James D. Weston II was born on December 23, 1963, in New York. He is known for his work on Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011), The Matrix Reloaded (2003) and Contagion (2011). He burns the candle at both ends by auditioning and acting during the day and working the night shift (in Aviation) in order to make his dream a reality. Prior to acting, James D. Weston served in the military. His previous commitment to serve in the military is as strong as his dedication to his acting craft today.
Weston has also made an eclectic and solid career from stand-in and stunt double work. Weston was a stand-in for Will Smith during the filming of “Pursuit of Happiness” on two occasions and has also worked with Jada Pinkett Smith, Laurence Fishburne, and Carrie Ann Moss in “Matrix: Reloaded”, as a precision driver in a highway chase scene. Even though Weston has been more in the background, he has not given up and has no plans to. Weston knows there are hidden advantages of being a “stand-in” and knowing that it gets you on the set, which leads to additional opportunities.
He was nominated for a Screen Actors Guild Award in the category of Outstanding Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Motion Picture for 2011 and didn’t know until he received a nomination honors certificate, from the Screen Actors Guild Board of Directors Awards Show Committee.
At 6’2”, he is quite the dominant presence but stays calm and composed. Weston, (as art imitates life), does get cast in many military and CIA roles but he always puts his own spin on it. When Weston was not auditioning or filming on set, I had a chance to catch up with him.
Hi, James! Thanks so much for talking with Occhi. We are very excited to chat with you! How did you get started in acting?
I got started when I heard a local news story asking if you would like to be in the movies. It was a story from a local casting agency (Beau Bonneau Casting) needing extras (background) for the Disney remake “Flubber”. I needed to work and had always thought about acting in the past but did not have enormous expectations.
Prior to embarking on an acting career, you served in the US military. What was that experience like and what specific characteristics from your time in the military did you bring to acting?
The military experience was a good one for me. It enhanced a lot of previous skills and helped with personal growth, accountability, honor, integrity, teamwork, and leadership. The military is something I always wanted to do especially since attending Aviation High School in Queens, N.Y. In all honesty, my parents raised my brother, sisters and I to be humble and help others when we can. They did not see me transitioning into acting but I’m the type that is grateful for work – all work. Unfortunately, my dad never got to see me onscreen but I know he would be proud.
When did you decide to take acting seriously as a career?
I decided to take acting seriously as a career when I had to make a firm decision to join S.A.G. (Screen Actors Guild). Making the decision required paying the initiation fee, which I considered an investment in myself. As I tell others, bills come in monthly, which is why I also maintain a full-time job on the midnight shift.
Where did you study/train as an actor?
I had formal training at Laney College in Oakland, CA. and informal training with some awesome military service members led by Harry Humphries & Nick Teta and businesswoman Catherine Humphries.
Tell me a little about your first feature film and how that felt being on set.
My first feature film was “Flubber,” with Robin Williams. I observed and tried to learn everything that I could, as I do on all feature and television projects I’m a part of. You can learn so much from observing and listening. It is an education in itself. It was exciting and incredible.
I’m a huge fan of crime dramas. How was it working with on “CSI: NY”?
I enjoyed working with the cast of “CSI: NY”, especially Gary Sinise, who is a big supporter of members and families of the military. I like working on both movies and television. It’s nice to switch up from time to time. I don’t prefer one over the other. Gary Sinise (obviously is super talented, smart and knows the business well).
People love “Transformers” series. Tell me a bit about working on “Transformers: Dark of The Moon”.
Working on “Transformers: Dark of The Moon” was awesome. I got an amazing opportunity to work with Michael Bay (who is intense and extremely professional), members of the military, astronaut Buzz Aldrin, and a great cast, crew, and producers. I hope to work on other Transformers movies, and other Marvel movies as well.
Tell me a bit about your hosting gigs.
I appeared at Modesto Con (www.modestocon.com) in Modesto, CA.) in 2016, and returned to host in July 2017. I also hosted the Cosies (https://awards.cosplaygen.com) (Cosplay Awards) in Newman, CA. in January of this year as well as the Cosies at Stockton-Con (Stockton, CA) in August 2017.
Weston’s most recent project was working with film director/producer Mario Bobino in the autobiographical film about Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch called “Family First”.
Overall, James D. Weston believes it’s all about attitude, taking risks, doing your homework, and how much you are willing to sacrifice. Weston has many exciting upcoming projects you can follow him on IG @theviper001.
Connect with James:
Lizzy Collazos is a LA based writer who covers fashion, style and emerging artists. She is constantly sourcing and inspired by designers, artists and entertainers making their mark in an innovative way. “I see fashion and art as a beautiful form of self-expression and a way to tell a story.” "I love becoming immersed in a project and seeing it through fruition."She knows the LA scene well and currently contributed to The LA Fashion Magazine as well as LA-Story.com. Follow Lizzy Collazos on these social platforms.