Jesse Hutch – A Real Life Super Hero
More from Jesse Hutch’s Magazine Article in Cut Frame Magazine’s May Issue 2021
Check out the first part here
Not easy. How do you get over your nerves when that hits?
Maybe getting over them is not the right wording. Accepting them and learning to still perform without letting the nerves drive you. We all have emotions, they can be real ,it doesn’t necessarily mean they are true. I mean some of the actors I’ve seen at screen-tests I see and think wow they’ve done more than me. It’s just me figuring out what I need to work through personally .
It’s fantastic, an amazing journey. Before acting I rarely stayed at a job for more than two to three years except for being a white water raft guide which I did for five years before I pursued acting. At times I’ve had to have part time jobs. That was my “split personality”’ job where you’re really pursuing this but you’ve got to do this to put food on the table. And as my wife and I got married and had children, those priorities shift.
How do you manage to balance your career and family life?
My wife is amazing. (His energy changes, you can see the love for his wife emanating from him) I’m very blessed to have a woman in my life who, if somehow my feet are coming off the ground or my head is getting swollen, she’s there. We are a good team. She’s my best friend, always there through prayer and practicality. That’s amazing to have that. She also does not work in the business so for us that’s really great. My children are amazing (he glances with glazed eyes to the left of him. Later I discover his wife and daughter are actually in his office with him during the interview.) I live for them, I don’t live for my career. A lot of times we are asked “What do you do for a living”? Our initial response is what we do for work and I think our initial response should be who we live for.
So if you ask me what I do for a living I’ll say, well I’m married and I’m a father and I’m a son, and I’m a brother and I’m a stranger or neighbor. Those things are more important than my job. Now I’m not undermining my job, I’m not saying that all that work that people are putting into these shows is not important, it’s really important, it’s everyone’s livelihood. There are so many people who are so amazing at what they do and I love being in the middle of that as the actor. I’m literally in the middle of some of the most talented people in the business from directors to gaffers to camera operators to set dec and design to stunt coordinators to fight choreographers to other actors. And I stand there and I’m like wow I get to be a part of this and in Batwoman I get to be in Gotham. (Jesse breaks out into an endearing boyish laugh)
What’s your advice to any actors who want to be in this Industry?
Work on yourself and find out what you believe because if you don’t know what you believe, this business will try and tell you what you believe. They’ll try and tell you who you should be, what characters you should play, how much clothing should you take off. It’s important for you to draw some lines in the sand. Some are obvious and you can do that ahead of time, some you have to set boundaries as you go because this is also a business you don’t know what to expect.
As an example, I was in an audition once and they said “We have this other character you’d be great for. “ And they said “Will you do a make out scene with a horse?” And I’m like “Erm a fake horse?” And they’re like “It would be a mixture of a real horse and a fake horse.” And I said “ I don’t know, I’d need to read the script. I’m having trouble racking my head around what this is or why it is.” Ultimately I called my agent and said “No thanks just say I’m busy or sick or something.”( He roars with laughter}
That doesn’t sound like a film I’d like to watch either.
No. But as an actor I never imagined I’d have to say, well what are the things I won’t do? Well, I won’t make out with a horse.
How do you feel about doing sex scenes?
It’s not something I want to do, nor am I interested in, nor do I pursue. Freddy Vs Jason was the closest I’ve ever experienced that. It wasn’t nudity or anything. It was early in my career and very hard for me and stressful and I didn’t know how to navigate that. Though it helped me shape from that point on what I would do or wouldn’t do in my career in the future. That helped me to say no, not interested at all. I’m thankful because in a lot of the Christmas movies or rom coms I do there’s usually romance in it and it’s usually just one kiss under the mistletoe with the snow falling. So that we can navigate. Now I know there are certain stories people want to tell and I have to realize I’m not the actor to tell that piece of it. I have projects where I’ve asked “Is it possible to take that one scene out? Or replace it with something not so intense?” Sometimes they’ve been open to that discussion , many have not. They say no it has to be in there. I say, totally fair you got to make your movie, I’m just not the guy for it.
I saw the Wolf Of Wall Street, it’s based on this guy’s life, it’s insane, crazy. I wouldn’t be able to do what Di Caprio did. And I need to know that. Maybe I won’t ever be as good an actor as Di Caprio, I don’t know, all I know is I need to be the actor I feel I should be.
I love that. You’re also a writer, director and producer. You recently did a short film called Ghost of Europe, a World War II film, won the best International Film at 168 Film Festival Los Angeles. What attracted you to that film, that genre?
World War II is one of my favorites. I actually did compete in another contest where you have to do your favorite movie in 60 seconds so I actually did Saving Private Ryan in Sixty Seconds. (he laughs) You can see it on YouTube. A couple of years after that I did this project which we actually do have a full feature script for. Tom Hanks has done an amazing job on his movies, he’s also produced. I would love to be a part of something like that because it’s such a unique interesting time.
Directing is one of my passions and I’m slowly increasing my resume in that area but I’m in this for the long haul, I’m willing to take the time. I feel that being in front of camera has allowed me to, through osmosis, take in a lot of knowledge. I want to now be behind the camera to help tell a story. You got to take the opportunity yourself.
