North Carolina Central University senior Chris Lopez is a business major with a concentration in management. He is step master for his fraternity, Phi Beta Sigma, and an SGA Senior Class senator. After graduation, he hopes to enter the associate training program for the National Basketball Association (NBA) with the goal of becoming a marketing executive.
Over the summer, Lopez put his corporate dreams on hold to try his hand at acting. A corporate internship had fallen through, so Lopez, not wanting to sit at home, answered a casting call in Wilmington, N.C. The previous year, he had been selected to appear in a short spot for ESPN during Black History Month, but this was different.
“I’d never done anything like this,” said Lopez. “But when I read the description of what they were looking for, it fit me perfectly.” Lopez is Mexican-American and Filipino. He took a headshot with his iPhone and sent the picture and his “stats,” weight and height to the casting director.
He quickly got a call back and a small role in a major film scheduled for release next year. Lopez cannot reveal the film’s title, but he did say the story line centers on a playboy genius who wears a suit while battling evil.
His work on that film led to additional opportunities. “Once the casting director saw that I knew proper protocol on the set, they would give my name to other casting directors,” Lopez said.
By the end of the summer Lopez had earned roles in three films, two TV shows and two commercials. He worked with several A-list actors including, Hilary Swank, Josh Duhamel, James Woods, Gwyneth Paltrow, Claire Danes, Damian Lewis, Don Cheadle, Rebecca Hall and Robert Downey Jr. He also secured an agent and had professional headshots taken.
Acting took Lopez from the mountains to the coast of North Carolina and Hollywood. Yet despite his success Lopez says he has not been bitten by the acting bug. “I still want corporate America, marketing and the NBA,” he said. “I don’t want to do the whole ‘struggling artist’ thing.”
For Lopez this summer was more about pushing boundaries to see what he could accomplish. “After this experience I know that anything is possible once you take the first step.”
To see Chris' ESPN debut, click here.