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He’s reaching for a slice of fame

Woodbury student has set sights on becoming the next big reality show star.

September 02, 2009|By Joyce Rudolph

Woodbury University student Joseph James has his eye on the sky, and he won’t settle for less.

James is one of 100 people out of 2,000 who passed an audition to appear on the “Hellbent for Hollywood” reality show, currently in production.

The show will combine the excitement of “American Idol” with the competitive challenges of “Survivor,” said Jen Markewych, casting director and producer along with John Mitchell. The competition won’t be exclusively on acting skills, she said.

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“It is going to be based on what the industry expects of actors, and there will be competitions based on their knowledge and professionalism within the industry,” she said, while declining to mention specifics.

A panel of judges will evaluate the competitors.

“The public can also vote for actors online,” she said. “The more votes you have, it’s like a ‘Get Out of Jail Free’ card. If actors are disqualified, they can use the public votes as a way to get back onto it.”

The show’s purpose is to give the public a glimpse of the real-world struggle of actors coming to Hollywood hoping to be the next TV or film star, Markewych said.

James moved to North Hollywood with his wife and child two months ago and lives near the NoHo Arts District. He’s majoring in communications at Woodbury University after transferring from Clark College in Vancouver, Wash.

“I got my big break when I got the part in ‘Crowley’ with Harrison Ford and Brendan Fraser scheduled for release in 2010,” he said. “That was incredible. Fraser was nice and professional. And it gave me insight into how big movies like that are made.”

He’s been on the sets of 10 films or TV shows, like VH1’s “Tough Love” and TNT’s “Leverage.” He’s also learned a lot by performing plays as a member of the Freemasons for more than six years, he said.

“So I feel like I’m living the dream,” he said. “People back home said I’d never be a big star. They said, ‘You’re going to go there and come back or get another type of job.’ I feel I’ve worked hard networking, auditioning and working on acting skills or on location somewhere.”

He is getting a lot of support from his advisor at Woodbury, Edward Clift, James said.

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