Big Personality. Big Dream. Big-Shot Actor.
One word describes what James Brunt is all about — BIG. Brunt’s big personality is matched by his big dream to become a big-shot actor. And he’s accomplishing his dream. In 2019, he received the True West Award for Breakout Performance award by the Denver Center for Performing Arts.
Since receiving the award, Brunt has realized he is on the right track in life. Before he committed 100% to acting, he was working at UPS and other jobs breaking his back lifting heavy containers instead of breaking a leg on stage. He was emotionally and physically exhausted every day after work because he wasn’t pursuing his passion – acting. And then one day, he called it quits. He walked out on his last stocking job and never looked back.
Does he regret not having a 9 to 5 job with retirement and healthcare benefits? No way! Brunt said, “I was at those jobs to make my mom happy. She was supportive of my acting career, but she still wanted me to have a ‘good’ job with benefits. As soon as I quit my last job and became a full-time actor, it has been opportunity after opportunity. I’m now booked until October and I’m now making a living as an actor. Not too many people can say that.”
And it’s been a journey for Brunt to become a professional actor.
“I’ve had this dream since I was in 3rd grade. My dad worked grave-yard shifts at the post office, and he would give me movies to watch and quiz me about them when he came home. One night he gave me ‘Star Wars’ to watch and once I saw Darth Vader, I said, ‘I want to be that guy.’ After that, I was hooked on movies and acting.
“It was difficult in school, though, because school doesn’t really support the arts. My only exposure to the arts was movies until high school. In high school, I took a field trip to the Community College of Aurora (CCA) and saw the performance ‘Anonymous’ and was blown away by it.
“I’m a big black guy and it was the first time I saw a black dude on stage. It showed me that I can be an actor. My dream of being an actor can become reality.”
Brunt graduated from Montebello High School and continued his education at CCA. He almost dropped out, though, because he couldn’t pass math. But he finally passed the class with a little encouragement from Stacey D’Angelo, CCA’s Theatre Director, and earned an associate degree. During his time at CCA, he performed in six theater productions. He transferred to Metropolitan State University of Denver and earned a bachelor’s degree.
“Acting is my passion. I love that I’m learning and growing with each performance,” Brunt said. “Sometimes I must work extra hard to prove myself but that’s okay with me. I always want to be better and grow. That’s what drives me.”
Brunt is back at CCA and is directing the spring 2020 theatre production, “Tell Me How It Ends."