Wednesday, March 11, 2015

A Conversation with Actor Clay Chappell from the movie SELMA

by Cyrus Webb

One of the most talked about movies of the year has been Selma, and those associated with the film have been getting critical acclaim for their roles. One of those who is seeing his character the Registrar get quite a bit of attention is actor Clay Chappell.

“It’s been fantastic,” he says. “Such a ride since the movie came out, but it’s been a blessing. I’m honored to have been a part of it.”

When discussing what about acting initially spot to him Clay says this: “I watched my brothers in one-act plays growing up. I did a play at 10 years old and was told I was a natural born actor. I loved the feeling you get when you are performing. I loved the power in making someone else feel the way that I feel when I see a moving film.”

Over the years Clay has gotten the opportunity to be a part of great projects that have gotten a lot of buzz like Footloose and A Lesson Before Dying. “One of the great things about acting is that you get to be someone else for a little while,” he says. “It’s a lot of fun.”

One of the ways that people have found out about this roles and discussed the movie Selma has been through social media. “Twitter and Facebook allows me to meet others,” Clay says. “It is a great way to get out there and let people know what you have going on and what to look forward to.”

And what has been the key to his success? Clay says it’s being consistent. “You have to be persistent, keeping after it and sticking to it. One role can change your life. I credit my mom and my dad for bringing me up and letting me believe that I can accomplish anything and that all dreams are possible if you just stick with it good things will happen.”

Though Clay has been busy pursuing his own goals and dreams, he hasn’t been too busy to give back to others. “We have a playhouse that does wonderful productions. I love for them to ask me what they should be doing. It’s really a pleasure to pass along advice that I have.”

Going back to the scene in Selma that people continue talking about starring Clay and Oprah, he says it was “truly a blessing.” Like many others he watched the Oprah Winfrey Show and dreamed about one day being on the couch talking with Oprah. “To do a scene with her was really remarkable.”
Talking about the message of Selma, Clay says “it’s so uplifting and powerful. It shows what you can accomplish with strategy and people coming together. (Selma is) everything that a great movie should be.”

Regardless of playing one of the “bad guys” in Selma, Clay says that “most of my comments were we know you really are a nice guy.” He then added with a laugh: “I was happy with it, was proud of it. Oprah was pretty good herself.”

Clay says that being a part of Selma also confirmed for him that he “wants to keep acting, doing good projects that mean something.”

What advice does he give about the importance of pursuing your goals and dreams? “You just can’t give up. If you’re passionate about it, good things will happen if you just keep striving. I know that if I keep working hard I’ll be blessed with more opportunities. Don’t define yourself by a certain pinnacle. If you have something you love to do and you’re working towards it learn to embrace it and enjoy the ride. Enjoy the journey of actually doing it.”

Selma is in theaters now. Stay connected with Clay on Twitter at

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