Politician-Turned-Actor Peter Lawson Jones Lands Guest Appearance On Chicago Fire, Watches Bigger Roles In Movies And TV!


ExBulletin.com, Posted January 25th 2021

Reagan. Schwarzenegger. Franken. The list of actors turned politicians is familiar. But Peter Lawson Jones is doing things the other way around. A decade after leaving public service, the former Shaker Heights state lawmaker and Cuyahoga County commissioner is now busy reading scripts, not resolutions, hearing instead of campaigning.

Ginger Rogers used to do everything inside out and in high heels, so I do it inside out too without the high heels, he said.

Jones, who, at 68, still practices law and does consulting work, compares his unorthodox career path to the late Fred Thompson, a lawyer at the Watergate hearings who played an acting role, became a Senator American from Tennessee, then joined the cast of NBCs Law and Order after leaving office.

It’s pretty much the closest I’ve had, not a philosophical model, but a career model, he said. I had always dreamed of taking part in an episode of Law and Order.

Jones fulfilled a version of that dream late last year when he landed a starring role in popular NBC drama Chicago Fire, which, like the Law and Order franchise, is produced by Dick Wolf. The episode, titled Funny What Reminds Us, airs Wednesday, January 27 at 9 p.m. on WKYC Channel 3.

My character provides much of the drama and pathos of this particular episode, said Jones, who spent four days on the set and shares his scenes with Eamonn Walker, who plays Battalion Commander Wallace Boden. Jones refrained from disclosing too much of the episode or his character – initially identified in the script simply as an old man – so as not to spoil it for viewers.

But he did share a recent text he received from episode director Matt Earl Beasley.

It reads, I spent the last couple of days editing our episode and wanted to tell you what a great nuanced performance you gave. Great job, remembers Peter, Jones. It means a lot to me. This is such a statement.

The road to his most important role since the resurrection of his acting career has been long and fortuitous. Jones first caught the acting bug at Harvard University when his roommate asked him to accompany him to a play rehearsal and he ended up reading lines for roles that had yet to be chosen. He acted throughout college and law school and even toyed with the idea of ​​moving to New York City to pursue it full time.

Cut 30 years later, in 2005, when one of the college’s written plays, The Family Line, was being performed at Karamu House. He becomes friends with the artistic director of theaters Terrence Spivey, who encourages him to resume his profession. In 2008, Jones, while serving as County Commissioner, landed a role in Bourbon on the Border at the Cleveland Playhouse.

I’ve had great reviews on this and have been a bit addicted ever since, Jones said.

His 22-year political career ended in 2011 when voters in Cuyahoga County chose to replace the county commission form of government with an executive and county council.

Sometimes I miss having a voice that counts on the affairs of the day and being able to help the people and organizations that deserve to be supported, he said. Still, he found that the skills he had learned as a politician and lawyer were useful in the entertainment industry.

The art of persuasion cuts across all three areas, he said. I always tell people, you network hard and then you work even harder.

Initially, Jones planned to devote part of his post-political career to stage and voiceover work. Nothing full time. He was performing in a play at the Weathervane Playhouse in Akron in 2011 when Corbin Bernsen (Major League, LA Law) came to town to direct and star in 25 Hill, a feature film about the soapbox derby.

Following a series of fortuitous events, Jones found himself face-to-face with an exhausted Bernsen at the end of a long day of acting auditions.

He looks at me and says: Oh my God, you’d be perfect to play the principal’s husband in this movie, Jones recalls.

He booked the concert and got hooked again. He signed with talent agencies in Cleveland, Chicago, Detroit, Atlanta and Pittsburgh to find more roles for him. Over the past decade, he’s amassed over 60 credits, acting in scenes with Tyler Perry and Cicely Tyson in Alex Cross, and White Boy Rick opposite Matthew Matthew McConaughey and Bruce Dern. His appearance as a homeless person in the short-lived ABC crime drama Detroit 1-8-7 starring Michael Imperioli of Sopranos fame earned Jones his SAG-AFTRA card.

Creating with individuals like this – it’s not just exciting. It is a privilege and an honor, he said.

But making a living as an active actor is notoriously difficult, and getting a late start like Jones doesn’t make it any easier.

Every time I see someone who was chosen in a movie or TV show I think, Oh my God. They beat up hundreds of hundreds of people just so they could say those two or three words on camera, he said. But I’m pretty passionate about what I do and have aspirations to do more.

Besides Chicago Fire, Jones can currently be seen in a Advertising Marathon Oil. He shares a scene with Daniel Kaluuya in Judas and the Black Messiah, the Cleveland movie about murdered Black Panther Party leader Fred Hampton premiered in theaters and HBO Max on February 12. He also appears in the upcoming drama Heartland, which stars David Arquette (Scream) and William Mapother (Ethan from Lost).

His roles may have been small, but his plans remain big.

I would love to be a regular on a show. I want to be in more movies and I want to have more lead roles, he said. It was great to be able to develop a character (on Chicago Fire) rather than just being on set for a day.

Jones counts Eli Wallach, Christopher Plummer and Samuel L. Jackson among his inspirations: Wallach because he acted until 90; Plummer, who won his first Oscar at 82; and Jackson, whose career didn’t explode until after his 40s.

There is the tendency to think when you reach a certain age that the best in life is behind you and all the dreams that you have ever had, if you haven’t realized them by then, well they don’t. will never come true. But that’s not the case, he says. Im a living and breathing example of never giving up on your dreams.

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