Town Drunk. Salvage Yard Worker. Church Member. Pedestrian. Purple Victim.
These are the characters Paul Worley of Brookfield has played in films and on TV shows, as listed on his IMDb page.
Having rediscovered acting about 10 years ago, Worley is always on the hunt for roles he can play, whether large or small, studio film or student film.
“I do everything I can,” Worley said. “I figure the bigger the resume the better chances people are gonna go, ‘Oh, yeah, you did this and this. We want you, too.’”
That resume now runs to more than 40 films, he said.
Worley acted as a child in church productions at Central Christian Church of Hermitage, and on the Brookfield High School stage under the direction of Velina Jo (Warren) Taylor. Remember “The Clumsy Custard Horror Show” and “Play On”?
He moved onto other things – he is celebrating his 20th anniversary of owning Bennie’s Comics and Cards in Sharon, and the store’s 40th anniversary since it was opened by Ben Manila – but rediscovered acting at a comic book convention.
“The guy who was producing the show was going around to all the dealers and saying, ‘Hey, I need an extra for a funeral scene,’” Worley said. “Yeah, sure, I’ll do it. Why not? When I showed up on set that day, the temperature outside for the funeral was less than 10 degrees, and it was windy cold. I think not a single extra showed up, except me, and one of the actors did not show up. I got promoted from extra to having a speaking part in that movie. I just fell in love with it. I’ve been doing it ever since.”
That movie was “Midnight Massacre,” which Worley described as “kind of an updated version of Julius Caesar.”
Worley can be seen in “Engineering Tragedy: The Ashtabula Train Disaster.” It premiered in two sold-out shows Dec. 11, and will be shown on Erie PBS station WQLN at 8 p.m. Dec. 29. Following that airing, the film will become available to other PBS stations.
The train disaster occurred Dec. 19, 1876, when a bridge failed and a train plummeted 76 feet, killing 92 from the injuries suffered in the fall or the resulting fire. Worley plays President Rutherford B. Hayes, who lost a cousin in the tragedy.
“It’s local history,” Worley said of his attraction to the film. “I’m very much involved with that. If I can get more involved with it by doing this, then it’s a win-win situation for me.”
Worley appeared in eight of the 10 episodes of the Netflix series “One Dollar,” and was a crooked deputy in “Brokedown,” one of several films he has acted in for John Reign, the Shenango Valley-based director, writer and producer, and Reign’s Polestar Pictures.
“Paul does really well with certain characterizations,” Reign said. “I would say (his niche is) middle-aged guy, sidekick sort of a character. I think he also adds some comic relief. I would cast him as drunk in the bar, or something like that.”
“He tries to give it 110 percent, whatever he’s going up for,” Reign said.
Worley said he likes roles that challenge him emotionally.
“Going from being terrified to crying over the death of someone to bringing some humor into things, having that swing of emotions is probably the most rewarding,” he said.
Worley said he finds many of his roles from websites that list casting notices. He often auditions by taping a video of himself performing a snippet of the script.
Coming up, Worley was filmed in “Escape From Muddy Run” and “Red Zombie,” both of which will will come out next year, and a Netflix movie starring Adam Driver that has been called “Wheat Germ,” although Worley believes the title has been changed
And, he will play in Reign’s next film, “Vampire Penance,” which is slated to shoot in the spring.
“Just to keep doing it and have fun with it,” Worley said of his acting goal.