Jeff Bosley is an actor and a self-admitted “theater geek” who also served as an Army Green Beret and a firefighter before turning to Movies and television full time. Born in Colorado, Jeff grew up in Idaho where he enjoyed playing soccer and ended up playing in Holland. Since childhood, he has also explored sports as diverse as steer wrestling at rodeos, football, scuba diving, and martial arts.

In his college years, Jeff focused on the studies of health and medicine but his love of acting won out, and he started working in many theater productions.

After September 11, 2001, he joined the Army and worked as a medic in the Special Forces. He is now out of the service and working as an actor in both independent film projects and fully funded endeavors.

Jeff recently discussed his experiences as an actor, a Green Beret, a firefighter, and more via an exclusive interview.

Firefighting, the Army, and characters

Meagan Meehan (MM): You initially studied medicine and health, so how did acting end up winning out over that?

Jeff Bosley (JB): I was raised around academia; you went to high school, then college, then a specialty school and then worked in that field until you retired.

The majority of the people in my family practiced some sort of medicine, so health/fitness/medicine was just what I was around and became interested in. It just “made sense” to follow that influence.

Playing pretend has always been in my blood. I’ve known since I was a child that I wanted to play pretend as long as I lived, but the practical upbringing countered that most of my life. I was raised to be in charge of my own destiny and acting isn’t exactly a guaranteed success story for anyone.

So, that practical side won me over and dictated many of my future passionate choices.

Eventually, after my military career as a Green Beret ended and my firefighter career was beginning, I had a moment of realization…I had just gone through a pretty heinous and drastic financially-altering divorce and got to the point I had nothing to lose. Shortly after that, I heard a Jim Carey (the ‘JC' in one of my tattoos) commencement speech where he quoted (his father I believe) a line referencing not living a life of fear disguised as practicality.

That hit me so hard that I finally decided to go for it; to give away and/or sell all I had left and finally quit being afraid and chase the childhood dream.

MM: You also served time in the Army as a medic, how did those experiences influence your creative work, if at all?

JB: As an Army Special Forces Green Beret I was given skills and experiences that are hard to do justice in a few short words. But, what I can summarize is that job and experience provided me with perspective and drive unlike anything I could have predicted or consciously manufactured. Green Berets serve as traditional trigger-pullers and rapport-builders to alliance-builders and everything in between.

Living in those extreme spectrums of the human condition, especially the human condition amongst war, truly provides perspective and a literal awareness of what it is truly like to have one’s life at risk.

That experience of life to the extremes gives me ethos, the empathy, in all I do. Every character can be connected to every being on the planet at some level. My previous career tapped significantly deeper into many human emotions that other individuals may ever experience. Those extremes allow a creative process I never could have embarked on and resultant characters I never could have created had I not served as a Green Beret.

MM: You also worked as a firefighter, so how did you get into that?

JB: As I was discharging (honorably) from the military I knew I needed camaraderie. I needed a similar template of my Special Forces ODA (the operational unit of Green Berets; the “team”) life, and I knew from my time as a volunteer firefighter in college that this would satisfy those needs. So, as I was discharging, I tested, passed and began my training at the Fire Academy. To be honest, though, it was another practical step in what I now consider fear-based comfortable decisions.

MM: What characters do you most enjoy playing and/or aspire to play and why?

JB: There are two sides to that answer; one side considering the answer free of the business aspect of my career and the other side that must consider the business aspect of my career.

The shortest answer considers the business aspect. In short, I enjoy the characters that get me the most work. I LOVE acting, but I also need it to take care of my family and myself. So, I aspire to work as much as possible while still being true to my creative pursuits and passion…which leads me to the non-business considering aspect of that answer…Without regard for good business decisions or roles that “guarantee” work, I enjoy most playing characters that make audiences lean forward (literally OR figuratively) in their chair because they are spellbound.

