NOW STREAMING: Catch Dayton native in new Netflix documentary ‘Operation Varsity Blues’

Credit: William Christopher Stephens

Credit: William Christopher Stephens

Dayton native William Christopher Stephens is showing off his acting chops in the new documentary “Operation Varsity Blues” on Netflix.

The documentary sheds light on the college-admissions scandal that included celebrities such as Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman. In the film’s re-enactments, Stephens plays Rudy Meredith, a former women’s soccer coach at Yale University who was accused of taking bribes to admit athletes into the school’s program.

For the past two decades, Stephens has been living out his dream in California, starring in many major films and television shows, including “The Avengers,” “The Strain” and “The Mentalist.” Before he made the move to California, the Dayton native pursued acting and theater at Meadowdale High School in Harrison Twp. After appearing in several theater productions there, Stephens joined the Army National Guard.

In the early ‘90s, Stephens moved back to Dayton to study theater at Sinclair Community College before enrolling in The American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York City.

“I remember getting there and just looking up at the buildings and just feeling like I was a part of the industry,” Stephens said. “It was a different kind of energy. It was amazing.”

Credit: William Christopher Stephens

Credit: William Christopher Stephens

While studying in New York City, Stephens appeared in several Off-Broadway productions with the Roundabout Theatre Company. After a two-year stint in New York City, Stephens came back to Ohio and completed an undergraduate degree in theater at Ohio State University. Shortly after studying in Columbus, Stephens got his start in the industry with a small part in Steven Soderbergh’s “Traffic.”

While preparing for his role on “Operation Varsity Blues,” Stephens thoroughly researched the life of Yale University soccer coach Rudy Meredith and found an element of humanity in his story.

“We have a guy who got into something that sounded lucrative, and nobody would get hurt,” Stephens said. “Most people look at him as a bad guy, but he is really flawed like every other human being. He just got overly ambitious.”

Meredith’s story took a turn towards the end of the investigation when the FBI took an interest in his illegal operations. In fact, it was through the investigation and interrogation of Meredith that the FBI was able to learn more about the mastermind behind the illegal operation headed by William “Rick” Singer.

Apart from his work in major films and television shows, you also might recognize Stephens (or at least his voice) from popular video games, including “Mortal Kombat 11,” “Battlefield: Hardline” and “World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth.” Stephens has been an avid fan of video games from an early age, so this work in major video games has been a dream come true for him.

Credit: William Christopher Stephens

Credit: William Christopher Stephens

According to Stephens, doing voice-over work for video games is much more intense than one might imagine.

“The video game industry is moving towards voiceover and motion-capture that requires actors to wear a suit with sensors that capture their movements and things like that,” Stephens said. “Sometimes, you’ll have the headgear on, which uses facial capture and facial recognition to catch your expressions. Overall, you get a chance to use your entire instrument. It’s almost like doing a play wearing some crazy equipment.”

In the coming months, Stephens will be appearing in a few new projects. Apart from appearing in yet another Netflix project (he can’t give us the details about the project just yet), Stephens is currently doing voice work for a new 2D point-and-click video game called “Voodoo Detective.”

“Operation Varsity Blues” is available for streaming on Netflix now. To keep up with Stephens’ latest projects, pay a visit to his Instagram page.

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