A Letter From a Celebrity Actor to His Hometown.
Hello! It’s been a while, hasn’t it, fine people of Wilsonville? Before I get started on singing your praises as a cute little place to be from, I want to explain why I haven’t been back since high school.
Most importantly, my parents moved back to New Jersey. That should explain most of it right there. They say now that it may have been a mistake to move the family to Wilsonville in the first place, but I’ve learned over time that no choice is the wrong choice, no matter how bad it looks from the outside, because it leads you to the next path in life. I try not to think about what life might have been like had I grown up somewhere more cosmopolitan or closer in proximity to what I now consider “civilization.” I instead, celebrate being from Anytown, USA, as it made me who I am today.
Secondly, I want to be clear that I did try to get back to Wilsonville, shortly after I starred in “Ninja Hamster” after college, but things didn’t quite work out. See, “Ninja Hamster” was a kids’ movie, but I was no kid. I may have looked 16 but I was actually 24 years old. And while working with Wilsonville’s elected officials, we didn’t quite see eye-to-eye on the charity event we were trying to organize. Besides the fact that I wanted an open bar (it was a party after all) and they wanted a crappy picnic in Bill MacAbee park, there was also an issue of money. They didn’t seem to think the folks in Wilsonville had $500 a head to give towards a good cause. I guess they thought Wilsonville was filled with a bunch of selfish, poor hicks.
Well I disagreed and the trip back “home” was canceled. So now, six years later, I’m writing to let you know that I still love you, Wilsonville.
Let me first give a big shout out to all the teenagers and kids looking up to me in Wilsonville. Yes, it’s true, I was once exactly like you. I was miserable. Stuck in a small-minded place filled with small-minded people. But I clung to my dream of getting out and becoming somebody. And look at me now. I believe it was during the press junket for the sci-fi thriller “The End of Space” when the waiter at this fancy hotel ran to McDonald’s to get me a Big Mac cause there was nothing on the menu I liked that I realized that I made it. So to all you Wilsonville kids out there, be you trailer trash, white trash, poor white trash, or project kid, I just want to say, it is possible to get out and make something of yourself.
Next, to the regular folk. The dentist, the fireman, the mayor, heck, even the schoolteachers, I want to say that your hometown hero has not forgotten his roots. Wilsonville is my home and it’s a wonderful little place. I moved there when I was 12 years old, attended Bison-Madison Middle School, then on to Cowpike High School, where I was heavy into drama (and girls!). I wouldn’t trade my coming-of-age in Wilsonville for anything. In fact, while playing the title role in the coming-of-age independent film, “The Redneck Poet,” I pulled from my experience growing up in “Dub-ville” quite heavily.
I don’t know if Wilsonville has gotten a good movie theater yet that shows “indie” films, but if it has, maybe some of you have seen “The Redneck Poet.” In that film, I play the son of an abusive father and an alcoholic mother who sleeps with his sister and dreams of running away. At the end of the film (spoiler alert!) he does run away. It’s very triumphant and I urge you all to Netflix it, those of you who know what Netflix is. Anyway, without my teenage years being spent alone on Friday nights while the kids with fishhooks in their hats went “cruising” and the slutty girls only seemed interested in guys with big trucks (I’m talking to you Misty Dawn – oh yes I went there!), I may not have been able to find the kind of misery that “Pete” felt deep inside. So even in my art I am constantly paying homage to Wilsonville.
Now, after wrapping principal photography (sorry for the industry jargon) for “Ninja Hamster 2, Enter the Cage,” I am open to the idea of a hometown hoo-rah once more. After years in L.A., I’ve come to realize that “everybody’s gotta be from somewhere,” and me – I’m from Wilsonville and proud of it. So write to your mayor, your city planner, or whoever makes the decisions down there in Who-ville, and tell him that you want to have a party. A celebration of someone from Wilsonville who made something of himself and is willing to give a little something back.
So please don’t think that I’ve forgotten where I come from. I always like to think there’s a plaque with my name on it somewhere at Cowpike High, probably in the drama room, and some kid is staring up at it wondering if he too can get out and make something of himself in Hollywood or New York City. Yes you can, young me, yes you can.
Your Hometown Hero,