Jaime M. Callica – The Bridge Part 2
By: Ruth Hill
In this day and age of the social media frenzy and a jam-packed entertainment industry, sparks of positivity often emerge quite prominently. Once in awhile, there are noteworthy people who are able to create their own fire of positive energy and share that with others. Recently, I was lucky enough to chat with one such person–Jaime M. Callica. Conversing with him was insightful as well as inspiring, and in that recent chat, we discussed his upcoming works in addition to his views on the acting world as a whole.
What inspired you to become an actor?
Dance was my first love and inspiration. Michael Jackson was the person I enjoyed watching and for a number of years I was a dancer. But I always knew that I wanted to act. When I was growing up, my mother took me to every musical imaginable–”Les Miz,” “Miss Saigon,” “Beauty and the Beast,” etc. I went on to become a rather successful businessman, but I always figured that I would become an actor when the time was right for me. I have since discovered that was only fifty percent of it. The other fifty percent was fear. Even though my businesses were small, they were doing well. But one day, I decisively woke up and sold my businesses and went on to pursue my dream of becoming an actor.
In business, it’s pretty easy to tell if you’re doing well, but acting is not like that. The entertainment industry is fickle and unpredictable. There are no tests to apply to see if you are successful or not. And that doesn’t just apply to actors.
I got to be part of a special conference called “Women in Directors Chairs,” where female directors brought their original pieces that they had written and a group of us spent the time breaking down these films as actors. Every day we did something different with the scripts and I really found it interesting to realize that these directors have to lobby for their work just like actors do. Sometimes directors are viewed as being cruel or just not nice, but I got to see that this wasn’t always the case. Some of the directors were new to the business, but others were experienced. Working with them during this conference gave me a different vision of directors, especially since they didn’t only direct these works, but they also wrote them.
Tell us about your experience on The Bridge.
First of all, I didn’t know that The Bridge was based on a book. When actors go to audition, they only get part of a scene and a character breakdown. So, I knew that Luther was a soul food chef and a little about him. That was it. I got the callback and then the role.
When I came to the first day of filming, I noticed there was a lady reading off to the side of the set. I went up to her and introduced myself, telling her what part I was playing. She said that it was good being in Canada, which I thought this was strange. She flew up to Canada for the filming? I had thought that maybe she was a background actor and I know about that all too well as I myself have been a background actor more than once. Sometimes, experienced actors tend to overlook background actors and never interact with them. I had made up my mind that I would never overlook background actors and so I would go out of my way to genuinely engage these people. But it didn’t make sense that they would fly a background actor up to Vancouver.
So, I asked who she was and she said she was Karen Kingsbury, the author of the novel The Bridge. I was so embarrassed. I had already blocked my scene, learned my lines and had an idea of what I wanted to do with my character. But now I found out that the author of the book was sitting right here and so I wondered if I should ask her about my character. I only had a minute or so before it was time to begin filming. So, I didn’t end up asking her.
In my first scene, Karen Kingsbury has a cameo appearance. If you look at the left side of the screen, you will see her. As I think about it now, I can remember how the crew was attending to her needs before I knew who she was and I just thought the crew was very attentive. I didn’t realize till later that she was the author and that is why they were treating her in such a special way.
Karen really is sweet. She gave about 200 signed books to all the members of the cast and crew. Very nice lady.
What did you think about the fan reaction/outcry concerning the showing of both parts of The Bridge?
I couldn’t believe how angry people were on social media. I know it may have seemed strange that Hallmark would wait a whole year to show The Bridge Part 2, but I took the diplomatic approach. Usually, when we wait for a sequel to a film, it’s at least one to five years and that it just part of the process. But the fans didn’t seem to agree.
I can remember how someone said, “How dare you ruin Christmas! This is the work of the devil and Satan!” I thought that was quite harsh. After all, this was a Hallmark movie and it’s not like they closed all the churches or anything like that to show it. People were very upset and most of these people were probably nice, Christian people, but they just went a little crazy.
I was shocked at the outcry and I think Hallmark was, too. For me, it is great because I’m creating a demo reel right now and I can use this footage. But I do hope that Hallmark shows both parts Christmas 2016. I had hoped to attend the red carpet premiere in Nashville, Tennessee, but I have a recurring role now in “Wayward Pines” and I just couldn’t take the time nor the money to do that right now.
Do you have any upcoming works you can mention?
I have a recurring character role on “Wayward Pines,” and unlike a series regular, they call you when they want you. You often don’t know much in advance. So far, I am on the first two episodes. I am also on the series finale of “Motive.”
One of the hardest things about these various roles on shows is that sometimes your part gets edited a lot or sometimes even cut. That happened on “The 100.” My character was originally in two episodes, but they cut me out of the second episode. That is the worst. As an actor, when you get these roles it’s not about being well-paid. It’s about doing the work. I have found that sometimes when I land certain small roles on shows that I don’t say anything until I know for sure my part will not be cut. I go over the plot in my mind and try to decide if my character is integral to the storyline. And if it is, then and only then, do I mention it.
I also have filmed a movie called The Perfect Pickup. I was actually filming that concurrently with The Bridge. I was traveling back and forth between these two and I didn’t get much time off between the two parts of The Bridge because I was filming it. Right now, decisions are being made about the logistics of showing this film in theaters and film festivals. There are rules they have to follow for film festival submissions so within the next several months, we will know more about this film and where and when it can be seen.
You have an incredible social media presence that is very interactive. What is your philosophy concerning social media?
I have fun with social media, but I am very careful about what I say because one day five years from now when I’m an A-lister, people will examine my accounts and try to use my words against me. I am one who makes it a point to recognize those who have chosen to follow me. Every day, when I can, I send out gratitude tweets for following me. These people didn’t have to tweet me and say, “I saw you in —” or retweet something I tweeted, but they did it anyway and got nothing in return. So, in a way, I do see my social media as friends and family members. Yes, I do have trolls and there are times I would love to cuss them out, but I refuse to do that.
How do you manage to remain positive and inspiring in an industry and world that is increasingly negative?
In this business, you want to book everything. It is difficult to find peace and gratitude sometimes when you don’t get the job. Actors are sometimes on hold for a role for a while, which happened to me recently. I was on hold for two weeks and every time the phone rang, I hoped it was the call to say that I got the role. In the end, I was released and I was disappointed. I’m human after all. But what you have to remember is that while it wasn’t your day to get this role and you’re disappointed, for the person who just got the role it’s the best day ever. You have to stay positive or you will drive yourself mental.
After my informative and often entertaining chat with Jaime, I was able to see the kind and generous heart that beats within his chest with nothing, but goodwill for all mankind. He genuinely cares about his reputation and supporters. Gratitude is the thing that drives him in everyday living and he takes seriously the task of recognizing and appreciating all the things with which he has been endowed as well as the people with whom he connects regularly. I strongly urge you to tune into The Bridge Part 2 on Sunday, March 20 on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries to support the work of this humble, skillful actor. Also, be sure to follow him on social media (he has quite a following):