Local actor/director appears in crime flick ‘White Boy Rick’

Alan Bomar Jones, a resident artist of the Human Race Theatre Company, is excited to have been a part of Matthew McConaughey’s latest flick “White Boy Rick,” a powerful tale based on a true story of crime and drugs in 1980s Detroit.

In the gritty film, released Sept. 14, Jones plays Willie Volsan, a dirty cop taken down by impressionable Richard Wershe Jr. (newcomer Richie Merritt), who at age 14 became the youngest-ever FBI informant in Detroit’s drug scene. Along the way, and with the approval of his dad Richard Sr. (McConaughey), Rick becomes a drug dealer, leading to a life sentence in prison in 1987 at age 17. The film, which also features retired Riverside police sergeant Donald Wesley White Jr. as dirty cop Jimmy Harris, was primarily shot in Cleveland.

Jones’ time on set was brief, but he praises his leading actors. He worked more with Merritt, a Baltimore teenager plucked from obscurity to make his screen acting debut, but acknowledges McConaughey’s dedication and friendliness.

“Richie hadn’t acted a day in his life but was very humble about being in his first film,” he said. “Matthew is so professional and is a really nice individual.”

Having memorably appeared in such Human Race productions as “Thurgood,” “Race,” “A Christmas Carol,” and “Permanent Collection,” Jones, who notably directed an excellent production of “Mary Poppins” last season for Children’s Performing Arts of Miamisburg, remains pleased about Ohio’s ability to build a film industry. Tax incentives continue to keep Hollywood scouting prime locations across the state, particularly in Southwest Ohio. In fact, “The Old Man and the Gun,” partially shot in downtown Dayton and reportedly Robert Redford’s final screen performance, will open Oct. 12 with a special preview screening Oct. 11 at the Neon Movies as a benefit for FilmDayton.

“I’m used to going away and spending two months performing in a play, but I can’t afford to be away for that length of time anymore so it’s a blessing as an actor to have more films coming to Ohio,” Jones explained. “I go to every audition that’s coming to Ohio although I know auditions are a crapshoot. But I have two more films I’ve done that will be out (next year). I play a judge in ‘Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile,’ which is the story of Ted Bundy starring Zac Efron, and I also appear as a detective in ‘Native Son’ featuring Ashton Sanders who played young Chiron in the Academy Award-winning film ‘Moonlight.’ Both films were shot in Ohio. It’s great to know that whenever films are shot in Ohio there must be a certain amount of local actors cast. ”

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