Serial Acting
An interview with actor Jeremy Roberts

By 
Gerry Kissell

 


          Born in Birmingham, Alabama some forty-four years ago, Jeremy Roberts was the eldest of four siblings. "My brother and sisters hadn't been born yet, and life was kind of crazy there in Alabama," said Jeremy. Escaping Alabama in the middle of the night while only the age of three, Jeremy and his mother headed toward Hollywood. Jeremy suddenly found himself living in the place that would play a major role in his future career. 
          "When I was seven, my mother married," recalled Jeremy. " I remember wearing this little white suit and crying while watching the ceremony. I don't know why I cried, but there I was crying in my little white suit." It was the same suit that he would then wear as his mother and new stepfather whisked him away to the glitz of Las Vegas. "I wore it for, like, seven days straight! They just kept washing it for me to wear again and again, because I really didn't have anything else to wear."  Though these times were at first hard, it would pass, and within a few years his stepfather would adopt Jeremy after the family returned to California. 
          By the time he was seventeen, our nation was deeply embroiled in the Vietnam War. Jeremy asked his father to sign the papers, and he then Joined the Marine Corp.  "I was in boot camp for what seemed an eternity, and it was a nightmare, the beatings and shit, and it seemed to just go on forever," lamented Jeremy. "When that was done, I got sent to 'Nam. I was stationed in Saigon, at the embassy.  The war was winding down and we were nearing the end.  It seemed, in my experience, that I saw more violence
before I left boot camp than after."

         The last days of Jeremy's career in the Marines were spent working on the GPS-22 computer. "We'd practice launching missiles with it. I remember someone jokingly yelling, 'Who has his finger on the button that could destroy the world?' and I shouted back with a laugh, 'I do!'. We were kinda crazy then." 
         Soon though, Jeremy returned to civilian life. "I did a lot of different jobs," remembered Jeremy. " I drove a truck, waited and bussed tables, and even worked at a golf course that celebrities frequented.  I was a bartender on the 19th green and I'd serve guys like John Wayne, George Burns and I even remember Tom Selleck coming in back before he'd made it big. It was a great job," but Jeremy also honed a different type of skill on the side - acting. 
          "One of my ambitions was to do all of the Shakespeare plays. I studied the language and wanted to know everything there was to know about Elizabethan English.  It's like another language," said Jeremy. It wasn't until he Was twenty-five, however, that he got serious about acting and stage work, traveling with the American Conservatory Theater. Years later, he would begin landing roles on television and film. Some fans may remember Jeremy as the assassin "Mister Valtane" in STAR TREK VI: THE UNDISCOVERED COUNTRY. "I later reprised the role on VOYAGER, which told the early days of the friendship between Tuvok and my character.  It was all very cool,"  an understandable sentiment given how much the actor favored television as a pasttime during the sixties.
          "I grew up with the television," said Jeremy. "I'd get home from school watch afternoon tv, downing about a loaf of bread, making toast, while watching tv. Then my mother would feel lonely late at night and wake me up to come in and watch the late movie with her. Movies and television were a major part of my life from early on." 
         Today, Jeremy contributes to the television habits of his nineties counterparts with appearances on the syndicated XENA and HERCULES series. "It was on the set of XENA that I met Josh [Becker] and where we first discussed my being in RUNNING TIME. I was kind of scared at first with what Josh wanted to do.  The whole 'real time' thing was unnerving. But Josh explained that it was no different than doing a play." With that, Mr. Roberts joined the cast of RUNNING TIME. 
          In the effort to prep himself for "Patrick", the crook who engineers an ill-fated bank heist with fresh-out-of-the-pen Carl (Bruce Campbell), Jeremy went to the history books for inspiration. "I prepared for the role of Patrick by reading material like the Time/Life books on serial killers and about bad guys in general," he explained. "I wanted to understand this guy Patrick and I looked forward to the role. I also looked forward to getting to work with Bruce again. We first met when I played a bad guy on THE ADVENTURES OF BRISCO COUNTY, JR.  Bruce was like a brother, we just had a lot of fun during the shoot. The whole experience [on RUNNING TIME] was great, and Josh was the consummate professional, one of the best directors I have ever worked with. The guy really understands comedy, something that he and I share and appreciate." 
          With RUNNING TIME behind him, Jeremy continues to work steadily. "I Enjoy being a character actor and love getting roles like that of "Patrick" in RUNNING TIME. In fact, I'd like to make a career of  playing good Supporting roles in independent films like RUNNING TIME." 
          As the guy writing this (and what a guy he is! - ed.), I too must say that Jeremy Roberts reminds me of so many good character actors like Bill Paxton and the younger Kurt Russell.  Jeremy is a very talented and physical actor who I believe will see great things ahead in his career.
 

Gerry Kissell
October 19, 1998

Edited by Jason Pankoke
 

 

 

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