Bushkill – Better Homes and Gardens Wilkins & Associates Bushkill office Administrative Assistant, Melanie VanDerveer has her foot in the door to Hollywood thanks to her son. Jesse VanDerveer, 11, has been acting professionally since the age of eight, and she manages his budding career. One of his recent jobs, a featured background scene on Hulu’s original series, “The Path” began airing on March 21. Jesse plays the role of a principal actor’s son whose father recently passed away. The scene features the show’s leading actress, Michelle Monaghan speaking with Jesse’s on-screen mother while Jesse works on the family’s farm.
This isn’t Jesse’s first time on a television show. Jesse’s first professional acting gig was on the television show, “The Mysteries of Laura,” starring Debra Messing. Jesse also worked alongside Donny Walhberg in “Blue Bloods,” Kathryn Hahn in “Happyish,” Emily Blunt in “Girl on the Train,” Damian Lewis in “Billions,” Billy Eichner in “Billy on the Street,” and many others. He filmed scenes in four episodes of Tina Fey’s Netflix original series “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt;” three in season two and one featured role in season three, which is set to be released on May 19. “Jesse was chosen by the director to play the role of a prep school kid who interacts with actor David Cross in a scene with Jane Krakowski in season three of the popular show. He worked alongside Anna Camp in an episode in season two, and can even be found on her Instagram page,” said VanDerveer.
Jesse showed an interest in acting when he was cast in a local haunted house during Halloween season at just 7-years-old. The excitement he had for acting was evident and he asked his mother to help him become a child actor.
Said VanDerveer, “Jesse came to me and said he wants to be an actor on TV. I told him I would submit him for a background job and see what happens, but told him it could take months to get his first job. The very next morning, casting called and cast him as a private school student in a scene with Debra Messing on an episode of ‘The Mysteries of Laura.’ Jesse enjoyed being on set so much, he begged to work more. Jesse was working so much the first year that not only did he have to be homeschooled, but he was signed by Glitter Talent and became union eligible in the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) in just three short months.”
Said Thomas R. Wilkins, CEO, “We were excited when we found out Jesse was on TV. We all watched him at our monthly managers’ meeting. It’s so exciting seeing someone his age reaching for the stars.”
From general background jobs to featured background roles to speaking roles, Jesse learned a lot on set, but took professional acting classes in New York City on weekends to learn more. Jesse auditions for many roles and has been accepting any role offered to gain experience, as well as to do what he loves.
“Jesse is the lead characters’ child in an independent horror movie called ‘The Moosehead Over the Mantel’ which should be released on Netflix before the summer,” said Melanie. “He’s done many student films and independent films, as well as some modeling and promotional videos to help build his resume and experience. He was a photo double for promo photos for Kevin James’ new show, ‘Kevin Can Wait.’”
Jesse’s 14-year-old brother, JD, also does some background jobs when they come around for his age range. Both boys recently worked on the set of Hugh Jackman and Zac Efron’s new film, “The Greatest Showman on Earth,” set to be released in theaters around Christmas this year. They both, along with their 12-year-old brother Ryder, filmed a scene in the pilot episode of Showtime’s series, “Billions.”
Jesse hopes to continue acting and works toward finding his big break into the industry. He also has aspirations of going to Columbia University in New York City for acting after high school. Jesse has a Facebook business page where all his upcoming gigs are announced.