Ash Adams

Ash Adams

Infobox Actor

imagesize = 220px
caption =
birthdate = birth date and age|1963|2|7
birthplace = Los Angeles, California, USA
yearsactive = 1984 - present
spouse =

Ash Adams (born February 7, 1963 in Los Angeles, California), also known professionally by his given name of Jason Adams, is an award-winning American independent filmmaker, producer, writer, and well-known TV and movie actor. The majority of Adams' work in the past several years has almost exclusively been behind the camera on his film projects, but in nearly all he has to his credit thus far, has also had acting roles in them.

His filmmaking debut in 2004's "After the Past" garnered him the 2003 Audience Choice Award at the Malibu International Film Festival, and competed in festivals across the United States; his following project, "The Distance" (2006), met with even greater success. It not only earned Adams two more nominations, one of which was a win for Best Documentary, but competed internationally at other film festivals and eventually received pick-up by Image Entertainment for distribution.

Early Life

Adams was born in Los Angeles, CA and raised in Mailbu, where he still resides today. As a teenager, Jason took an early interest in filmmaking and acting, and staged several home movie productions in his backyard and in other natural surroundings, not unlike how other filmmaking and acting legends got their start. He attended the Desert Sun High School from 1978 to 1979, and later transferred to Malibu High School, of which he is a 1982 graduate.

Acting Career

By the time he was 20, Adams had already started making efforts to enter show business, and the connections he needed to break in. Jason formed a notable early relationship with actress Maree Cheatham, who eventually started passing his profile around to casting directors after she took a liking to his "chops". One of the directors that bit was a casting agent for the inaugural installment of "A Nightmare On Elm Street". Adams made his professional acting debut in the 1984 smash hit horror film, in a small role as an anonymous surfer. Afterwards, Jason ramped up his auditions and prospects tenfold until the casting director at ABC's "Ryan's Hope" announced that they were looking to cast an adult actor to take over the role of John Reid Ryan, Jr. on the soap. Adams came in to read and won the part, of which he played from 1986 until the show's final episode on January 13, 1989. His character had previously been a child for "RH"'s first decade on the air (known as "Little John Ryan", and played after infancy by Jadrien Steele from 1977-1985). Adams is known for being one of the earliest soap actors brought into take over a role due to SORAS-ing (Soap Opera Rapid Aging Syndrome).

Adams became noticed on the Hollywood scene in a major way during his years on "Ryan's Hope", and after the soap bid farewell to viewers in early 1989, he was in high demand for new ventures. ABC immediately cast him as the lead in a two-hour movie pilot they were hoping would be picked up as a weekly series, "Thunderboat Row". Even though the movie was well received, it never became a series. This was followed by a guest shot on the syndicated revival of "Adam-12", just before he was cast as François Gaultier in "Lionheart" (1990), starring Jean Claude van Damme. On the heels of "Lionheart"'s success at the box office, Adams was catapulted into heavier movie roles in "The Arc" (1991), "Original Intent" (1992), the indie flick "I'll Love You Forever..Tonight" (1992), the cult horror favorite "Puppet Master 4" (1993) and with an appearance in the short "The Privledge Cage" (1994). Occasionally during this time, Adams still turned up in some guest roles, including in two episodes of ABC's "The Young Riders" in 1990, playing young Jesse James (in the program's third season, the role would be taken over full time by Christopher Pettiet).

In late 1994, Adams returned to series TV full time as Agent Dan Sandler on the action series "Vanishing Son", which ran as a part of Universal Television's "Action Pack" in first-run syndication. Although "Vanishing Son" was successful as a series of four made-for-TV-movies aired under the "Action Pack" banner during 1994, the weekly series was less so, and was cancelled after 13 episodes in May 1995. In the following TV season, he co-starred as Max Houser in the syndicated serial drama "Acapulco Bay", an American adaptation of the Mexican telenovelas "Tu o Nadie" and "Acapulco, Cuerpo y Alma". Things in a sense came full circle for Adams on "Acapulco Bay", since one of his co-stars was the woman he credited for launching his career, close friend Maree Cheatham (who played Victoria).

Subsequent movie roles for Adams included Deputy Steve Stowe in "The Stranger" (1995), a cameo in "Mother" (1996), and large parts in "Striking Resemblance" (1997) and "Water and Power" (1999). He continued to appear in guest shots on popular cable and syndicated series, including an episode of "Renegade" in 1997, and on Pamela Anderson's "V.I.P." in 1999. By this time he was now going professionally by Ash Adams (for reasons discussed below), but despite the identity change, in certain credits of his listed above from 1996 or later, he continued to be credited as Jason Adams.

