published Thursday, July 26th, 2012

Curtain Call: Stand-in role big chance for Jackson

Trey Jackson, right, is shown on the set of “42” with director Brian Helgeland. Jackson, a graduate of Chattanooga State Community College, was on set every day of shooting, working as the stand-in for Chadwick Boseman, who is portraying Jackie Robinson in the film.
Trey Jackson, right, is shown on the set of “42” with director Brian Helgeland. Jackson, a graduate of Chattanooga State Community College, was on set every day of shooting, working as the stand-in for Chadwick Boseman, who is portraying Jackie Robinson in the film.
Photo by Contributed Photo /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

TREY JACKSON

Age: 21.

Hometown: Chattanooga.

Education: Central High School.

Vocation: student, actor.

Trey Jackson has known he wanted to be an actor since he was young. After spending the last two months working on the set of the film "42" as the stand-in for Chadwick Boseman, who plays baseball legend Jackie Robinson in the film, Jackson is even more motivated, dedicated and energized.

"I got back home on July 14," he said. "I feel like my stomach is empty. I don't know what to do with myself."

Jackson's job during the shooting of the film was to be the stand-in for Boseman while the director and crew set up cameras and lighting for the shots. Some of the work was pretty routine, but he also got to work a couple of scenes with Harrison Ford, doing the off-camera work to give Ford someone to look at while he did his lines.

For Jackson, every second he spent on and off set was like being back in school at Chattanooga State Community College, learning from Rex Knowles and Sherry Landrum in the Professional Actors Training Program.

"It was just a really great experience," Jackson said. "I learned so much. Harrison told me stuff, and Chad and I talked all the time. (Actor) Lucas Black and Chad both told me to keep my enthusiasm.

"I never stopped running. I ran everywhere, I was so excited. Harrison said I was finding my way. He also told me to keep my focus."

Jackson graduated from Chattanooga State but plans to return in the fall to take music and other classes that could help advance his career in theater.

"I plan to move to New York, and I hope -- no, I will -- try out for Juilliard," he said.

He gives Knowles and Landrum a credit for preparing him for whatever path his career takes.

"That two years was the best two years of my life," he said. "I learned more about myself and life. It was a lot of self-discovery and challenge. I learned to appreciate people and what they go through by learning to really read through the character's eyes."

One of the biggest lessons he learned was the importance of listening.

"Yes. YES. I wasn't good at that for the first two weeks or so. Rex really made me understand that."

Jackson said he applied to be an extra in "42" on a whim.

"At the time I had a big giant afro because I was going to try out for 'Hair' at the [Chattanooga] Theatre Centre," he said.

He got a call from "42" personnel the same day he emailed his resume asking him if he would work the "float" test at Engel Stadium. This is done in advance to determine camera angles. Jackson believes his enthusiasm helped him stand out and got him the call to be a stand-in. He carried that with him during filming.

At night, back at the hotel, he would improvise scenes with the other stand-ins. During the day, he shadowed Boseman everywhere he went and spent time sparring with him between shooting.

"We talked all the time, and he told me that it's important to be cocky in the industry but also to nwever give up and to be humble to people," Jackson said. "You have to be confident in yourself."

In addition to the memories and experiences Jackson garnered from working on "42," he also will be given a credit on the film and was given a replica Kansas City Monarchs jersey bearing Jackie Robinson's number.

"I will cherish it forever," he said.

about Barry Courter...

Barry Courter is staff reporter and columnist for the Times Free Press. He started his journalism career at the Chattanooga News-Free Press in 1987. He covers primarily entertainment and events for ChattanoogaNow, as well as feature stories for the Life section. Born in Lafayette, Ind., Barry has lived in Chattanooga since 1968. He graduated from Notre Dame High School and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga with a degree in broadcast journalism. He previously was ...

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