Jack Walker’s heart is where his home is. And, that home is right here in Dublin, Georgia. If you ask him, he will probably tell you he’’d rather be in his home town enjoying life with his family and friends than living and working in New York or Hollywood. No longer does he dream of being a movie star. Today, Jackson Walker dreams of great movie roles and seeing Dublin growing into an even more wonderful place to live.
"I'm proud of Dublin. I was born here and I'll probably die here. Hopefully, a long time from now," he aid.Walker wants to see Dublin grow and offer more of what people expect of a quaint southern town. He would like to see that aggressiveness directed towards more progressive ideas.
"Accomplishing progressive ideas while maintaining the quaint charm of a southern town is attractive to everyone and could help Dublin become a place that people want to return to or retire to," Jack added.
When Jack and his family returned from the fast paced life in Hollywood, he had a dream. And, that dream was to build downtown Dublin into a place where people, not only locals, but travelers as well, wanted to come to. "We need businesses like The Freckled Frog, a hair salon, boutiques etc. to move there," Jack maintains.His first fun project was to open The Blackbird, a coffee shop with a personal touch, and not just another cookie cutter Starbucks in a plain space. "Old buildings provide something you cannot get anywhere else in town," the former architect said. "I think I helped to start something great,”” but regretfully added, "I just couldn't afford to hang on long enough for it to catch on."
Promoters of downtown Dublin will tell you that the current wave of revitalization efforts are due in a big part to Jack’’s investment and dedication to his dream. "I've heard that a few times recently, that I started something downtown. I hope that's true because that would be something I would be proud of," he adds. Happy with what is going on downtown, Jack credits Josh Nichols,Morris Bank, and Townsend Funeral home for their efforts in improving the new commercial viability which evolved from the opening of the Blackbird."I would like to be more involved in the revitalization efforts of downtown Dublin. Though owning a business requires a lot of time and makes it a bit difficult," Walker says."I'm going to do what I can."
"Brutal" is the word Jack uses to describe balancing his business interests with his acting career. With a flood of new opportunities, Walker wants to take advantage of a surge in his film roles, but at the same time wants to be involved in operating his businesses here by adding, "Regardless, we won't be moving away from Dublin. This is home and we love it here." Being not far from Atlanta and through the use of technology, Jack plans to continue a dual career. "I do some auditions at home on video and email them to casting directors for different projects. It takes all the awkward part out of the audition process," as he relates how hard it is to be away from home, believing that he would have more time with his kids than if he were living in New York or LA.
With Forest Whitaker, right, in "The Great Debaters."
With no less than seven films being released in 2009, this year has been a breakout one for Walker, who sees the doubling of his lifetime roles as a fluke. "It's unheard of to do this many films in a year especially in this market. I know that because from November until this mid July I have done nothing at all in film," he added. Walker credits his increase in work to his appearance as a pig farmer in The Great Debaters. "That film propelled me to a different level. Both Madea Goes To Jail and The People vs. Leo Frank happened specifically as a result of Debaters," said Walker, who, in Tyler Perry’’s latest Madea movie, portrayed Mr. Brackman, an amoral employer who gets his just deserts from co-star Keshia Knight Pulliam, of Cosby Show fame.
In three of this year’s roles, Jack Walker portrays historical characters. In the PBS production of We Shall Remain, Jack portrays Daniel Ross, a Scottish trader and the father of future Creek Indian chief, John Ross. "I was speaking Cherokee with a Scottish accent. I am fortunate that no one knows what that should sound like," Jack said in relating his fortune in part of a challenging and rewarding project. The film is available for viewing on the American Experience web site. In PBS’s The People vs. Leo Frank, Jack plays the role of John Black, the lead detective in the investigation of Leo Frank, an employee of an Atlanta pencil factory, who was convicted of the brutal child murder of Miss Mary Phagan in 1913. He enjoyed the experience of portraying a real person, though he was the one who bungled the investigation, thereby causing a lot of trouble. The movie is scheduled to premiere on PBS in February 2010.
Jack Walker loved the challenge of playing the racist in The Great Debaters, finding the role as a challenge in its body position, walk and dialect. His favorite character so far is a short film produced by the Doorpost Film Project as a metaphor for rescuing abused and neglected children. In the film due to be released on the studio’’s web site in September, Jack plays the role of a man who wakes up next to his burning car in purgatory, where he finds a little girl who helps guide him through to the other side, only to ultimately rescue her.
Jack Walker can’t see very far into his future. "Life is never what we plan so I will be surprised at whatever it delivers," Jack said. Though he hopes to continue doing great roles in TV and film and do them more often, he has put aside his youthful dreams of being a star. "Having children, being in love, experiencing incredible loss, loving a community, all of that changes things.
I have always loved the craft of acting and film making but now I'm free to pursue and to fail," he related. In the meanwhile, Jack Walker and his family are back home, happy with life, and right where they belong.