I met Clay Jeffries a number of years ago when he was a middle schooler at the tutorial where I taught. Even at that young age, his creative talents were obvious. Now that he’s a grown up college student with a number of credits to his name, I’m happy to see that he has retained his sweet and humble spirit.
When did you first develop an interest in acting?
When I was about seven years old, my mom took me to an audition for Alice in Wonderland with a traveling children’s theatre group. I didn’t know what I was getting into, but that show was the acting-bug that bit me. However, I developed my passion for acting in middle school.
What was your first role?
Six of Hearts in Alice in Wonderland.
What have been some of your favorite theatrical roles?
Mr. Tumnus in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, The King from The King and I, Poseidon in Metamorphoses, and Orville Maddox from Don’t Tell Mother!, because I got to work opposite one of my best friends: my younger sister, Claire.
When did you discover film acting?
In the summer before my eighth grade year, a family friend corralled me into being an extra for a very low-budget Christian film, Becoming Jesse Tate. It was fun, and gave me the opportunity to work on a short film within the year.
What films/tv shows have you been a part of?
I’ve worked on about seven episodes of ABC’s drama Nashville, and I’m currently filming both parts of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay in Atlanta. I also filmed a few scenes for an independent Robin Williams movie, Boulevard, without knowing much about the plot- which will not remotely uplift or glorify God. Although there wasn’t anything inappropriate in the scenes I was in, I do not recommend this movie.
Which do you prefer – theater or film/tv? Why?
I’ve done about three plays/musicals a year, every year, and am ready to give theatre a break. I’ve been involved in a few disorganized productions where I haven’t had my props, lighting, or set pieces until I’m live in front of an audience, and that stress just really burned me out. That’s why I prefer film right now- there’s really no stress. When I’m in a film scene, I can speak at a normal volume, use natural hand gestures, and most importantly not have to worry about disappointing an audience. I also love the waiting time from filming to premiere; it gives me something exciting to look forward to.
What would be your dream role?
My dream theatre role may be Harold Hill from The Music Man – I love the story and his charisma. My dream film role is anything that would require me to gain at least fifty pounds- I would have the time of my life preparing for it!!
What are your plans for the future?
Finish college! I’m a freshman at the University of Tennessee Knoxville majoring in Secondary Education for English. I hate putting acting on the back burner, but right now I feel like this is where God wants me. Just last week I told my mom that it would be so easy to put school on hold and move to Atlanta, but I know that God has me here for a reason.
Over the past half-year or so, I have truly begun listening to what God wants me to do, and have distinguished it from what I want. It’s easy to book a job, but I’ve been praying that God would use me as His instrument, and that He would help me shine a light in a dark place. clayjeffries.com