Centre alum hits the big time on stage and screen
RELEASED: March 16, 2006
—by Rachel Parsons '06
DANVILLE, KYCentre College alumnus James Horan is hitting the big time. Horan, who graduated in 1976 with a degree in English, recently starred in The Visitation, along with Edward Furlong and Martin Donovan.
Horan professes high regard for Visitation director, Danville native Robby Henson. “I’d work with Robby again in a heartbeat,” says Horan, who also notes that making the film was a great experience. Henson's previous films include The Badge, starring Billy Bob Thornton, and Pharaoh's Army, a Civil War drama that was shot in and around Danville and starred Chris Cooper, Patricia Clarkson, Kris Kristofferson and Will Lucas, son of Mark Lucas, Jobson Professor of English.
Horan began his acting career while still a student at Centre. A former runner and football player, Horan decided to give acting a try because injuries kept him out of competitive sports. "I played football for two years as starting offensive guard, but I got too banged up— knees were getting slammed too often," he says. "I decided to try acting my third year."
That turned out to be a good decision. His first role was the Marquis de Sade in MARAT/SADE, an experience he calls a "baptism by fire." After leaving Centre, Horan chose to further hone his skills by pursuing a master’s degree in acting from the University of Iowa. Since then, he has made numerous television appearances, including a recent stint on Lost. Horan also played alongside Mira Sorvino and Robert Duvall in Gods and Generals. His career highlight to date, he says, was working with Clint Eastwood on the film Flags of our Fathers.
"Just getting to meet him was an honor— to see how he spoke and moved around the set. Everyone treated him like royalty, which indeed he is in Hollywood. But he also does great work," said Horan.
Though Horan is proud of his screen credits, he admits that the stage is his passion. Currently Horan, who resides in the San Fernando Valley in California, is working as both actor and director for the play No Second Trumpet.
"Theater is my first love and why I started acting," Horan says. "To have the time to truly explore a character in rehearsal in a piece that's hopefully well written and developed is challenging and fun. Then to perform it in front of different audiences every night is an ancient ritual that I find thrilling and honorable, almost religious."
Horan believes that his Centre education has been a real asset to him in the acting business. He credits both the school and professors with giving him unique perspectives and stimulating his imagination."My Centre liberal arts education certainly taught me to look at a problem or situation from all sides, and for that I'm eternally grateful. I had some wonderful teachers who opened my mind to new, unprejudiced ways of seeing and approaching philosophy, literature and works of art."
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Founded in 1819, Centre College is ranked among the U.S. News top 50 national liberal arts colleges. Centre alumni, known for their nation-leading loyalty in annual financial support, include two U.S. vice presidents and two Supreme Court justices. For more, visit http://www.centre.edu/web/elevatorspeech/
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