Wes Thompson

Wes W. Thompson, 30, a native of Ashland, is finding success as an actor living in Hollywood.

Actor Wes Thompson has a schedule something like a high school student.

“Summers and kind of dead,” the 30-year-old native Ashlander said. “Summer and Christmas are about the only times I can get away.”

Thompson, who is visiting his mother, Pam Poskitt, recently attended the premiere of his first movie, “G.I. Jesus,” in Las Vegas.

Directed by Carl Colpaert and written by Colpaert and Deborah Setele, the indie movie is a drama about Mexican national Jesus Feliciano who returns to California after soldiering in Iraq in exchange for U.S. citizenship. The plot follows the trauma he suffers as a result of battle experience.

Thompson’s role in the movie turned out to be larger than he had anticipated.

“I auditioned for a part that would have been one day’s work,” he said. “I got four callbacks and ended up with six weeks of work.”

“G.I. Jesus” was made for just less than $2 million. Thompson said depending on how well it does in film festivals, it could be picked up and distributed by a studio, which means it could be shown in the Tri-State. At the very least, he said he would expect it to be available on video or shown on a cable movie channel eventually.

So far, the film has done well, winning the grand jury prize at the Cine Vegas 2006 Film Festival.

Director Colpaert is credited with discovering such stars as Renee Zellweger and Viggo Mortensen and producing movies such as “Swimming with Sharks” and “Hurly Burly.”

Growing up in Ashland, Thompson attended Oakview Elementary, Verity Middle School and Paul G. Blazer High School, which he left when his mother remarried. They moved to Rock Hill, S.C., where he finished high school.

While in Ashland, he participated in community theater and following high school, attended Ashland Community College for two years.

He graduated from the University of Kentucky with a bachelor of arts degree in English and film. In 2002, his short film won best local film in the school’s film festival.

Thompson appeared on an episode of the E network show “Infamous” in 2003. The re-enactment program cast Thompson as John Wayne Bobbitt. “Looking back, that’s one role I thought, ‘Wow, I wish they hadn’t shown my face,” he said with a laugh.

He’s also appeared in several commercials, many of which did not air in the Tri-State.

Comedy as well as drama is crucial in Thompson’s career. He said he is a part of a sketch comedy troupe in Los Angeles and also performs some standup comedy.

He said he and some actor friends are working on on episode of a sit-com that they’ll use to “pitch themselves to a stronger agent.

“If the show works, we’ll pitch it beyond that,” he said. “Right now, it’s mainly to showcase ourselves.”

For now, he plans to be in Ashland for a few more days, and to enjoy the experience.

“Living in Los Angeles, it really makes me appreciate being home,” he said. “I love to come home.”

LEE WARD can be reached at lward@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2661.

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