Dallas native William McGovern lands acting roles in New Orleans film scene
Hard work and an amiable disposition are proving to be the most important tools in William McGovern’s construction of his acting career.
The 28-year-old Dallas native, who currently resides in New Orleans, played a role in the award-winning 2014 short film “True Heroes” and starred alongside Eric Roberts in the 2015 romantic comedy “Love Me True.” He continues to land roles and build a resume while expanding his network in The Big Easy.
The Lake-Lehman graduate said he got into theater around age 15 after having a “falling out” with sports.
“I did one show, ‘South Pacific,’ and I was soldier with a tenor solo,” McGovern said. “It was a very small part, but I really enjoyed it.”
A few months later, McGovern joined the Wilkes-University Conservatory, where, he said, he learned a lot from acting instructor Corinna Sowers-Adler.
“She’s incredible,” McGovern said. “She’s now in New York doing her own cabarets. She was part of the reason I went to Wilkes for college.”
After paying his dues as a freshman, McGovern went on to play a large role in the ensemble cast of “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.”
“There are competitions every year called the KCACTFs (Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival),” McGovern said. “The country is broken into regions for these competitions. Out of nine states in our region, they pick nine shows to perform at these award ceremonies, and we go selected.”
McGovern said he considers Wilkes Associate Dean of Performing Arts Joseph C. Dawson to be among his mentors as well. McGovern graduated in December 2011 and moved to Louisiana in January 2012, where a slow start gave way to more frequent opportunity.
“Things really took off in New Orleans,” McGovern said. “I got hired by a theater company (Southern Rep Theatre), and that broke me into meeting people.”
One of those people, writer and director Chris Ganucheau, cast McGovern in his short film about a boy who escapes reality by using his imagination to bring fantastic adventures to life.
“True Heroes” went on to win the Louisiana Film Prize, which comes with both distinction and $50,000, which, according to McGovern, is the largest cash prize for any short film competition.
“It eventually made the short list for Oscar nomination,” McGovern said, describing the list as the “nominations to be nominated.”
When McGovern took on his role in “Love Me True,” he expected to participate in a small, independent feature directed by then-college-age filmmaker Kirby Voss.
“Then the right people saw it,” McGovern said. “(Producer) Felicia Stallard is one of the most amazing people I’ve ever met. She gave us money to produce and then we got Eric Roberts.”
The plot follows struggling writer Eric (Andrew Gude) whose phobia of dark-haired women becomes troublesome when he falls for a brunette.
“My character is Stanley, the lovable best friend who comes out of nowhere,” McGovern said. “He’s almost an adult child and helps Eric find it in his heart to get over his phobia.”
Currently represented by industry veterans Lawrence and Fiona Turner at the Louisiana Town Agency, McGovern is getting a lot of auditions, many of which he cannot talk about due to non-disclosure agreements.
He did mention that he continues to work with Voss and Ganucheau.
“Kirby has a feature we’re supposed to be doing together sometime in the next year or so called ‘Fulsome Louisiana,’” McGovern said. “It’s an adult drama/thriller about a group that get’s together once a year to play paintball. Some of them deal with PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder), and some of them do it just for the thrill.”
Preparing to go to a theater — where several of his most recent short films would show — as he commented on his career thus far, McGovern was clear about the effort of the people around him in helping him develop.
“Be nice to people, and they’ll be nice to you,” he said. “Work hard for people and they’ll work hard for you. It’s a group effort, and I have my core group of people down here. That’s my philosophy.”
Reach Matt Mattei at 570-991-6651 or on Twitter @TimesLeaderMatt.
‘Love Me True’ starring Dallas native William McGovern and Eric Roberts is available on amazon.com.