That could come in the form of a super hero, a serial killer, a lover or anything in between. I love characters that grab people. With that being said…I certainly enjoy the characters that “aren’t me” so to speak. I like the bad guys or the characters whose intentions aren’t as clear. Those characters aren’t me, per se, so it takes more work and effort to create those characters and to build their life without judgment, because despite their flaws and evil plot devices, they don’t judge themselves. They feel what they are doing is right and finding that justification in characters I’m not inherently like is pure joy when creating a believable character.

Shows, projects, and goals

MM: What movies or shows are you working on now and what most excites you about them?

JB: Currently I’m in post-production for several films. The biggest is ‘Take Point’ with Kevin Durand. I’m most excited about it because it is, to date, the truest big-budget film experience I’ve had the honor to be a part of. It is a great movie with a great script, and it is supported by a great budget that allowed the action hero kid in me to play to my fullest realization. Having that kind of budget to fully build a world, a movie, truly tapped into that “why I want to do this” part of my brain.

Also in post-production is ‘Backseat’ where I had scenes and worked with Christian Bale which marks a big goal of working on a giant budget film with intensely hard-working actors. Mr. Bale is very intense and focused, and it was great to be around that. A newbie can learn a lot. Also having that film backed by Adam McKay and Brad Pitt doesn’t hurt either.

Lastly is the passion project. ‘Reaper: Chapter One’ was my last big indie film before I made the jump to Los Angeles. It rivals the complexity of ‘The Matrix’ and the epic coverage of ‘The Lord of the Rings’ Trilogy. It is genius and a brilliant work of filmmaking art.

I especially love it because as the lead character I was able to really, really delve into the character and “live realistically in imagined circumstances” which is really important when acting in a drama with science fiction plot devices. I’ve even gone back to Colorado for extra scenes and voiceover work for the film as it nears completion. I am very much in love with it.

MM: You work on many indie projects so how do they differ from fully-budgeted projects?

JB: As my career progress and priorities change, so do the projects I look at. Often indie film decisions are quickly made because often they aren’t a union project, which prevents me from working on them.

However, that doesn’t mean I do not frequently look at indie scripts because, again, I LOVE acting.

Obviously, the budget and the freedoms to create with that budget come more readily with big budget films. So that freedom to fund a fully realized vision is great in that a lot of visions truly require money to make them happen. The latest box-office destroyer comic book movies could not have been made with small indie budgets.

However, indie budgets, with their handicaps, find ways to “fund” the film in other ways via outside-of-the-box creativity and problem-solving. Passion and love are often the things that fund those films.

‘Reaper: Chapter One’ is a perfect example. When I get the opportunity to participate in wonderful scripts backed by seemingly equally passionate filmmakers…I jump at the opportunities…oftentimes forgetting to even look at the rate of pay for the actor. That’s how I know I love acting.

MM: So, Jeff, what are your most ambitious goals for your future as an actor?

JB: I want to makes movies purely based on the joy of the job. That doesn’t mean I am driven by aspirations of fame & fortune. It means the level of actor I want to achieve often comes with fame & fortune...BUT with that fame and fortune, freedom to act and give back would then be an option. To be able to take that proverbial sigh of “I’ve made it” relief can’t be explained. And to then be able to take that success and work on anything I want to, anything that allows me to help tell the stories I want to tell…that’s priceless. To be able to create art that gives audiences something that has a true impact on them…that is true artistic freedom. To have the financial ability to donate to struggling actors’ dreams and to help military causes…that is the “paying it back” I long for that will come with my giant, lofty and ambitious goals as an actor. If the inability to walk in public comes with that and I have to spend the rest of my life living my dream while having to do the red carpets and late-night talk shows…so be it.

As an actor I know I exist because of the audience. The audience is my boss and my relentless pursuit to perform a job in the filmmaking medium is a gift that I fight for day in and day out. I thank anyone who gives me any level of fuel to chase that dream. Interviews like this, social media fans and everything in between: I cherish them and truly value them as ripples in this great pursuit; I thank everyone for everything.

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