Craig biker eyes silver screen
Former cop, cycle shop owner to act in independent film
Jesse McAvoy’s blond and gray-streaked locks are pulled back into a ponytail, contained by rubber bands running down to the middle of his back.
He keeps his head covered with a bandanna while he works on Harley-Davidsons at his shop, Bad Axe Custom Cycles.
But, today, McAvoy will cut off four years of hair growth to get back into law enforcement.
He’s not going back to his job at the Craig Police Department, where he worked for three years.
Instead, he’s playing a cop in a movie.
McAvoy, a Craig resident for seven years, landed his first role in an independent movie being filmed in Boulder. He can keep his tattoos, but he’ll have to cut off his long hair and shave his beard for the “cop look.”
Although McAvoy has no acting experience, he said he always wanted to get into movies.
“I kind of always was looking into being in movies, being an extra or playing a biker or someone in the background, just for fun.” McAvoy said. “So I signed on with a talent agency. There weren’t really that many roles like that around here.”
He came across three roles in a movie produced by Boulder-based GraceMar Entertainment: detective, FBI agent and police officer.
He said he auditioned for all three of the parts, but he really connected when he read the police officer’s lines.
Halfway through his reading, he couldn’t help but laugh.
“I was thinking, ‘This is me, this guy talks and acts just like me,'” he said. “It was all the same stuff I used to do, answering calls and getting dispatches and stuff. I mean, that was my life for 12 years. I just loved the part, and she gave me a try.”
The police officer is one of the main characters in the movie, playing a part in several major scenes.
McAvoy hasn’t always had his “biker” look.
It wasn’t until he quit the police department four years ago that he started to grow his hair and get more tattoos down his arms, which he wasn’t allowed to do while on the force.
“Long hair and tattoos, that’s just the way I like to look and I don’t really care what people think,” he said with a shrug.
He said a lot of people are used to seeing him with the long hair, and some have told him not to cut it.
“But, my wife never really liked it,” he said “She didn’t say anything about it because I liked it, but she’s dying to have it cut. Plus, it’s for a good cause.”
McAvoy will donate his hair to Locks of Love, a nonprofit that provides wigs for children who have lost their hair for medical reasons, such as cancer.
McAvoy’s family has been supportive of his foray into the entertainment business, and they might even be able to act as extras in the movie, which hasn’t begun filming yet.
“It’s great. I’m really excited,” he said. “Hopefully it will open more doors for me.”
He doesn’t have a finalized script yet, but he is meeting with producers in Boulder today after his haircut.
Because it’s an independent film, McAvoy said he won’t be paid for the movie until it gets signed on with a larger distributor.
He said he might be a bit nervous the first day on the set but that it will help that the character is so close to him.
Although he is getting away from the cop mentality, he still has a lot of respect for his friends in blue. He said he’d never play the part of a “goofy” cop like he’s seen in some movies.
“I hate the way cops are portrayed sometimes,” he said. “I wouldn’t ever play a part that would show a cop acting stupid.”
The movie he’s in is a horror spoof film currently titled “Niwot’s Curse.” There will be some scares and some laughs, he said.
Were he to become a big movie star, he wouldn’t move to L.A., though there are more opportunities for actors on the West Coast.
He hopes to incorporate his new passion into his love for motorcycles and his family.
But, he’ll continue to live life his own way.
“I’ve always done what I wanted to do,” he said. “So many people get tied down to a job and they can’t do anything else because they have bills to pay. I just do what I want to do and try to have fun with life.”
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