Jason Burkey views film as well-told story on abortion issues

Jason Burkey is no stranger to the entertainment industry. He has starred in two television pilots and various movies, such as "Thin Ice" and “Writers’ Block,” but his latest role as Jason in “October Baby” shows the young star has more complexities.

Burkey phoned in to The State Press to discuss his role in the movie and its foundation.

The State Press: What drew you to “October Baby”?

Jason Burkey: I worked with the Erwins (Jon and Andrew) before in a television pilot with the same cast and crew from this movie. We kind of built this close-knit family. The show didn’t pick up, but we knew we wanted to work together.

They sent us the script for “October Baby,” and they had the parts written with us in mind.

SP: How has this role differed from previous ones?

JB: I’ve played some other more challenging roles that were the opposite of my personality. This one was tailored to my personality. It wasn’t much of a stretch for me to play this character.

This is a topic that I didn’t know much about though. I wasn’t aware of abortion survivors. I discovered a lot more about the topic of abortion after doing this film. (This role was) an eye-opener.

SP: If you could give your character advice, what would it be?

JB: Man up and dump your girlfriend. She’s not good for you! Go for the girl that you love. I think that he’s always been there for her.

SP: What inspired you to become an actor?

JB: It all began in the 7th grade. I had a small solo in “Little House On The Prairie.” There was something about having a room full of people laugh and react to what you were doing onstage. It was a powerful thing to me, even back then. I was hooked from that point.

It wasn’t until four years ago that I considered acting and started pursuing it as a career. I kind of craved it. I loved auditions and doing theater. I love the feeling of opening nights and the excitement there. I’ve always loved it, and I’ve always been an outgoing guy. That somehow never scared me to get out there and perform.

SP: If you could work with any actor or actress, who would it be?

JB: My dream is to be in a World War II movie. I’ve been fascinated with World War II. It felt like even though it was obviously a global war, it was romantic — the whole writing letters to the girls back home thing. That whole era is great.

I’d love to work with Kyle Chandler. I really have a lot of respect for him as an actor. I think teaming up with him would be epic. It’d be fun and challenging.

SP: How do you feel people will react to this particular portrayal of abortion?

JB: Everyone will have an opinion. It’s a sensitive issue, so we’ve seen a little bit of that. For the most part, people are responding positively to the film. The great thing about this film is that it’s not forcing a view on anyone. It’s simply a well-told story, and that’s what the Erwins set out to do from the beginning. It’s their job to tell a good story. It happens to be about an abortion survivor, which is a real thing.

The movie has these universal themes about forgiveness, hope and the typical love story. The audience will be able to connect with this.

SP: What are your plans for the future?

JB: I’m taking it as it comes. It’s what you do as an actor. You’re waiting to see what’s around the corner, but you’re constantly working on your craft and waiting for the next opportunity. I’m excited to see what the future holds after this release.

Reach the reporter at lrogoff@asu.edu

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