Like with ”Fox and Hunter”that you’re looking for potential partners for. Tell us more about that?
Me and my business partner were siting around and thinking “What do we want to do more of? Action and comedy. Done! For about seven or eight years we’’ve been writing and developing and we’ve come up with a proof of concept for a series we think is fun for people to watch, it’s not heavy but it has nostalgia, it’s got music, that can draw in a lot of different people. It has characters that everyone wants to hang out with and yet its grounded, real yet it rides the fine line of life which I think can be humorous in the most serious moments. It’s kinda similar to the original Lethal Weapon with Mel Gibson.
What’s your character like? What character have you given yourself?
He’s similar to aspects of my real life. He’s married, he’s a father, he has three kids but he pursues “the bad guy” like he has nothing to lose. He always want to encourage others at the most odd time, like in the middle of a shoot out, he’s saying “Oh you’re doing a good job, you’re doing great right now.” He always wants to have fun even though it’s high stakes and dangerous. (big laughter)
That sound like fun. I’d love to watch that in the future. So Jesse, which actors do you admire?
Ooh that’s ’s hard. Different people for different reasons. (ponders a while) Bryan Cranston. Denzel Washington. Hugh Jackman, to see him do a musical and then action, he’s so well rounded. Arrgh! Julia Roberts has had so many good films. I’m just like“Whoah.”
You’d love to work with all of these actors one day? And probably will.
I would! Mark Wahlberg, I think we’d have some fun. Ryan Reynolds I think would be a blast to work with. There are so many. I had the opportunity to meet Keanu Reeves on a flight once. He was such a grounded awesome dude, we had a great talk. I was sitting in the same row as him. I was working on an NBC series then called American Dreams. As soon as we got off the flight, we were flooded with photographers and he was so chill about it and it helped me stay calm cos I thought people were shooting guns, the flashes were like (Jesse gets animated and does an impression of the paparazzi flashes) It freaked me right out. (laughter) But especially after seeing movies like John Wick , The Matrix, his dedication to just learning something and doing it. Same with Tom Cruise he’s done a bunch of films in locations no one has ever been in, he trains hard, brings these characters to life. So personally as an actor who has done stunts and is driven by action too, I like that because I would like to bring to the table as much as I can for everyone involved in the project.
Wonderful. Talking of airplanes tell us about the first time you were on an airplane?
I was twenty years old, I flew from the east coast to west coast for my first ever official audition in an actual audition room. I auditioned for Coreen Mayrs and Heike Brandstatter (big casting directors) in Vancouver BC for Dark Angel (he beams) which was James Cameron with Jessica Alba. I ended up moving to Vancouver to start my career. So the second time I flew here I lived in a hostel for two weeks because I didn’t know anyone here, or where to live. It was funny I got off of the airplane, got a cab to the hostel and there was a dude puking outside because there was a bar right there, it’s just finished raining, there’s a bunch of guys fighting on a patio, it was three in the morning, I was like “Okay, so here I am.“ (Jesse gives me an incredulous but matter of fact look.)
I love that story. What would you like to be remembered for in your life Jesse?
Hopefully the people’s lives I’ve touched would be more an experience left behind, than the memory of me. Faith is very important to me and I think my life is not necessarily just for me, it includes others and obviously that includes my wife, my children and my family and my neighbors. And I’m constantly being challenged as to how to love them more. Do I get it right? Not all the time. (At this point Jesse looks to his left when I discover his wife and young daughter are actually sitting in the room with him. He tenderly says “I love you too” to his daughter and waves. He is completely present in the love flowing between them. This is such a touching heartfelt moment, it makes me want to tear up. Seeing Jesse in “daddy” mode is so beautiful.)
That’s being human.
He wraps his arm around his daughter guiding her to the zoom screen saying “Do you want to come and say hi? “ His daughter waves shyly at me. I melt as anyone of us would.
“This is my wife and daughter, just taking off. “
His eyes light up with happiness.
If you could have dinner with any five actors or directors who would they be?
Ooh. Wow, that’s a good one. I wouldn’t mind sitting with Christopher Nolan. He’s not a director or actor but Hans Zimmer. Matthew McConaughey. I’d like to sit and talk with Tom Cruise not just about acting but life. I think Keanu Reeves would actually be good, I don’t know him personally but from what I’ve seen or read, though take that with a pinch of salt, he’s been through a lot. I would really enjoy to just talk about life. What have these people experienced?
Are these also people you’d like to work with in the future?
I would. Mel Gibson would be interesting to talk with. Braveheart. Gladiator, The Dark Knight. These are movies that have stuck out for me that I saw in the movie theater. The Passion of The Christ. Movies that have messed with me somehow or impressed me or got me excited, whether it was the action or the music or editing or location, or just the story. I really love sitting and not judging someone’s art, but just “okay take me on a journey, I’m just gonna sit and chill.”There’s still parts of me who wants to figure out how to edit that, wow that was a cool shot but I try to ignore that the first time and just go on the journey.
