Jesse the stuttering mechanic from The Fast and the Furious is portrayed by actor Chad Lindberg, but if left to his own devices, Lindberg would never have accepted the invitation to audition for the minor but iconic role. In this Film Courage clip, Chad talks about the important lesson he learned early on in his acting career, and he wants to make sure other actors heed his advice.

As a young man, the Washington native had a success under his belt with his performance as one of the Rocket Boys, Sherman O’Dell, in the biopic October Sky. Lindberg acted alongside the likes of Jake Gyllenhaal and Laura Dern, and the coming-of-age film received critical acclaim.

In turn, Lindberg had formulated his own ideas about the entertainment business and how he was going to fit into it. So when his agent presented him with an opportunity to audition for a film that would later come to be titled The Fast and the Furious, Chad rejected the invitation–twice! After all, the role didn’t fit into the vision he had for his career. Why waste his time with roles that weren’t going to amount to anything?

“I was being a brat!” Lindberg now says.

Eventually, an associate of Chad’s agent called him, attempting to reason with the picky actor and encouraging him to show up and read for the part.

Turns out, Chad reluctantly went in for the audition–and booked the part! Still, he didn’t believe the movie would really go far. “I was so locked into this brain of mine,” he explains. So much for Chad’s instincts; The Fast and the Furious, with a $38 million budget, went on to reap $207 worldwide, and the 2001 film served as the first installment of the Fast & Furious franchise which is currently the sixth-highest grossing film series of all time.

Realizing just how determined he was to pass on the opportunity to audition for the action-packed film, Lindberg is now eternally grateful for having gone in for the role as it completely changed his life for the better.

In retrospect, Chad says, “It taught me again, you never, never, never know.” He now advises actors: “Don’t turn down an audition. Don’t be silly … Keep your mind open. Appreciate what you have. If [an opportunity] comes when you’re 19, or if it comes when you’re 40, just appreciate that moment.”

Indeed, there’ve been many times when Chad says he’s been asked to audition for roles that he’s certain he’ll never get, but to his surprise, he’s landed quite a few of those parts. “You show them something that they didn’t think about, and then you end up getting it. It’s happened a lot of the times. And then it does challenge you to go deeper and to get in the mind of someone else.” 

The Washington native has portrayed the paranormal-tracking computer guy Ash in the TV series Supernatural, a meth dealer in Sons of Anarchy, as well as many other film and television roles. Most recently, he starred in the action-thriller film Security alongside Antonio Banderas and Ben Kingsley.

Although Lindberg made a name for himself as a character actor early on in his career, he still works just as hard as ever. He’s continuously growing as an actor, refining his craft, and growing in self-confidence. Now 41 years old, Lindberg has another helpful nugget of advice–this time, it deals with memorizing lines.

He says, “Actors, pay attention. It’s a really great thing. Every phone has a voice recorder. So I will go, and I will take the sides, and I’ll read every line–even if it’s not my line–I will read the entire scene out loud at a very monotone voice. And then I’ll replay that over and over and over again. And you go in the next day, and it will be memorized.”

 

 

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