seen an amazing transformation take place. You've made a physical transformation and continue to maintain a positive attitude that radiates gratitude and humility. Do you ever find it hard to maintain this kind of demeanor?
John Wells: No, I don't think so. I'm an optimist by nature, but I do also come from very modest beginnings. That will usually keep a person grounded, grateful, and focused.
JL: Can you tell me a little about the journey to your current phenomenal level of fitness?
JW: I was an overweight child and an obese teenager. In high school, I was so ashamed of my fitness level that I sought out and found a loophole that kept me out of gym class all four years. I hated it, but it was all I knew. Honestly, it was really just a matter of waking up one day and thinking, "I don't want to be like this anymore." So, over the course of a year, I lost about 100 pounds. Once I saw the weight coming off, I started to realize the potential for real and dramatic change. It was incredibly empowering to learn that I had that kind of control over my own physical form. That potential became my drive. I didn't want to settle for mediocrity. I wanted to be the best that I could make of myself. Fitness became an obsession, which matured into a passion, and eventually settled into a lifestyle.
JL: I know you've played dramatic and action characters. What other type of roles have you portrayed? Is there a certain type of role that you hope to be able to play?
JW: I feel very fortunate in that I've had the opportunity to take on what I believe is a very broad range of characters. I've played the villain, the antihero, and the comic relief. I've been a vigilante hit-man, a socially awkward goth-nerd, a poor 1930's tenant farmer, and a hipster vampire aristocrat. The most thrilling roles for me are those that differ the most from previous experiences and challenge me to step outside of my comfort zone.
JL: When did you realize you wanted to become an actor?
JW: I think I always wanted to be in movies, but I never considered it a possibility. I was a genuine film aficionado growing up, but, of course, living in Louisville, Kentucky- the idea of pursuing a career in movies felt as outlandish as pursuing a career in space travel. It was something that, amazingly enough, found me by chance a little later in life.
JL: What do you love most about it? What is the biggest attracting factor?
JW: The escapism, that's what really appeals to me. Living in another world for day. As someone who has never felt comfortable in their own skin, it's profoundly therapeutic to become someone else entirely for a short time.
JL: What would you say has been your most challenging role to date? What about your most exciting?
JW: Easily the most challenging role has been Henry Lamb in "The Old Winter", due to the tremendous emotional weight of the story and intimacy I share with the characters. As for the most exciting, ... well, I'm not authorized to talk about that one yet.
Jl: Can you tell me what "The Old Winter" is about?
JW: Rural farmers during the depression, struggling to adapt during difficult times of change. It plays heavily to the theme of disappearing farm lands across the country as cities grow.
JL: A lot of actors also write or have other creative hobbies. Do you have any other creative outlets?
JW: I have had many in the past, but acting has consumed all of them. I used to love writing and sketching, but haven't done either in a very long time. I was a singer and songwriter for much of my life, but that's something I haven't taken seriously in years. I really don't have time for hobbies these days.
JL: What would you say is the most important thing an actor/actress can do to make progress in their careers?
JW:Network and hone your craft.
JL: What is one of the major pitfalls you think aspiring talent should watch out for?
JW: Committing to too many or the wrong types of films. Be selective if you can. It's more impressive to have a short resume of quality work than a long list of hack jobs. You are your product, so work to make yourself valuable.
JL: One more - is there a constant source of inspiration for you? Do you have heroes or folks who inspire you to continue your climb?
JW: I try to be my own source of inspiration. Each day I strive to be better than I was yesterday. That's how I've learned to progress.