For career I would definitely like to keep building towards working with people who have way more experience than me. I want to be challenged more.I would like todo more faith based films and tha’s potentially what this project in Utah would be. It would kinda be like a 300 version of that, there’s some cool action and it’s going to be brutal at times.
I notice you’re not afraid of that. You’ve done so much stunt work. How did that start?
Even at college and me as a person I was white water rafting, kayaking, ice climbing, free climbing, survival training. In my first job Dark Angel I got to do some fight scenes, action based. When I got to meet my first roommate Chad, a stunt performer who I was roommate with for six years, I was training at gymnastics clubs a few times a week and still going to auditions. I loved it. I did a series with Steven Seagal called True Justice and I was doing fight scenes all the time. Always learning but had the ability to act, act, act and now fight. That’s been a phenomenal journey. If I can show up and be a well rounded performer that’s important.
I want to remove the walls for someone to not hire me. I want a ton of experience, a huge resume, “we can bring him on set and he’ll be ready.” If a producer or creative or director wants to hire Jesse Hutch, they’ll get someone who, I hope, has a good understanding of everyone’s job so I can respect everyone enough to do their job well and bring my experience to the table so that they can operate quickly and smoothly.
Jesse, as we wind up now, is there anything you’d like to add like what’s something about you that not many people know?
When I was twenty years old I drowned. When I was white water rafting. (Jesse can see I look shocked. ) That’s an experience that helped shape me in many ways and still does to this day. I was at the wrong place at the right time, me just getting pulled out of the raft, I was at the right section of the river, the current was just perfect that day and basically it sent me about fifteen to twenty five feet beneath the surface and kept me there for some time to the point where I experienced some of the scariest moments and also some of the most peaceful moments going through the process of drowning.
You go through the logical, the emotional and the physical and when all that is shut down, you’re left, I think, with the spiritual. I eventually floated to the surface, the river was done with me. They found me and started pounding my chest and apparently I started puking water out and think was airlifted to the hospital. Then I was put into a pressure chamber where they had to find out the depth I went to and bring my eardrums back.
So after that experience, that just changed you and gave you something more to your life, a more spiritual side?
Yes. And one of the biggest hurdles that I had to overcome was that I was afraid of the water. After I was done healing I spoke to the river safety coordinator and I said I need to go back to that same rapid in my life jacket and helmet and I need to swim through it. And if I don’t do that I think I’ll be scared of the water for the rest of my life. So he said okay. So I went up this rock, ledge at this particular rapid called ‘the colosseum’ and at that very moment it was crazy, it got dark, the clouds covered the sun and I was like “What?! It was sunny a moment ago. “ (He smiles.) Again another minor hurdle, so I took a few minutes “I have to do this”and I walked off the edge of that cliff and dived into the water. When you see that fifteen foot wave that you can fit a Winnebago into, you just swim as hard as you can. (He does a frantic swimming motion) I remember the first wave, it was kinda freaky cos the last time I was in water I was under it and here I am again. “Please come up please come up.” Came up, boom, managed to grab some more air, boom third wave and he was down at the bottom, pulls me in and he didn’t even say anything to me, he just held my hand , pulled me up and we shook hands and we sat in silence as he drove me back to shore. I just sat there and was in shock for a bit. II was like ” I did that and survived.“
There’s a lesson there, that can be applied to many things. If you get put down, pushed around, whatever your situation is, go through it. Because I think when you go through the hard things in life, whatever that may be for you, you will come out the other side with something that’s more positive , have more strength. I think that’s important because if you don’t do hard things, you won’t change.
And then you appreciate things even more.
Yes. A thankful heart should always be pursued, that’s important. Maybe for some it comes naturally but from what I’ve experienced it doesn’t. We can be very selfish beings, oh I didn’t get asleep last night, oh I’m hungry, I want that job, why does that person have that job? Instead you’ve got to catch those thoughts, take them captive, shift it and change it up. Which is why I think you need to live for other people because if you’re only living for your own dreams all the time, it’s all you live and breath.. you’re going to kill it, strangle it out. (He uses his hands to illustrate.) Because you’re like, I need it, I want it, you know. Your hands are so tight around it, you don’t have room to give or room to receive. I think you need to have open hands so that things can be given and things taken away.
That’s really beautiful. Thank you for that. Everyone reading will be so inspired by this. Jesse It’s been amazing interviewing you. So powerful. We are lucky to have you in the Industry and this world. For people to see who you are as a person, that will help others too, I believe. So thank you! Any final words Jesse?
I always say laughter is the best multivitamin so take lots of it. And on my Instagram I like to say “see you out there” because in a way it’s a small world. I might get to meet you in person one day or someone else who reads this.
See you out there Jesse. Something tells me we are going to see a whole lot more of Jesse on our screens in our future. Watch out Tom Cruise and Hugh Jackman!
Follow Jesse Hutch
Fox and Hunter – Proof of concept: Vimeo
Jesse Hutch – Directors Reel – 2020: Vimeo
Love, Bubbles & Crystal Cove Trailer
Video Showcase (acting-stunts-motion capture reels): Vimeo
Batwoman on The CW: About on The CW
— The first half in our May 2021 issue of Cut Frame Magazine. —