DOVER — After starring on the football field and in the classroom at Caesar Rodney and Lake Forest high schools and then at Wesley College, Bowers Beach native Rocky Myers is now starring on the big screen.
Mr. Myers, 32, is nearing his four-year anniversary since moving to Los Angeles to pursue his dream of acting and modeling.
“I really love what I’m doing out here,” he said in a phone interview from the West Coast earlier this week.
“Every year I think I’m progressing more and more and moving toward achieving my goals.”
He recently was seen on the big screen locally playing a supporting role as an FBI agent in the film “The Saratov Approach,” a true story about two Mormon missionaries kidnapped and held for ransom while serving in Russia.
The film played for two nights over the holidays at Middletown’s Everett Theatre.
Mr. Myers happened to be in town visiting family and showed up at the screening’s second night to take part in a question-and-answer session following the movie.
“It was funny. After the first night, someone asked my nephew how he liked the film and he said he loved it because his uncle was in it,” Mr. Myers said.
So the theater’s foundation contacted Mr. Myers and he went up to take part in the session.
This is the first film that Mr. Myers has been featured in that has received a wide release.
“It’s played in places like Utah and Nevada and we had just had a premiere here in L.A. on (Jan. 10). Plans to take it wider will be based on how well it does here,” he said.
Mr. Myers said that during a cast Q&A for the film in Los Angeles, a familiar voice took part.
“Larry King was in the audience and ended up leading the Q&A. His wife is Mormon and brought him to see the movie. He was great. You could tell he was really in his element asking the questions,” he said.
As an undergraduate at Wesley, Mr. Myers received numerous scholarship offers for postgraduate studies as a result of his performance in the classroom and on the football field.
In addition to being a two-time All-America selection at defensive back, he was awarded The Gagliardi Trophy (the National Player of the Year Award for NCAA Division III College Football) as a senior and was one of 15 college football players to be named to that year’s National Football Foundation and College Football Hall of Fame Scholar-Athlete Class.
After he graduated summa cum laude from Wesley with a B.S. degree in biology and a minor in chemistry, he attended Widener University School of Law, graduating with honors.
All through it though, Hollywood was calling.
“Coach (Mike) Drass and then-President (Scott) Miller promoted me so much to get those awards, I thought I might as well take advantage of the scholarships and figured it never hurts in life to have a law degree,” he said.
“I figured after I started taking classes that a career in law might start to appeal to me but it really didn’t. So
I started getting internships and doing all I could to get more credits and I ended up graduating a semester early in December of 2009.”
He has yet to take the bar exam — Delaware only gives it once a year in July. He didn’t want to wait that long.
So off he went.
“I figured I can take a bar review class and come back to Delaware and take it if I ever choose to do so.”
Currently that doesn’t seem to be in the cards as Mr. Myers has been busy. He had four productions released in 2013 and four more scheduled to debut this year, taking him to filming locations as far away as South Africa.
There is talk of one film “The Mentor” making its premiere on the Lifetime network.
None of the movies that he has done have reached a wide mainstream movie audience but Mr. Myers is OK with that for now, knowing what it takes to make it in Hollywood.
“They always talk about the overnight success story that only took 10 years to happen,” he joked.
He first caught the acting bug when he got a bit part in the Mark Wahlberg film “Invincible,” which told the story of unlikely Philadelphia Eagles football player Vince Papale.
He relied on his football and acting ability to snare a small role in the hit movie.
“What was fortunate about getting that was that it got me my (Screen Actors Guild) card. It’s a Catch-22 where you can’t do SAG movies without a SAG card and you can’t get a SAG card without being in a SAG movie,” he said.
Membership in the union can get an actor health benefits and lead to more work.
When he first hit Hollywood, he found work as a tutor, helping kids study for exams and with their homework.
As the movie roles and modeling jobs have increased, he has found less time for that.
“And also many of the kids have graduated and gone on to college but that’s given me more time to work on the acting. I approach it like having my own business where the more you put in, the more you get out of it,” he said.
He also has come to grips with the rejection that comes with trying out for roles that just don’t work out for one reason or another.
But don’t use the R word around him.
“I really don’t look at it as rejection. If I feel I’ve done my best when I go in to audition, I don’t worry about it. Sometimes it’s really not your fault. They were just looking for another type,” he explained.
“But it can lead to another job down the line where the casting director remembers you from the first time and thinks you may be better-suited to another role.”
He relates a story about a buddy who went up for a part of the best friend to the lead actor in the film. He thought he had done well and was getting kudos from everyone.
But he failed to get the part.
“He saw the lead later on and asked him why he didn’t get it. He was told that he looked too much like him.
It’s those little things that can determine whether you get the part. So a lot of it is really out of your control,” Mr. Myers said.
His latest project is taking him to Utah where he is filming a “Lord of the Rings”-type saga entitled “Mythica,” where he will appear in the second film.
Like “Lord of the Rings,” filming on three movies is being done simultaneously.
Tattoos on his face, a different hairstyle and 40 pounds of costume requires a few hours in the makeup chair every day.
“It’s tough. I sweat a lot. But it’s fun,” he said.
Modeling and commercial work also fills the time and helps add to his wallet.
“I just did a commercial for William Lawson’s Scotch Whisky — a Bacardi brand — that can only be seen in Latin America. But I also did a Skechers sneaker commercial that I’m told is being shown on ESPN a lot. I haven’t seen it though,” he said.
While he hasn’t gotten the proverbial “big break” yet, Mr. Myers said he is truly happy and feels lucky to be a working actor.
“There are lots of people out here working as waiters and bartenders all trying to do the same thing. But I feel like I’m where I need to be right now. It all feels right,” he said.
Features editor Craig Horleman can be reached at 741-8224 or firstname.lastname@example.org.