Walking red carpets, dropping extravagant sums on shopping sprees, dodging paparazzi — this, many of us imagine, is the life of an actor. But Jeremy Dozier, who stars on the big screen in the just-released “Dirty Girl,” knows a far different reality. When he’s not going out on auditions, the 25-year-old spends most of his days working at Universal Studios, showing ticket holders to their seats on the Terminator ride.
“When ‘Dirty Girl’ wrapped, it was kind of like back to reality — ‘Oh, I need to pay bills now,’” Dozier recalled on a recent afternoon at an Echo Park diner. “So I got a day job. It’s a fun job. I’m a people person. And it’s so much better than working in an office.”
Growing up in a small town outside Houston, Dozier dreamed of being an actor. He attended the University of Texas at Austin, first majoring in government because his family made him feel he was “supposed to choose something practical to do with [his] life.” But he ended up studying theater too, even picking up a local agent who would send him out for parts in productions that came to town.
It was that agent who first told Dozier about “Dirty Girl.” The film, released by the Weinstein Co. on Friday, centers on two friends in Oklahoma who are struggling to be accepted at their high school. Dozier has the role of Clarke, a closeted gay teen whose father is itching to send him to military school. He befriends the school’s most promiscuous girl, Danielle — played by Juno Temple — and the two set out on a road trip to California in the hopes of finding a better life.
In Los Angeles, the filmmakers had auditioned about 400 young men for the role of Clarke but hadn’t found what they were looking for, so they put out a nationwide casting call. At the time (late 2007), Dozier was a senior in college — so at 3 a.m., between studying for exams, he filmed an audition tape in his dorm room.
“I ripped the sheets off the bed and posted them on the wall to make it look more professional,” he said, scoffing at his naivete. “I took all the lamps in the room to light me properly. And then I sent it off to the casting director and didn’t really think twice about it.”