By Ryan in Actors and Actresses on Feb 19, 2010
Heartland's rodeo king talks with jitZul about his career so far.
Kerry James is a rising star hailing from British Columbia, Canada who has found his way onto the western drama; Heartland. Kerry also has a passion for writing and hopes to bring stories to the big screen in the future.
On Heartland Kerry plays the role of Caleb Odell a young, jovial, rising rodeo star. Caleb enjoys a fun and bickering relationship on Heartland with Ashley, played by Cindy Busby.
Find out more about Kerry on the Heartland website or follow him on Twitter.
One of your biggest roles to date as been portraying Caleb Odell on Heartland. What do you find most enjoyable about playing this character?
The thing I've found most enjoyable is adopting the cowboy lifestyle as my own. Coming from the West coast of Canada the "cowboy way," was very new to me. Playing Caleb gave me the chance to live like a cowboy, which I love and fully endorse. I had a great time learning to ride and rope. I love getting to do anything action oriented on the show; I just have a blast.
Did you have any type of experience with the ranch/rodeo life before taking this role?
Not at all haha. The whole thing was new too me, which I think actually helped authenticate Caleb. I had no prior notion of the "cowboy way," so experiencing it fresh and first hand gave me a chance to really create the character. I spend a few weeks before the show started hanging out at rodeos and getting to know some of the riders. I actually based a lot of Caleb's mannerisms off of a couple of the cowboy's I got to know pretty well.
Acting can be quite daunting and stressful, do you see yourself continuing as an actor or perhaps trying you hand on some other areas of entertainment, such as writing or producing?
Acting though it can be tough at times is my passion. I'm a curious person by nature and acting to me has always been a chance to explore the deepest realms of myself and other ways of life. I don't ever see myself giving it up. As far as writing and producing, positively yes, I am and plan to do both. Writing in particular stands out to me as something I would love to be successful at.
Auditioning is a huge part of being an actor. Do you have any advice on how one can ensure that they have a great audition?
Auditions are tricky. Leave you're ego outside the room, connect with your character and just be. Most importantly, remember to breathe, sounds silly but you would be shocked at how often actor's, myself included, hold their breath when they're nervous.
One of the downsides to being an actor is when you experience a lull in work. Do you have anything in particular that you like to do during your down time?
Downtime? I'm not familiar with that haha. I've definitely had lulls for sure. During those times I work extremely hard on finding new work, it's a full time job. The hungry and hard working are often the most rewarded, I am one of those people.
How do you feel growing up in Kelowna impacted your career?
I've always loved acting and drama, but never really viewed it as something a career could be made of. During high school in kelowna it was a requirement that you accumulate something called "career hours," totally lame right? Anyway participating in a school play was a viable and, in my mind easy, way to get those hours. I ended up snagging, most be accident, a leading roll in a play, and grudgingly went to rehearsal. Turns out I've never been happier doing anything else. It's because of those stupid career hours I found acting and decided I wanted to follow it up as a career. So, thanks school system haha, I guess.
Where do you see your career in a decade? Do you surmise you will stay in Canada or head south?
In a decade? Hmmm, I see myself fattening up like Bando and still being able to work like him. Sadly unlikely haha, but I hope to be making and participating in projects of my choosing within the next 10 years. I'm a very proud Canadian and will always call Canada my home. As for work, it's just necessary to make the transition to the south. I'll live here for work and to find work, but as soon as it's feasible I'll be coming home baby.
A great challenge for an actor can sometimes be acting genuinely jovial even when they themselves are not in the greatest mood. How do you push your own personal feelings aside when stepping into character?
I think i can safely say I find myself most often living in the moment. When you're alive in the moment and not thinking forward or backwards your mood is generally effected only on your immediate circumstances. because I generally love my immediate surroundings and what I'm doing, I'm almost always in a good mood Life's a funny thing when you back up far enough and see it on large scale. I try to maintain this perspective for my own life, and it's hard to be upset when you're aware your life is a giant comedy haha.
Show business is a very competitive field, what steps have you taken to stand out?
Nothing, be who you are. Put yourself in a box or try to be what someone else wants you to be you're just doing yourself a disservice. I am what i am, some will love it, some will hate it, and most are indifferent to it haha.
In your opinion, what is the biggest mistake that aspiring actors tend to make?
Take acting seriously. I find a lot of young actors think a roll, or impressing someone will change their life. be mellow and go with the flow, I always end up where I need to be. And so what if in ten years i never work a day in my life again as an actor? I'll take up stage and put up my own stuff. Don't limit yourself!
Do you have any additional advice to young performers trying to find their way into the industry?
Be as honest as you can be with yourself. I'm not saying judge yourself, but be honest with what you think and feel.