By Annie Nelson
Tall, dark, and handsome describes the former Green Beret turned firefighter and now actor Jeff Bosley. You’ve seen him on the screen in Take Point, Seal Team, Ray Donovan, and Brooklyn Nine-Nine. He plays Nomad in the video game Call of Duty: Black Ops III. He’s a true-life hero who served in the Special Forces–a secret society of the nation’s finest warriors that nobody knows, ones who are in it for the honor but never get the glory.
So how on earth did this Idaho native go from down-home good ol’ boy to badass Special Forces guy to a first responder …and then finally settle in the land of make believe? Join me as I learn a bit about Jeff–how he got to where he is today and where he’s headed.
Tell me a little about why you chose to go into the Army, then on to Special Forces …. what are some of your best memories from those years?
It was a convoluted journey, to be honest. I have some random cousins and uncles who served, but I didn’t come from one of those heavily populated military families. I spent many years chasing college degrees because that’s what I assumed you are supposed to do. Then, after 9/11, I still resisted the urge to serve. I had always wanted to, but the longer I put it off, the more hesitant I became. I look back and think it was an odd fear of leaving the comfort of the normal life I had finally carved out. Finally, when I was nearing 30, I decided if I didn’t do it, I would forever regret it.
I chose Special Forces right out of the gate because I’d always wanted to serve and once I finally did, I knew I wanted to be in the Special Forces community: All or None.
How was your transition out of the military? How did you choose firefighting?
It wasn’t too bad. Thanks to so much college prior to serving, my transition into the civilian world wasn’t too bad when it came to interviews and resume writing, etc. I was actually in the middle of ETS-ing from Group [“expiration–term of service,” or leaving the military] when I first tested for the Fire Department. I passed the requisite tests and then began the Fire Academy in lieu of the ETS process. It was absolutely chaotic.
I knew I wanted to continue serving in a small unit team capacity. Law enforcement just started getting so hamstrung that I knew it wasn’t for me. Firefighting was always appealing to me when considering options other than the military. I was a volunteer firefighter in college, so it made sense to go back to it. I loved the four-person shifts and how they emulated the tight-knit community of an ODA [“Operational Detachment Alphas,” which are small, versatile Special Forces teams].
When did you know perfecting your craft and solely focusing on acting was the right move?
As a kid, if I could have had some higher power come out of the sky and give me my wish, it would have always been to be in movies and television. When I grew up, the practical side of me took me to the Special Forces.
However, after wrapping up my SF career, my firefighter career was missing something. After the perfect storm of events, including divorce and other personal “stuff,” I finally said “fu** it” and went for it. I had spent tons of time in the theatre and in college theatre, practicing, studying and performing…why not finally just go for it.? I guess I looked at it like I had nothing to lose. Just like my decision to go into Special Forces–I’d forever regret it if I didn’t try.
How has your military training and experiences helped you navigate Hollywood and your pursuit of an acting career?
It helps me DAILY! Whether grinning and bearing some inconvenience or navigating the city of with an SF-learned psychological warfare attitude…my entire career helps me tolerate the chaos, uncertainty and uncontrollable business that is Hollywood. I’m continuing my formal acting studies and experiences, which helps me in the business and in the art and craft aspect of the city. But the skills learned during my SF service certainly help me become more marketable for certain roles. Many roles demand weapons training or feature characters that have a history of military experience and so on. Merging the craft of acting with the skills of SF often helps me stand out and deliver more believable performances because of the amalgamation of all I’ve seen and done.
What is your view of the Flag controversy since you have served not only in the military but also as a first responder?
I abhor it. Yet, patiently and frustratingly, I respect it. I know the meaning and the message many argue it represents, but I personally cannot EVER support kneeling towards the flag after all I’ve seen and done. To me, it is the last symbolic hope that we should all agree on and unite towards. Anything less is wrong. And I say that knowing that all I believe in and fought for is what allows this difference of opinions, and I firmly respect that. We can disagree and still be friends. I’ll just never do it.
What are some of your passion projects?
The kid in me loves comics and action and adventure. I spent a lot of time working to get The Punisher brought to life and would love to see that come to fruition some day. I’m also a huge fan of great books and novels, and there are a handful of series I’d kill to see brought to the screen. I’d love to play Sandman Slim or even the main character, Joel, from The Last of Us, a great video game for the PlayStation system.
Other than that, one of my closest friends in life and in filmmaking Scott Seagren and I are always working on his scripts, whether pitching them to Netflix (which we are currently doing with three under our Scruff Brothers Films umbrella), making them ourselves, or working to collaborate with others to bring them to life. I love acting and circumstantially producing and directing, so any chance to do those as a career is a gift in my eyes.
To keep up with Jeff Bosley, be sure to check out www.jeffbosley.com. You can also follow him on Instagram @thejeffbosley, Twitter @thejeffbosley, Facebook @thejeffbosley, and Vimeo @jeffbosley.