The nice thing about Facebook is being able to catch up with old friends like actor Jeff Joslin. I graduated from Farragut High School, and despite the hundreds of folks in my graduating class, I am in touch with many of them today.
Jeff Joslin is one of the busiest and most interesting folks I know.
I had a great phone call interview with Jeff recently, and it was fun to catch up with him. He has a long and colorful resume, and since 2005 he has been a model and actor and worked with some Hollywood greats like Steve Martin, Richard Gere, and Matt Damon.
My first memory of Jeff is in fourth grade. He was SO cute with his aviator glasses back then! He was in Mrs. Gilbreath’s Boy’s Choir at school. They wore white shirts and these little green felt vests, and they sang like angels.
Throughout middle school and high school in Knoxville, Jeff was the Football Star, the quarterback. He was smart, though - no dumb jock - and he was always pleasant. He led championship football teams at Farragut and in college at Carson Newman, a small Baptist college in East Tennessee.
Jeff has a strong faith in God and he’s not shy about talking about it, but he doesn’t hit you over the head with it, either. He personifies the label “Nice guy,” but there’s a lot more to Jeff than that cliché.
I asked Jeff to catch me up on his life after he finished Carson Newman. After playing football in Canada for a few years, Jeff worked for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes [FCA], and in the financial services industry.
In 2005, Jeff faced a crossroads in life. He was laid off from FCA and he got divorced. He and his wife had 3 sons.
“It was December 2005 when I kind of jumped into it [the entertainment industry] full time. I was really creative when I worked for FCA and I started working with some stunt guys and it got me interested from that perspective. It didn’t materialize, though, until I got laid off from sales in ‘05. The guy doing my hair had done hair for a lot of actors, and he told me about going to auditions. I saw it was an industry I thought I should try. I got agents in Charlotte NC, Nashville and Atlanta. About 6 months later I moved to NY. I slept on a couch for a while.”
Before his acting career took off, Jeff supported himself as a model. He has always been a hottie.
“I did some modeling in the south, but it really took off in NYC. Sometimes my looks have hurt me because I have soap opera model looks.”
“There are basically three types of models: professional gorgeous folks, average guy/girl, and characters. Everybody has a look. Mine just happens to be the leading man/soap opera handsome type, but sometimes it’s actually hindered me. One photographer actually said to me, “Quit looking upscale.”
Acting and modeling are not his only talents. Jeff has done stunt work, stand-in work, produced films, written scripts, and even directed.
Besides leading man acting “There’s a lot I can do like supporting roles, stand-ins, voiceovers. Whatever pays the bills.”
Jeff lives in Los Angeles, but at the moment he’s working in the southeast.
I asked Jeff to tell me something surprising about a famous person he has worked with. “Alec Baldwin gets a lot of flack. I met him a few years ago on the set of 30 Rock, and we got along great. He was very nice. We threw a little football around between takes.”
“On that set there were 5 people that graduated from UT – that was surprising.”
He went on to talk some more about being an actor and his varied and fascinating experiences:
“Most actors are very nice. Richard Gere is very nice. We worked together in “Movie 43” – a quirky, crazy movie by the Coen Brothers.
I was Steve Martin’s hand double in “It's Complicated.” I was rolling croissants in the bakery because my hands look like his.
Working with Tyler Perry on Madea's Witness Protection was fun. He’s a very hard worker. I’ve never seen anything like it. One of the nicest guys I’ve ever met. He’s huge – 6’4 – a gentle giant like Reggie White.”
So I finally got around to asking him the Twenty Questions, and his answers are below.
- What is your full name? Jeffrey Scott Joslin
- Where would you live, if you could live anywhere in the world? Where my sons live. Currently two of them are in LA. One may be moving out there after fall semester. LA is a nice place but it’s pretty trendy and folks tend to be very vain. But it’s the heart of the industry.
- What is your favorite movie and why? I like Air Force One with Harrison Ford. It came out in the Clinton era and to me, I was thinking I wish we had a president like that who was tough on terrorism and would stay on a plane and fight. I also liked The Game, with Michael Douglas. I liked the storyline and how it played out.
- What was your least-favorite subject in school when you were a kid? Probably… Algebra. I haven’t really used it since school except perhaps when I was working in the financial industry years ago.
- What was your nickname when you were a kid? Double J – that was the one I kinda coined in high school. I had it on the license plate on my car. It was a 1976 cutlass supreme T top with white bucket seats.
- Do you believe in God? Yes I do. I have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and I consider myself a Christian.
- What sound or noise do you love? The wind in the trees in the forest. I do some hiking and I like to walk on the beach. When I first moved to LA I lived in Redondo Beach, about a block away from the water.
- If you could do anything other than what you do, as a profession, what would it be? I enjoy coaching football. I helped coach when my sons were small. I have played football since I was 6 years old. I also coached baseball and basketball.
- If heaven exists, what do you think it is like? Unconditional love, full acceptance, no more tears or pain. Peace and joy for eternity.
- Do you have siblings? I have one older sister, Jennie, three years older than I am.
- What is your favorite memory of childhood [something specific]? I have a lot of great memories. I loved playing with my friends in the woods. I lived in Powell when I was small and then we moved to West Knoxville.
- If you had to choose between one week traveling around the USA by car, or one week traveling around Europe on a train, which would you choose and why? I’ve been to almost every state in the US except some of the most northern states like the Dakotas. I think it might be fun to see Europe by train.
- What inspires you? People who have accomplished great things that nobody thought to – for instance one of my inspirations when I was college was Bob Weiland, who walked across the USA on his hands. He was a double amputee. He started in Califronia and 3.5 years later he wound up in DC. He’s biked across the US twice. Nobody’s ever done what he’s done. When I was at Carson Newman he was a big inspiration.
- Which holiday do you prefer, Christmas or July 4th? I think… Christmas. Celebrating Christ’s birth.
- What project or idea are you most passionate about, right now? There are a couple of exciting projects I am working on right now, and I have lead roles in both. It’s a bit too early to say much, though.. [film projects often get shelved or fall through]
- Do you know how to cook? Yep. I enjoy cooking. I watch what I eat. I don’t eat a lot of fried foods, although I eat my share of red meat. Most of the time I stick with chicken and/or turkey. I eat fish a lot when I’m at a restaurant. I like sushi, on occasion.
- What is your favorite thing to cook/eat? I love making omelets. On the sets you see guys making omelets and flipping them over. I like to fill them with different kinds of cheese, and bacon or spinach.
- What is your favorite book? The Bible. The New American Standard is the one I hang onto.
- Who do you love the most in the world? My sons.
- What question has nobody ever asked you, but you wanted to answer? What historical figure I would like to meet…? Probably Jesus Christ would be the one I would want to meet.
Jeff and all three of his sons - son Jef Joslin is a musician