Jason Greear was thinking of his flooded home, not an acting career, when he was asked to read a script in a commercial for a local restoration company six years ago.
He still has trouble believing that call led to events like this Friday, when he’ll be featured on the big screen along with stars like Willem DaFoe and Woody Harrelson in, “Out of the Furnace.”
Greear, a 2001 Tecumseh High School graduate, plays an undercover detective in the film about a man searching for his missing brother in a small town in western Pennsylvania.
The film will be released nationally Friday, and in the meantime Greear has been tying to learn as much as possible from director Scott Cooper, as well as stars like Harrelson.
“I’m not a lead role, but I’m not an extra either,” Greear said.
Among his other projects, Greear has also earned roles on “Camel Spiders,” a science fiction film that was released nationally on DVD. He also had a role in, “Final Witness,” a true crime series produced by ABC Television.
A flooded home helped start his acting career. Dragon Restoration, a local company, helped restore his Huber Heights home after it was damaged. Afterward, the businesses’ owners asked if he’d be interested in acting in a commercial to promote the company. Although it was his first acting job, he memorized his lines so quickly that the director wasn’t ready.
“They didn’t even record the first time because they thought I was going to screw it up,” Greear said.
He soon caught on with Peter Condopoulos, an agent at PCG Talent in Cincinnati, and he began gaining roles in local commercials, among other jobs.
“He’s not a trained actor per se,” Condopoulos said. “He has a natural gift.”
Filming for, “Out of the Furnace” took place in Pennsylvania, and Greear tried to take advantage of his opportunity. He had lunch with Woody Harrelson, and the two talked about growing up in southern Ohio. Harrelson grew up in Lebanon.
Greear also sat down with the film’s director, trying to pick up any suggestions and tips he could about working in the industry.
“Just knowing that you’re working with these people who have worked on blockbusters makes you not only want to set a high bar for yourself, but make sure you give them what they want,” Greear said.
It’s not clear what the next step will be for Greear, who works as a carpenter to pay the bills while he pursues his acting career. Eventually, he said he’d like to land a role in a romantic comedy to try something new. At 6’2” and 220 pounds, most of his roles so far have involved him using a gun and swearing, he joked.
“That makes for a big bad guy or a big nice guy,” Greear said.
Greear was invited to the film’s premiere in Pennsylvania on Wednesday, but his family members said they plan to see the movie this weekend.
Jim Greear, his father, said friends often ask if his son took acting lessons, and it’s hard to believe how far he’s come in six years.
“I never dreamed six years ago that I’d be watching him on the big screen,” Jim Greear said of his son.