Former Georgia football player Chase Vasser ditches playbooks, picks up scripts
BY CONNOR SMOLENSKY
Chase Vasser, seen here during a Dawg Walk as a Georgia player, transitioned quickly into an acting career. EVAN STICHLER gday
Vasser spent his summers as a young kid sculpting pottery, cooking and sewing. His mom didn’t want Vasser and his brother to be all about sports and enrolled her sons in these classes to become a better-rounded individual.
“She wanted us to be the man and the wife, in a way,” Vasser said. “Know how to cook, clean, sew, everything.”
One summer she got Vasser into singing, which led to involvement in dramas and school plays. Vasser fell in love with acting, and that passion followed him to Georgia where he graduated with a degree in consumer economics and a minor in theatre.
But most people know Vasser as a football player. In his four seasons of eligibility at Georgia, Vasser appeared in 28 games, making five starts, and collected 39 tackles. He was a backup outside linebacker for much of his career and had his season cut short in 2012 due to season-ending shoulder surgery.
Vasser’s football career is over, but a potentially bigger career is just beginning. Vasser announced Monday that he will have a role in the new season of “The Walking Dead” and has already agreed to play the role of a drug addict in an independent film that begins production in late April.
Due to his contract, Vasser was unable to unveil the name of the film, but has already lost 27 pounds in order to fit the description of a drug addict. The Gainesville native has completely changed his diet from his playing days and has been eating mainly fruits for breakfast, a light lunch and protein for dinner.
Vasser must still lose 12 pounds by the end of April and will really start to crack down on his diet once he finishes up shooting a web series called “Driving Home,” where he is playing an attorney right out of college.
“I kind of took on the whole method acting (approach) where I completely engulf and immerse my entire self into the role I’ve got,” he said. “I have until the end of April, and right now they want me look like a drug addict. I want to look swell, I want to look like I’m at rock bottom. It’s fun testing, seeing how everybody changes and how good you can become.”
This film is just one part of a two-year plan that Vasser’s career coach, Mike Pniewski, has laid out for him.
“Right now I’m just doing a lot of resume builders, doing some short films, student films, some web series right now,” Vasser said. “I got (a few) little resume builders underneath my belt, some credits.”
In two years, Vasser plans to move to Los Angeles, where he will hopefully be ready to take on the starring roles in some bigger projects. Only three months removed from college, Vasser has been located mainly in Atlanta, where he is taking acting classes at Creative Studios of Atlanta.
He meets with his acting coach, B.J. Winfrey, twice a week, once in class and once individually. Winfrey is an established actor, as he has been featured in “Army Wives,” “Drop Dead Diva,” and, most recently, “Sabotage” with Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Vasser finds comfort in Winfrey’s experience, and, according to his acting coach, Vasser displays a determination unlike Winfrey has ever seen.
“He is probably one of the most motivated students I have ever had.” Winfrey said. “He’s ready to have class twice a week, he wants feedback three times a week. He wants coaching with me outside of regular class, as well.”
Since working with Winfrey, Vasser can notice a big improvement in his acting and thinks that he has become more believable in front of the camera. Each session with Winfrey is treated like an audition, and Vasser will have one day to learn the script before performing in front of the camera.
Vasser is critiqued after every session, but Winfrey has been pleased with what he has seen from the former linebacker. It is the way that Vasser carries himself, as well as his athleticism, which makes Winfrey believe Vasser has the potential to play many different roles.
“The way he carries himself, his height, how he carries himself with a good amount of confidence, kind of good looks and his blue eyes and everything.” Winfrey said. He is the type of guy, if they want him to do a role they know he is there. That’s something that the camera really likes.”
Although he is only three months out of college, Vasser has already seen where his talents can take him. After auditioning, Vasser was offered a role in USA Network’s “Suits.” He was unable to take the role, but the opportunity gave him a little glimpse of what his future could be.
“I am unable to take the role because of the commitment I made to the movie that I’m doing,” Vasser said. “Talk about heartbreak, because I am a huge ‘Suits’ fan. It just builds my confidence knowing I’m doing the things I need to do to make this dream a reality for me.”