Lights, Camera & Action – A Brent Huff Story
Some of us fall in love with the magic of the sounds, the action and the look from big screen cinema. We take the time to become completely immersed. It is an intense feeling that can take us out of reality for a moment.
Award-winning actor, writer and director Brent Huff is known for his roles in numerous films and shows such as The West Wing and Mad Men. Huff has directed such diverse films as 100 Mile Rule, Welcome to Paradise, Cat City and It’s a Rockabilly World. One of his recent documentaries is Chasing Beauty, an expose’ about the ugly side of being pretty. BuzzFeed named Chasing Beauty as one of the top 10 fashion documentaries of all time.
Growing up in Springfield, Missouri one of his favorite pastimes as a child was watching films, action being his favorite. When he was eight, he asked his father how he could one day do what James Bond does. It was at this moment that his father looked at him and said, “Those are actors. You’re going to have to become an actor”.
Acting takes having a comfortable sense of presenting one’s self. When asked if he was an extrovert naturally, he replied with a story about his Southern Baptist upbringing and how his father was a minister and his sermons were very theatrical. This helped Huff become comfortable on stage and in front of a camera. As he phrased it, “They [my family] probably assumed I would follow in my father’s footsteps but I took a left turn and came to Hollywood to follow my dreams. Preacher’s kids are always the wildest and I sort of went a little farther in the wild side than most.”
Huff attended the University of Missouri and majored in Theater. After he broke his leg while training in track he decided to move to Hollywood. His first job as an actor was portraying a basketball player in the film Coach with Michael Biehn. Later, he was discovered walking down the street by Eileen Ford, the founder of the famed Ford Modeling agency. The next few years he modeled in New York, Paris and Milan with big name designers like Armani, Versace and Valentino. Even with all his success as a model Huff wanted to be an actor and began studying at the HB Studios in New York.
While in New York he won the leading male role in the cult classic, The Peril’s of Gwendoline. Huff later starred in the action film, Strike Commando 2 with screen legend Richard Harris. The director of the film, Bruno Mattei loved an emotional scene they shot one day. Richard Harris had different thoughts. Harris turned to Huff and said, “Cut that in half”! This was a key turning point for Huff where he learned that sometimes he gave too much and just had to be himself.
In 1994 he finished his first screenplay We the People but things didn’t go as planned. He pitched the film to his friend James Brolin who liked the script so much he wanted to produce the film and play the role Huff had written for himself. Without missing a beat Huff changed gears and played the antagonist in the film. It went on to become a film festival darling and jump started his career as a writer/director.
Huff has taught acting at The Performer’s Academy in Orange County, CA and still teaches privately. He tells his actors, “If you can do anything else then do it. But if you have to do this, then do it 100%. You gotta love it because it’s too hard. The rejections that you take over the period of a career are massive. Every actor gets told “No” all the time, so you gotta love it.”
Huff’s life has changed tremendously through his career and he now lives happily with his wife, actress Shawn Huff in the Santa Clarita Valley.
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