Recently, SOFREP had the opportunity to interview actor Jake Lockett. A trained pilot of Cessna 152 and VFR 172-class aircraft, Jake was considering a career in the Central Intelligence Agency or the military before the attractions of acting lured him to Hollywood. With an Aerospace Engineering degree from Texas A&M University, Jake worked at Boeing for several years before turning to acting. His acting career includes large guest-starring roles in Masters of Sex, NCIS: LA, Hawaii Five-O, Scorpion, and SEAL Team on CBS. In the episode of SEAL Team that he plays, Jake’s story resembles that of U.S. Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl.
What made you quit Boeing and get back to acting?
A very good question and one that my parents have probably asked themselves a lot. Honestly, the job was cool but I just wasn’t fulfilled. I used to climb on planes and work on ever-changing parts so it was fast-paced but just not something I was excited about. After a couple of years of working diligently and giving it the ‘ole college try, I decided to get back into performing… first with music (open mics, etc.) then with acting. I had acted in high school but then gave it up to study and play rugby in college but when I found myself looking for the motivation and fulfillment after college, I found it with acting. I met my current Manager then and he suggested I move to LA to pursue acting professionally and now here we are.
What’s it like working with former SOF on the set?
It was awesome. I found it to be very helpful when working on the character and understanding what the situation was. For example, the mental warfare of telling someone hundreds of times that you were going to take them out and behead them with a camera rolling and then right before they do it, they stop and take you back to your completely void of light holding cell and leave you in there until the next torture attempt or faux beheading. The idea of thinking you are about to go through that over and over for four or five years… it gave me a sliver of understanding of what it would be like to be on your way, thinking you were going to possibly be beheaded only then to be released. Also, and more intensely… the storyline and disdain that the SOF team sent to rescue would have been so thick when they are recusing a deserter… no matter what their reasons for deserting were.
What did you do to prepare for your role on SEAL Team?
Besides the above, it was about developing the history of being under constant pressure from snipers and random shelling that after almost a year would push someone to feel they had to desert to give up. Which takes a lot of empathy for something I don’t agree with, but imagining not agreeing with and then somehow feeling like it is my only option to feel sane. This empathetic approach was the key for me to get into the character.
Do you see yourself focusing more on military-themed shows/films in the future?
I’d love to do more military-themed shows but it really comes down to what options come my way. So yes, I do think I will play more military roles but it’s not always up to me. I think they are some of our best and most heroic characters… not that there aren’t others, of course.
My producing partner and writing partner, Sean Kurzweil, and I have a feature that we’ve written that starts soon after a newly discharged, U.S. Army Ranger arrives with his seven-year-old daughter to help a childhood friend, a fellow martial artist, remodel her recently inherited, deceased father’s remote desert home, and they learn that her father’s secrets have put them in jeopardy and will force them to use all of their skills to save his daughter and their lives. This story centers around the conflict of soldiers with families and finding the balance of being there for their fellow soldiers and their family back home. The lead and a grey character who we are conflicted about are both former SOF and will have some great scenes.