In Hollywood, it would be tough for even the most seasoned actor to ever get the opportunity to share screen time with stars such as Will Smith, Charlize Theron, and Sandra Bullock. For Texas native Jae Head, it all happened before his 13th birthday.
Jae, 13, who lives in the Hill Country town of Goldthwaite, Texas, started his career in the entertainment industry in 2005 when he was featured in one episode of the CBS comedy series “How I Met Your Mother.” Jae got a break when he landed a role on the NBC show “Friday Night Lights.” Creator Peter Berg then cast him in his 2008 superhero movie “Hancock” opposite Smith and Theron.
In his most recent film, “The Blind Side,” which was just released on DVD March 23, Jae plays S.J. Tuohy, the son of Sean and Leigh Anne (Tim McGraw and Bullock). Based on a true story, “The Blind Side” follows the Tuohy family as they open their hearts and home to an at-risk teenager named Michael Oher (Quinton Aaron). Oher is currently an NFL football player for the Baltimore Ravens.
“It was so much fun to film ‘The Blind Side,’” Jae told me during a phone interview. “I’m really happy for Sandra.” Bullock, who had won a Golden Globe for her role at the time of this interview, also earned an Academy Award for her portrayal of the no-nonsense matriarch of her Southern family.
As S.J., Jae says shooting a movie like “The Blind Side” was a dream come true .
“I always wanted to be in a football movie,” said Jae, who names the Philadelphia Eagles as his favorite pro team. “Football is my favorite sport.”
Despite his love for the game, football was not something Jae was destined to play. Born with a severe heart defect, Jae’s physical activities have been limited his entire life.
“That made it hard for me to play sports,” Jae said. “I couldn’t play on a team or in a league because I can’t do all the same stuff other kids can.”
When his father, who is a football coach at the local high school, heard a radio commercial for a talent search, acting became the creative outlet Jae was looking for.
“It was hard because my dad was a quarterback, his brother was a quarterback, and their dad was a quarterback,” Jae said. “When I got into acting, it kind of took the place of football. I still wish sometimes that I could play.”
When Jae learned about the audition for “The Blind Side,” it was like the next best thing.
“They were really looking for a small energetic kid and I got the part,” Jae said. “I was able to be around all these football players.”
While it’s been an exciting past five years working in L.A., Jae says he enjoys his small-town life where everyone knows each other and it’s safe to walk to a friend’s house one street away. The only thing he could do without is when people sometimes treat him differently because of his success as an actor.
“Sometimes I wish I was in a big city,” Jae said. “Sometimes when I go to the grocery store with my mom the lady at the checkout counter will say, ‘Hey Mr. Movie Star,’ but I just want to be Jae when I’m home.”
In the future, Jae said he might think about moving to L.A. like most actors, but not anytime soon.
“I might do that when I’m grown up and have my own wife and kids,” Jae said. “But I like it here with my parents.”