With a desire for the spotlight and a confidence like no other, seventh grade student Jay Heyman is the ideal actor. Heyman has lived a life fluent with arts, having had experience in acting, singing, as well as dancing.
When he was young, his mom decided she wanted him to branch out from standard team sports, and try something new. “She enrolled me to Friday and Saturday classes for the Sylvia Young School in London. It’s an acting school, and from there they thought I should audition to try and get into the company where they can get you different acting jobs. Also, It’s not always acting; there’s also singing and dance.”
When first enrolled, Heyman was not a huge fan of acting, but had no choice. After his first few lessons, his passion was sparked. “I found it fun and exciting, and when I got on the stage presenting things to an audience I liked it because in the moment you’re the main thing everyone is focusing on.”
Heyman learned quickly and developed a legitimate talent at a young age. His first acting job was when he was five years old, and despite only being thirteen now, Heyman has performed in a fair share of large roles. His most memorable role was his role as Mike Teavee in the London musical production of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Heyman was one of the first actors cast for the musical, and endured a sixth month long auditioning process before finally getting the role. He was ten at the time, and was in the musical for nearly two years. What made his experience on the cast so remarkable, was his opportunity to work with the man behind it all, director Sam Mendes. Since Heyman was cast while they were still adding the final touches to the choreography and movements, Mendes, who also directed the James Bond movie Skyfall, gave the actors room to add in their own style, and play around with the dances and actions. “When we would choreograph our dances and practice our skits, we could put our own vibe into it, and we could make up our own dances which was really fun.”
Professional experiences like this have shaped Heyman through the beginnings of his career, and let him craft and improve his skill years ahead of standard actors. His already developed talent was evident in his lead role as Romeo in the middle school production of Romeo and Juliet in February, and it also gave him the chance to work with familiar faces rather than going into an audition without knowing anyone else involved.
Working through both situations has provided Heyman with a window into the multiple sides of acting. “Acting can be really easy at times, and really hard,” said Heyman. “It can be easy if you know the people you are around, but if you don’t know the people you are around it can be difficult because you have to understand how they act, as well as their personalities.”
Taking his knowledge and putting it into action, Heyman continues to seek out acting jobs. “I’ve been auditioning – I’m working on trying to get movies and stuff. Recently, I’ve got a part of this TV series on Sky which will be coming out soon.”
The series, called Hooten and the Lady, follows the journeys of Hooten, an adventurer, and his partner Lady Alexandra Lindo-Parker, as they travel the globe in search of lost treasures. The show is based all over the world, and Heyman will potentially miss six weeks of school as they film the show in an exotic location, possibly South Africa. The job is an enormous commitment, as Heyman needs to be available to leave for the filming anytime between April 4 and May 14, and once there must be available for as long up to a month and a half. The directors are still searching for the exact location of the filming, as they need the perfect spot for the show. Once the location and dates are set, Heyman will travel there accompanied by his dad. “He will in a way be my chaperone and look after me during the filming dates,” said Heyman. “He needs to make sure I’m on track and do my homework and things other than being on time for filming and being ready.”
Heyman’s father works as a music producer, and while away from the studio will use the software Pro Tools, a high quality digital audio workstation designed by Avid Technology, to try and keep up to speed on all his work. For Heyman, he will have to balance his school work, and find times to do classwork and homework while on set. “I will have a tutor who will help me with my school work. I have to have 15 hours of school per week. It is the rules, and the directors have to obey them.”
Hooten and the Lady, set to premiere next summer on Sky 1, will be Heyman’s biggest job since Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and it will put his skill to the test. Whether acting in musicals or TV shows, Heyman has accomplished so much already, and has made a solid base for his acting career. Although ideas of a full career in acting seem possible for Heyman, acting does not beat out sports when it comes to his biggest passion. “I do acting and then I do sports too, and for me it’s too hard to choose. I like both because acting is a place where you can be a totally different person, and the experience of being on the stage is really fun, but sports is competitive and I like the competition.”
Heyman is in no rush to choose his future career, but as projects and opportunities continue to come his way, Jay Heyman will be a name to remember, and a face to look out for as he continues to delve into the acting industry and showcase his talent.
Editor’s note: Since this article was first published, Heyman finished filming for Hooten and the Lady. To read about his experiences on the set of that TV show, read the follow-up article entitled “Heyman returns after three weeks on set of new TV show,” published in June 2016.