In the early 2000s, Adams put aside time to specifically focus on live theatre work, at first committing to popular productions at the Actors' Studio in New York City. It was there where he starred in "Mass Appeal" and "Return to the Chicago Abyss". He later returned to the Los Angeles area to star in the local production of "Hurly Burly" in 2004. In between the latter two plays, he made a guest appearance in an early episode of ABC's 2003 revival of "Dragnet". The most important development in Adams' career outside of his acting at this time was his preparation for a filmmaking career. Before he had finished his stage work in New York City, Ash had already started raising funds for an inaugural movie project of his own, while launching a production company which ultimately became his independent film marque Bravado Pictures.


Beginnings at Bravado Pictures

Adams' foray into filmmaking launched with the successful formation of his production company Bravado Pictures, which began business by no later than early 2003 when his first original independent film, "After the Past", began shooting. The maiden project, like all of Ash's future efforts was written, produced and directed by himself, along with featuring Adams in a prominent on-screen role. Here, he was the top-billing star. The movie was co-produced by Oscar-nominated actress Amy Madigan, who in addition functioned as narrator of "After the Past". The plot centered around two brothers, played by Adams and Branden Morgan, who reunite at the funeral of their abusive father. As the story unfolds, they try and come to terms with the death of their mother, the violence that was put on them as children and the damage they are left with as adults. Production was complete by mid-2003 and prior to its official release, set for the following year, the public was given a full-length preview screening at the 2003 Malibu International Film Festival. The audience reaction to "After the Past" was extremely positive, and it ended up winning the 2003 Audience Choice Award at the festival. "Entertainment Today" reviewed the film and noted that "After the Past" was "an impressive debut for Actor/Writer/Director Ash Adams." The movie went on to compete in all other major US film festivals per its official release in 2004.

During production of "After the Past", Adams had also been in the late stages of writing another screenplay that would have been Bravado Pictures' sophomore project. This screenplay, titled "The Darkness", ended up being sold by Adams in 2004 to Locomotion Films in Montreal, and another previously complete script for a project titled "Ready, Set, Go!" was also sold off by him in the same year to Franchise Pictures.

Building Momentum

Following all this, Adams set out on his second official project for Bravado, "The Distance". This true-life documentary film was of special interest to Ash's longtime love of boxing (he is an avid boxer himself in his leisure), and it explored the sometimes gritty inner-life of boxers. For "The Distance", Adams recruited many of the top figures in the boxing world, including Bobby Chacon, Ray "Boom Boom" Mancini, Mando Ramos, Vernon Forrest and Gabriel Ruelas. Also participating were "HBO Boxing" commentators Jim Lampley and Larry Merchant, and the film boasted the acting talent of Michael Madsen, Lou Gossett, Jr., Andy Dick and James Whitmore.

The film was in production starting in late 2004 and during most of 2005, before its official release at the Roving Eye Documentary Film Festival in 2006. "The Distance" won the Roving Eye festival, thanks to in part of the movie's star power and the attention it received while in production. This does not take away from the fact that it was the raw, gripping emotion of Adams' storytelling that earned "The Distance" its merit; his raised profile as a filmmaker caused the film to be picked up by the Ohio Independent Film Festival not long after. In Ohio, "The Distance" continued to be the darling of audiences and critics alike, and received a second nomination for Best Documentary. During this stage of its run, Julie Washington of the "Cleveland Plain Dealer" called "The Distance" "heartbreaking and unforgettable". The momentum built up from its nominations and win, combined with the heavy star power and critical buzz within the industry it was receiving, allowed "The Distance" to then travel abroad and compete internationally. Later in 2006, it was screened at the Montreal World Film Festival, the John Huston Puerto Vallarta Film Festival and at the Rhode Island International Film Festival. "The Distance" became Adams' first widespread success, and such a distinction was topped off when Image Entertainment acquired the film for mass distribution. It was released on DVD in late 2006.

Fresh off the success of "The Distance", Adams at first announced that his next project for Bravado Pictures would be "Indultado" ("forgiveness" in Spanish), a second documentary project. The film would explore bullfighting from the inside out, and dive head first into the violent and dangerous lives of Matadors. Scheduled to begin shooting before the end of 2007, the project has since been put on hold; it is likely that it will resume development and pre-production at a later date. Also in 2007, Ash acquired the rights to the boxing-themed Robert Anasi novel "The Gloves: A Boxing Chronicle", which for a while stood as the third official project for Bravado. This too has now been shelved, but Adams as of late is still immensely interested in adapting and producing its film counterpart. Im the midst of proposing these projects, Adams was in the middle of completing a new screenplay, "Once Fallen", that would in time be added to his roster.

