By Colin Foster
Jason Greear is an actor who is making a name for himself in an unlikely place.
During his short time as an actor, Greear — a 2001 Tecumseh High School graduate who still resides in the Dayton area — has found work in commercials, television series, independent films and shorts. But recently, Greear got the chance to work with some of the best actors in the business, playing an undercover cop in the film “Out of the Furnace,” which opens in theaters today.
The film boasts a collection of well-known talent, such as Christian Bale, Casey Affleck, Dendrie Taylor, Zoe Saldana, Sam Shepard, Forest Whitaker, Willem Dafoe and Woody Harrelson, and is directed by Scott Cooper, writer and director of the critically acclaimed film “Crazy Heart.”
“There are seven A-listers in the movie, so for me to even have speaking lines in it is just great,” Greear said. “There’s quite a few scenes where the screen is just my face. I’m in it for 10 to 15 minutes. It’s a blessing to be in a movie with that many A-listers in it.
“There is Academy Award talk already, all kinds of talk about it winning multiple awards. Just to have a part in something like that is awesome.”
Had it not been for a flood six years ago in Huber Heights, Greear’s acting career may have never taken off.
“Getting into acting was kind of a fluke,” Greear said. “I bought a house in Huber about six years ago. Two weeks after, there was a flood, so I hired a local company to do some restoration.
“At the end of the week, the owners came up to me and said they were doing some promotional work to help market their company and asked if I would be interested.”
He agreed and was a natural once he stepped on set.
Greear thought he would just be giving a personal testimonial of the service he received from Dragon Restoration. But when he arrived, the director of the commercial gave him lines and told him he had about an hour to rehearse. To the crew’s surprise, Greear came out and said he was ready to go after 10 minutes of rehearsal.
“I nailed the first take — word-for-word, the whole thing,” he said. “The director came up to me and said it was ‘absolutely perfect.’” … then the director proceeded to ask Greear for another take because the cameras weren’t even rolling.
Greear, whose family still resides in New Carlisle, got the acting bug following that and managed to find work in indie films and shorts. As his full-time job, he worked in the carpentry business, which allowed him to travel to 48 different states in a five-year span.
Greear found representation with PCG Talent, an agency out of Cincinnati, after doing a few indies. Signing with PCG allowed Greear to book auditions for bigger commercial roles. He landed parts in commercials for Belterra Casino, a few Dayton-area law firms and one for DP&L.
“After doing a few of those, they started letting me audition for smaller roles,” he said.
In 2011, Greear appeared in “Camel Spiders,” a made-for-television horror sci-fi film. Then in 2012, Greear scored a role in the ABC television series “Final Witness.” On Tuesday, Greear finalized a deal to play the lead role in “Robot/Girlfriend.” Jacqui Holland – known for roles in “How I Met Your Mother,” “Workaholics,” and “My Best Friend’s Girl” — will star opposite of Greear in the film. Greear said he is also slated to play the lead in a Civil War film titled “Free” in the future.
For now, though, Greear is just enjoying the moment.
This week, Greear drove up to Pittsburgh with his girlfriend for the premiere of “Out of the Furnace.” During the filming process, the actor from New Carlisle got the opportunity to pick the brain of another actor from Ohio — Woody Harrelson, who told Greear to keep doing what he was doing.
“We were talking over lunch one day,” Greear said. “He’s actually from Lebanon, so we hit it off pretty well. I was talking to him about how I was thinking about moving to L.A., and he said ‘why would you do that when you’re getting the roles you are now living here?’”
The Miami Valley may be an unlikely place for an actor, but Greear seems to be making it work.
Woody Harrelson agrees.