Texas resident Kerry Wallum is a veteran stunt performer, producer and actor. His career in entertainment began when he was in junior high school, and it spans a lifetime that consists of an impressive 70+ credits to his name. Kerry says, “I did a play in 7th grade and really enjoyed it. Then, I was at a rodeo and a friend was doing some stunt work and I followed him, walked on a set doing stunt work and that evolved into acting. The rest, as they say, is history.”
Meeting Willie Nelson
A chance meeting with legendary country music singer, Willie Nelson, changed Kerry’s life. “Producer David Von Roehm, Willie Nelson and myself are the founders of a production company called Luck Films which is located in Luck, Texas. Willie and I became friends through his daughter, Paula Nelson, and his ex-wife, Connie. It all started when Billy Ray Reynolds (guitar player for Waylon Jennings) and I became friends. He and I met on a movie set and then lived on a tour bus for a short while after we both went through divorces. Billy Ray and I met up with Johnny Darrell (Country music artist known for the song, Green, Green Grass of Home) at Comanche Studios while he was doing a new – and last – album. Willie came in to do some music with him for that album and that’s when Willie and I first met. From there we went to one of Willie’s picnics and, through Paula Nelson, Willie’s daughter, and his ex-wife, Connie, I got to know Willie. We hit it off really well and began to hang at Willie’s place in Luck, Texas.
“We knew we were going to start the production company. Luck Films was just no brainer for the name. We lost David last year unexpectedly which was tough. David and I were quite a team directing and producing together. Today, Luck Films, LLC is pretty much run by me and producer Keith Moyer who is a great producing partner. He handles things like Luck Films YouTube, the website, and social media.”
Living in Texas
Kerry’s love of Texas includes spending time with family, friends and going fishing. “What’s not to love about Texas? Family and friends. Memories. Lot’s of great things, especially fishing…and most Texans still love our country and believe in working hard. In my spare time, I love doing things with Kathy, my significant other of over 20 years, enjoying my animals, and, to be honest, filming. I enjoy hearing good new music talent, rodeos, ropings, bull ridings, car races, and of course, fishing…and a good cigar.”
Two areas of accomplishments have helped define Kerry’s career: “Directing films and music videos. Coming from a simple rodeo guy in Odessa, TX, that’s pretty cool to me.”
But he began his career by doing stunts. “I guess as a guy who started out rodeoing, there’s a thrill to doing stunts…the adrenaline rush of crashing a car, jumping off a building, explosions…even when I got hurt. I always looked forward to doing it. Now, there is the reality that I have broken some major bones, been told I wouldn’t be able to walk again and defied all that, which is ultimately what led me to do more acting. Let the younger ones and the pros do the stunts.”
The best advice he ever received came from his friend and fellow actor Ernest Borgnine: “The ones who make it are the ones who don’t give up – no matter what they go through. Treat every person on a set the way you want to be treated. And from Rance Howard (Ron Howard’s dad): he always told me I had a good mind and attitude for making films so don’t give up.”
Preferred Roles and Frustration
Two areas of Kerry’s entertainment career that bring him joy are acting and directing. “The best way to bring stories to life comes from acting and directing, which I prefer. Don’t fool yourself. This business has a lot of frustration, too, like the slow times and not working. It’s easy in this business to concentrate so much on the industry that you blow things off that really matter. Over the years, I did a lot of reflecting to change what I wanted to carry forward in life, and that’s important. Also, the haters that don’t deserve any space in your head or your life. I work with all kinds of people, always have, but I don’t have much use for hate-filled people that get off on hurting others.”
Kerry’s plans for the future include more acting and production work. “I’m excited about my good friend Jeffery Patterson’s film, Hot Bath, Stiff Drink, an’ a Close Shave, that is coming out this year. I have an acting part in that project. I was just in a little film in March that will come out later this year. I have two films that David and I did together that are also finally coming out. There are some more things in the pipeline. I am directing a feature film, and I have some lower budget projects in the works including a fun Christmas film. I’m looking forward to doing more with my manager, Tonja Rene, as well.”
Cover photo courtesy Kerry Wallum, A Cowboy’s Song.
Bob Valleau is a freelance writer living in McKinney, Texas.