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OSU theater teaching assistant shows off talents in ‘Love and Other Drugs’

Jeff Barnett / Lantern photographer

Kevin McClatchy never spoke aloud about a dream he kept in the back of his mind until the age of 23 — his desire to act. Years later, and unlike many other actors, he has an acting career that is far from struggling.

McClatchy is a second-year graduate teaching assistant in the theater department at Ohio State and was most recently featured in the 2010 film “Love and Other Drugs,” starring Anne Hathaway and Jake Gyllenhaal.

The dark-haired, 6-foot McClatchy played the character Justin, Hathaway’s date, when she encounters Gyllenhaal in a restaurant near the end of the film.

He exchanged contact information with Hathaway and Gyllenhaal, but won’t be hanging out with them anytime soon, he joked.

“It was fun to work with those guys,” he said. “It was brief, but it was awesome.”

He was also featured in 2010’s “Unstoppable” starring Denzel Washington and co-star Kevin Dunne. He was the character Hoffman, the lawyer who manufacturers the runaway train, he said.

McClatchy still stays in communication with Dunne.

Landing these Hollywood roles was not an easy task. It took years of acting experience and courage to quit a stable job to move to New York City and pursue his unintended dream.

“I was convinced to be a newspaper writer or on the next ‘60 Minutes,'” he said. But, “I definitely had the thought in the back of my mind (to act).”

McClatchy attended Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Va. He graduated with a degree in journalism and English and played on the basketball team.

Two and a half years after graduation, he quit his job at a sports marketing firm in Philadelphia to move to New York to learn how to act.

Greg Zittel and Wynn Handman, who also taught Washington, were his teachers.

With gained experience, McClatchy joined three theater companies and met his first manager, Mary Erickson, who helped him snag his “first professional gig” on the soap opera, “Guiding Light.”

“She was the one who believed in the fact that I could have an acting career, and that was awesome,” McClatchy said. “I remember walking into her office for the first time and I saw an Oscar (belonging to Sandy Dennis from the ‘60s) and thought holy mackerel … I’m in the right place.”

McClatchy said getting Erickson as his manager was his “incredible break” because clients belonging to the managing company, Bill Treusch Management, were pretty big names at the time. He mentioned clients such as Christopher Walken and Melissa Leo.

Jimmy Bohr, assistant professor in OSU’s theater department, was casting director of “Guiding Light” when McClatchy landed his role on the show. Thus, Bohr gave him his first “major contract role,” Bohr said. He later cast McClatchy on the soap opera “Another World.”

In 1999, McClatchy took his talent and plump resume to Los Angeles to get a take at primetime TV; he guest starred in episodes of “X-Files,” “The Practice,” “ER,” “NCIS” and “That ‘70s Show.”

When his daughter Eirann was born, McClatchy settled in Columbus to be near his wife, Lisa, whose parents are OSU alumni. Lisa is a children’s book author; the couple met in New York City.

McClatchy declined to comment on his age.

McClatchy and Lisa then formed an Irish Theatre Company based in Columbus called Carrickmacross, which is the town in Ireland Lisa’s grandfather’s family is from.

“We envisioned creating film and theater work with an Irish-American theme,” Lisa said.

They have had two productions so far at Carrickmacross — “Stones In His Pockets” and “The Blowin of Baile Gall” — and a short film, “On Watch,” which McClatchy starred in and wrote.

McClatchy said the “Stones In His Pockets” performance was the most “pivotal experience” in his acting career.

“It confirmed that if you do what you love, great things are going to happen,” he said.

Lisa encouraged McClatchy to go back to school to earn his Master of Fine Arts.

Bohr said McClatchy “has been a wonderful asset” to OSU’s MFA program.

Through the program, McClatchy had the opportunity to practice Shakespeare for the first time in his career, in the production “Othello.”

“Othello” put on its first performance Feb. 10 and will run until Feb. 28 at the Roy Bowen Theatre.

McClatchy switches between the roles of the villain, Iago, and Brabantio and Montano with Aaron Zook, another graduate teaching assistant in the theater department.

“I think Aaron and I would say we both like playing Iago more because he is the second most villainous character in Shakespeare,” McClatchy said.

Zook concurred.

“Iago has been one my dream roles for years,” Zook said.

Alison Bomber of the Royal Shakespeare Company, and guest director of Othello, said the point of switching roles was to “explore new interpretations of the language (of Shakespeare).”

Zook said he doesn’t mind the switch because it ensures everyone gets significant roles and he and McClatchy help each other figure out Iago’s character.

“We are constantly trading ideas … talking about what is going on in the creepy guy’s brain (Iago),” he said.

Zook, unlike McClatchy, has had quite a few takes at performing Shakespeare prior to attending OSU.

McClatchy found his first Shakespearian experience a tad challenging, he said.

“The challenge is that it is so much about making the language clear,” McClatchy said.

However, he wasn’t discouraged and said he would “absolutely” do it again.

“After Kevin graduates he will have many opportunities,” Lisa said. “I know his future will be one in which he will continue to pursue both his love of teaching and performing.”

After completing his MFA program, McClatchy doesn’t know “what the future will hold,” but said he is certain he isn’t done pursuing his dream of acting.

“I still have every intention of acting as a professional actor in film, television and stage,” McClatchy said.

 

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