Rooted in Ohio
In this new feature, we profile interesting individuals who have grown up or lived in Ohio and gone on to make a name for themselves around the country or around the globe. If you know of someone worthy of being highlighted, please drop a note to Life@CoxInc.com. Please include Rooted in Ohio in the subject line.
Jason Greear could never have predicted that just five years after making his first local television commercial, he’d be grabbing lunch with actor Woody Harrelson while both were working on the same film.
The New Carlisle native, who currently lives in Huber Heights, has landed a role in “Out of the Furnace,” a drama produced by Leonardo DiCaprio that stars a host of A-listers. In addition to Harrelson, the cast includes Christian Bale, Robert Duvall, Willem Dafoe, Forest Whitacre, Sam Shepard and Casey Affleck. The movie is due out in December.
This is a big week for Greear, who made his first national television appearance in a Wednesday night episode of ABC’s “Final Witness.” The series re-creates past murders; in this case a killing that took place in Columbus in 2001.
Greear portrayed one of five gang members involved with the murder.
“It was definitely one of the best acting experiences I’ve had,” he says. “We actually filmed in Columbus at every location where things actually happened. When we did the shoot-out scene, there were still bullet holes in the garage door from where the murder actually took place.”
Members of the victim’s family were on the set.
“It was pretty emotional to see them there,” Greear says.
The 29-year-old actor, who’s had little formal training, says performing just comes naturally. He’s also appeared in a sci-fi DVD entitled “Camel Spiders” that came out in March and is being sold throughout the country.
“I play Will, a college student who is attacked by camel spiders while on a nature hike,” Greear explains.
Peter Condopoulos, owner of PC Goenner Talent, is Greear’s agent and says his client is doing well because he has a passion for the film industry and “is a good character actor who can play gangsters and bouncer types.”
He says Greear is “a very fortunate young man to have been cast with so many A-listers in “Out of the Furnace.’ “
The action drama was filmed in Pittsburgh. Greear plays an undercover cop who has “some speaking lines and some cool action scenes.”
Greear says he’s learned a lot from working with various directors.
“Scott Cooper was the director for “Out of the Furnace” and it was awesome to work with a director who has been on both sides of the camera,” he says. “In ‘Final Witness,” I worked with Cruz Angeles who took the time to show me what I had done and how I could portray it a little better. He taught me not to overplay the character. He would tell me to look scared, then to tone it down. “
Greear says it’s a little nerve-wracking to meet the big celebrities he respects, but says everyone has been very nice to him.
“Woody grew up in Lebanon, so we talked about going to schools around here and how Lebanon and Tecumseh used to play each other,” says Greear, who played basketball in high school, then attended Indiana Wesleyan and Edison Community College in Piqua. For three years, he worked as an ActiveDayton.com Party Crashers, passing out free promotional items at parties around town.
He took advantage of their lunch to ask Harrelson’s advice about moving to Los Angeles.
“He advised me to stay here because I’m getting good roles,” Greear says. “He said production companies are now filming everywhere but L.A. because Los Angeles is so expensive.”
Greear, the son of Debbie and Jim Greear of New Carlisle, says his family members, including his brother Justin, have been 100 percent supportive of his acting career.
“They thought I was a big movie star when I was doing some local projects, ” he says. “Not only is my dream coming true but theirs is as well.”
His future plans? To keep auditioning.
“I’m loving every second of it,” Greear says. “I wish I could do it every day.”