“My first night of shooting was pretty hard. It was past midnight, and in Canada it’s very, very cold,” actor Jacob Brown tells Clare Kennedy
Many children say they want to be a movie star. But for one Perth-based youngster that dream is within reach. Jacob, 14, has just returned from Canada where he was given the opportunity to play his first major acting role in a feature film.
The Pineville Heist directed by British-Canadian director Lee Chambers is about two young teens who witness a murder in the forest outside their town and have to stop a psychopath from killing their teacher. Jacob plays a supporting role in the intense action drama expected to be released in 2015.
Rehearsals began in June, the day after Jacob and his mum arrived on set in Thunder Bay, Ontario, where set designers had transformed a dilapidated school building into a glamorous set piece. Only then did it sink in that he was in a big budget feature film, Jacob says.
“My first night of shooting was pretty hard. It was past midnight, and in Canada it’s very, very cold. Between takes everyone was huddled up in blankets and jackets. They said, ‘You’ve got to sleep, so go in the ambulance where it’s warm.’ That’s when it sunk in that it wasn’t going to be a cakewalk. But I didn’t care, I loved it and it was great fun,” he says.
Learning lines comes relatively easy to this bright spark who has taken acting classes since he was 10. “I don’t have a special trick or anything. My acting teachers say to write the lines down with your left hand and your right hand, do it again and again and pin them up. But I just read and learn them. That works for me,” he says. “When I’ve finished, I put the script down because if it’s over-rehearsed it doesn’t look natural.”
Being a minor, Jacob is always accompanied on set by his greatest supporter, his mum, Liz Brown. “It made me feel a lot more comfortable because I knew there was someone there I could really trust. If I needed to say something I’d always tell Mum first,” he says. Liz interjects: “We’re a team!”
In April prior to the filming of The Pineville Heist Jacob had met with managers and agents and taken acting classes in Los Angeles. “That schedule had been planned before we knew he’d won the role, so it was all rather good timing”, Liz explains.
Unfortunately, the acting gig didn’t completely absolve Jacob from schoolwork. Some teachers assigned projects to be completed during his month away. “I just wanted to get it all done in the first week so I could have the rest of the time filming and having fun. Most of my teachers were nice and said to just read up on some things. But there were some who weren’t quite as lenient and said, ‘Just do it!’ which I wasn’t rapt about”, he confesses.
Jacob performed in his first film at 11 – a student project, in which he played the somewhat intense role of a child strapped into an electric chair. The students received top marks for the film, an encouraging sign for the budding actor. Since then Jacob has won something like 16 roles across film and television including appearances in feature film Paper Planes and award-winning TV documentary Yagan.
Of course, the acting life isn’t all lemonade and skittles. Even this young actor has had to make sacrifices. “You do miss out on some things. At the time it’s sad, like realising you’re not going to a friend’s party.” But in the end, it’s all worth it when you see the end result of the film, he says.
Jacob is intent on a professional acting career and is inspired by the work of acting stars Johnny Depp, Hugh Jackman and Heath Ledger. He holds big dreams for the future. “I want to be in some big films and be an actor for the rest of my life,” he says passionately.
Jacob Brown is a member of Media Super.
All images supplied.