Set in the incredibly cinematic and visually stunning city of San Pedro, California, "Once Fallen" is a racy crime drama about a man having to rebuild his life after having everything ripped away from him by incarceration, falling in love with the forbidden and the twisted family dynamics of a violent crime family. The script for "Once Fallen" was complete in the fall of 2007, and even before it was done, Adams had his core casting choices in mind when he was writing. Ash collaborated once again with good friend Amy Madigan to not only co-produce "Once Fallen", but to also star. Madigan's husband, critically acclaimed dramatic actor Ed Harris, has also come aboard for a principal role, and the framework of the crime drama led Adams to naturally cast Michael Madsen (returning after his role in "The Distance" for Adams and Bravado) and Dennis Hopper. For the first time since "After the Past", Adams returns to an on-screen role in "Once Fallen", playing Chance (aka Rath). Pre-production on this latest project began during the 2007 holiday season, and as official production was underway in the spring of 2008, Adams announced that the film would be a 2009 release.

"Mavericks" Series on

In February 2007, Adams met with Bill Via, founder of the independent film and music site, and proposed the idea of developing an online series to add to the fledgling site which would explore the world of independent filmmaking from the inside out., which launched in January 2007, is a site that promotes new releases from well-known artists in the landscape of independent media, as well as allowing budding artists to create accounts and showcase their work in hopes of gaining attention from the insiders. Adams decided to bank on the new site, since its future seemed promising with the involvement it had from other Hollywood-types; he promptly started at blog on Indieoma the same month he began series development with Via, in which he began connecting with the public, especially with those who had been fans of his recent success "The Distance". In April 2007, Ash announced that his upcoming series on Indieoma would be titled "Mavericks", a one-on-one interview series in which he would sit down with screen legends who had been hailed for their indie film performances in addition to their bigger-budget successes.

From its inception, "Mavericks" has been produced by Adams, Bill Via, and Michael Madsen, who was Adams' first guest on the series. Between April and June 2007, Adams had stated in his blog entries that "Mavericks" was to debut in June, but at the last minute, he and Via decided to hold off on the debut so they could work on the format further. The revisions they went through took somewhat longer than they expected; viewers did not see the first previews of the final product until early in 2008. Finally, on the week of March 22, 2008, "Mavericks" premiered. Each installment of the program is in four parts, and has one guest actor per show. Michael Madsen was the first guest, as scheduled; subsequent editions have had Ash sit down with actors he has worked with recently at Bravado Pictures, including Amy Madigan and Andy Dick, while Veronica Cartwright and Taylor Negron have been other subjects.

Professional Name Change in 1996

In 1996, Adams decided to start using the longtime nickname of "Ash" professionally in place of Jason. The switch came about as a result of increasing confusion among viewers, fans, Screen Actors' Guild officials and others in the media between certain credits of his and those of a newer, up-and-coming actor, Jason Leland Adams (to whom he is not related). When the latter Adams entered the SAG for the first time, he immediately had to register his middle name of Leland in from the start since the former Jason Adams already existed in their rolls. However, despite the fact that the first Jason Adams had already been a known face in Hollywood for the past decade, announcements of new projects with the newer Jason (Leland) Adams in the cast automatically led people to think it was the first Jason, since not all casting sources adhered to the proper SAG listing of the newer Jason's name. The situation became even more convoluted when other records began erroneously listing the first Jason Adams' middle name as being Leland, when in fact it never was. Finally, the original Jason Adams decided to ease the madness by dropping his real first name altogether, and becoming Ash Adams. This was presumably also a kind gesture to Jason Leland Adams, as he was thus now allowed to bill himself however he wanted (he has since dropped the "Jason" from his professional name as well, now going by J. Leland Adams).

For the most part, the public confusion and credits mix-up between the two actors has been long over, with the exception of a few movie and TV credits that, up until recently in 2008, still interchanged some between Ash Adams and J. Leland Adams, on the Internet Movie Database. It was thanks to the efforts of Ash Adams himself for getting his "Ryan's Hope" credits in particular removed off the IMDb resume of J. Leland Adams. For the record, if one visits the "Ryan's Hope" listing on IMDb, both Adamses will still be listed as having played John Reid Ryan from 1986-1989, but of course only Ash did. J. Leland Adams did not make his first on-screen appearance in a project until 1994.


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