Back Story: Patrick Heusinger

patrick// photo by Kei Moreno

Jax native Patrick Heusinger is what one might call a rising star. The 1999 Douglas Anderson alum went on to Juilliard before stepping onto the national stage. He’s had roles on TV—Gossip Girl, 30 Rock—in movies—Black Swan, The Nanny Diaries—and on stage, notably in a national tour of the musical Spamalot. Most recently, he appeared opposite Tom Cruise in Jack Reacher: Never Go Back. A starring role in a new show, Absentia, is in the works, as well as a film currently titled Accommodations. Jax Mag spoke with Heusinger in November in between takes.

Did you always know you were going to be an actor? No. I was the class clown. I had a couple teachers, Mr. Perry and Mrs. Williamson, at James Weldon Johnson middle school. They said to me, “Listen, you’re really good at public speaking.” I thought, are you guys crazy? They convinced me, so I did the summer musical at Douglas Anderson and I was hooked.

Your family lives in Jax, right? Do you see them often? I come back as much as I can. It’s pretty difficult, being on the opposite side of the country… It’s a funny thing, I’ve lived in L.A. for almost six years, and in that time I’ve almost always been somewhere else. When we were in New Orleans, I was able to have my family come to the set and meet Tom [Cruise]… My parents always think it’s fun to watch [filming] the first day. The second day, they’re like, “We’re gonna go get lunch.”

What was it like doing all your own stunts in Jack Reacher? Tom wanted the female lead and the villain to do all their own stunts like he does. Thank God I had all those [childhood] football practices. It’s exhausting. The sun in Jacksonville can be grueling, and you have nothing left at the end of the process. Somehow you find it.

We heard you’re a Jaguars fan. I’m die hard, man. When I first got to New York City there wasn’t a fan club. So my buddy Jon Rand and I decided we should start one. Can you imagine what it’s like in a town that has the Jets and the Giants, and you walk into a bar and say, “Hey, can you put the Jaguars on?” But we convinced them, and every year a few more people would show up. The New York City chapter of the Bold City Brigade is the rollover of that group.

• Any advice for the team? My advice is gonna be as good as Blake Bortles giving me notes on how to act… But I’ll say this. The big one is body language. As an actor, when you throw an interception, the last place I want you to go is shoulders sagging and sad. All [your teammates] see that. Say, “I know that’s not the player that I am. I know I can lead this team to victory. I'm in the trenches with you." It shouldn't bring down the morale of the team. I want them all to be proud of the process. 

What’s coming up for you? I’m working on an independent film currently titled Accommodations. Directing and writing is a predominantly male dominated enterprise right now in the film industry. I’ve been on the lookout for great women writers and directors, and this script from this woman named Amy Miller Gross came to me. I loved it. I’ve worked with a lot of great directors, and she is nailing it.

Family: Mom, dad, older sis and younger bro

Fave Jax Food: Sushi at Kamiya 86

Nickname: Paddy