A father who self-medicated to treat his depression with alcohol and drugs has set his sights on Hollywood after a conversation with movie star Mark Wahlberg inspired him to unlock an acting talent that has led him to film alongside Samuel L. Jackson. .
Jamie Humphrey, 33, worked as a security guard on the set of the film infinite in 2019 when a chance encounter with Wahlberg became instrumental in rebuilding his life and following his dreams of being an actor.
Jamie, originally from Sittingbourne, Kent, UK, whose wife, Lisa, 27, is a homemaker and looks after their five children, recounted: “I was working on a film set, looking after Mark Wahlberg’s trailer. I didn’t expect to actually meet him, but one day he stopped by to talk to me.”
He added: “It was only a two-minute conversation, but it ended up changing my life.
“He stopped and asked me about myself and what my dreams were. I told him that I wanted to be like him and earn money like him, that my dream since I was little was to be an actor.
“He told me, ‘Well, what are you doing standing here?'”
He added: “I didn’t expect Mark to stop and talk to me, but he was such a nice guy.”
The pep talk came at the end of four difficult years, beginning with the death of his beloved grandmother on December 1, 2015, who died in her sleep of natural causes.
“She was 80 years old and it was a very traumatic experience for me, because I was with her when she died and it sent me into a depression hole.”
For Jamie, who has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), meaning differences in brain activity and development that affect attention, the years that followed were a dark time.
“I was just trying to get by, to put food on the table for my family, but I was hitting rock bottom for myself in terms of mental health.
“I admit I turned to drugs and alcohol and didn’t know how I was going to get out of the rut I was in.”
Surprisingly, it was Mark Wahlberg’s frank words that were his catalyst for change.
“It was like a light switch had been flipped. Suddenly a spark had been lit.
“I started looking for acting roles as an extra, or small parts that I could audition for.”
“I made a post on Facebook explaining about my mental health and how I really wanted to be an actor,” he said.
“By chance, he came across a Bengali casting director who messaged me and offered me a day on set as an extra.”
Filming was taking place in Windsor, Berkshire, but with a large family to support, Jamie didn’t know how she would be able to attend.
He said: “My dad was always my biggest supporter and he was just as determined as I was to make this happen.
“I talked to him about the opportunity and he offered to pay for my train ticket.
“It was an incredible day. I had no idea what to expect, but I loved the atmosphere, and even though I was supposed to be an extra, I ended up getting a small speaking role as well.”
This first contact with acting hooked Jamie and he began to look for more opportunities.
“After that, I acted in a Nazi film, Swastik Sanket, playing a leading role,” he narrated.
“The movie was a number one hit in Tollywood, which is Indian cinema shot in the Telugu language.”
Since then, Jamie’s career has been on the upswing, with two movies coming out this year: Gangs of London Y Victor.
“I’m not going to pretend I’m making thousands of pounds from movies, but everyone has to start somewhere and the more roles and bigger movies I get cast in, the more money I can make,” he said.
And this time, when tragedy struck and he lost his father Kevin, 59, to complications from covid-19 in December 2020, despite his immense pain, he honored the memory of the father he loved so much by following his road.
He said: “My dad has always been my support so losing him was just devastating as we were very close but I was determined to carry on for him.”
Just over a year after her father’s death, Jamie attended her first red carpet event for the National Social Media Awards, where she focused on commemorating her late father.
“I wouldn’t have been on that rug if it wasn’t for my father’s unwavering support, so it felt wrong to be there and not do something special for him,” she confessed.
“I wore a T-shirt that had my dad’s face on it with the words ‘We Made It’ printed on it too. It was very special to me, because I feel like my dad and I were in this together.
“I will always be grateful for what he did for me.”
Now, Jamie has her sights set on the bright lights of Hollywood.
“I am working on arranging my visas and immigration documents, so that I can permanently move to Los Angeles with my family.
“I want to get a real shot at being an actor, and what better place to do it than Hollywood?”
As Jamie makes this big move, he regularly travels to Los Angeles, USA, in search of work.
“Part of the immigration process means I need three years of work in America, so I’ve been going to audition and make connections.
“Even my children have gotten used to accompanying me on film sets and have had a couple of cameos in the movies I’ve done,” he said.
Still struggling to come to terms with how much her life has changed since the casual conversation with Mark Wahlberg, Jamie is really starting to achieve her dreams.
“I recently shot a TV show with Samuel L. Jackson that I can’t say much about, but it’s still so surreal.
“Mark inspired me to follow my dreams and I am determined to make it happen.”