Jo D. Jonz
|Jo D. Jonz|
|Born||Joseph Christopher Jones
New York City, New York, U.S.
Jo D. Jonz (pronounced Jody Jones), is an American method actor, maverick writer, director, and film producer. He began acting as early as five years old and he had the great pleasure of working with some of today's most visionary directors and actors throughout his career. Undertaking a myriad of roles on both sides of the pendulum as an actor, Jonz explains his deep exploration into his characters as an integral part of his journey. Jonz, an artist, has shown no limits in his commitment to his craft. As Jonz continues to work, he always feels "we have a responsibility on how we represent ourselves in Hollywood."
Born in New York City, Jonz began his career at the age of five. Working primarily in print, appearing in numerous catalog ads such as Macy's, and Sears. He quickly began moving into commercial ads and television. Jonz appeared in commercials for Disney, Kool-Aid, Aetna Life Insurance, and Sega. His first starring role was "Ty's Homemade Band" with Taj Mahal at seven years old, a movie about music education. His first play was Medea at the age of nine, at the Borough of Manhattan Community College. After working consistently for years, Jonz's time was spent between working and school but was missing the normalcy of his childhood. At a young age, he had insight and awareness to focus on his education and eventually he made the decision to attend college where he spent his time mastering his acting craft.
Jonz consistently worked from childhood through his high school years. After he graduated from Humanities High School, Jonz sought to actively engage his craft by taking on roles in Off-Broadway productions of Shakespeare's Twelfth Night. After turning down more commercial roles, such as soap operas, he felt it was time to see the west coast to further fine tune his art. Jonz relocated to Los Angeles where he intended to study in the Meisner technique program method acting. After learning of Meisner's passing, Jonz auditioned for the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. After being accepted, he declined the offer for a more formal education and attended in the University of Massachusetts Amherst and graduated with a double major in Theater and Anthropology. While he was there, he joined the Five College Theatre Arts program and toured Smith College, Hampshire College, Amherst College and Mt. Holyoke College in an array of performances from Australian play Our Country's Good at the Rand Theater to the international play Crossroads by Togo exile Jossi Kossi Efoue, as well as Molière the Misanthrope.
Shortly after, Jonz found himself back in New York City where he landed a role in his mentor Charles Dutton's directorial debut film, First Time Felon. After he completed the film, he then relocated back to Los Angeles and went on to appear in many television episodics ER, NYPD Blue, Cold Case and Criminal Minds. During this time he went on to write, direct, and star in the play Negritude. The play went on to receive many favorable reviews including by Deborah Klugman from LA Weekly "This African-American medley of drama, dance and song has plenty to recommend it... A segment celebrating Harlem in its heyday showcases the ensemble's musical talents... The costumes and the dancing are lively and the company's collaborative spirit contagious."
Also, he was the musical director of a nine piece band. Soon after, he went on to write, direct, and later produce his first film, 15 Minutes of Fame, a comedy film that tells the story of four guys who made the grave mistake of letting Hollywood into their home. The film stars Charles Malik Whitfield, Richard T. Jones, and Adam Rodriguez and was executive produced by Donald Faison.
Continuing to challenge himself, for three months, he trained in boxing and went professional in 2006 while preparing for a role as a has-been boxer. He fought on ESPN's Friday Night Fights but his opponent dropped out and Jonz still agreed to fight and a replacement was found just days before the event. Although Jonz won all three rounds on the score cards, he lost by a controversial TKO with thirty seconds left in the third round on a scheduled four round fight. Jonz explains "his victory was never the goal nor in the character description. It was the journey and the understanding of the emotional state of a fighter against all odds." Boxrec.com. Jonz has recently produced a play Jungle Kings, directed by another mentor Bill Duke and starred in feature films like Next Day Air and Midnight Son.
Jonz also formed a nine piece band Boku. Jonz wrote, composed, arranged the original work and collaborated with an array of international artists. Boku's world hip hop sounds explored world beat rhythms while keeping true to their roots in hip hop. The band performed all over Los Angeles including The House of Blues, El Rey Theatre, and the Key Club in West Hollywood.
In 2008 Jonz created Jonz Unltd. taking his previous production company, PolySci Multimedia, and combining it with all of his other properties. Jonz Unltd. manages films, new media, books, graphic design, Oshune Body Care and natural health care company. Jonz Unltd. has several projects in development including Hieroglyph of the Cockatoo by Ron Allen (playwright); a biographical film, Breaking Free, based on the life of Fatema Saira Rehman and her marriage to British prisoner Charles Bronson; a 3-D animated movie; and an action film, Unsung. In order to prepare for the role of the lead in Unsung, Jonz took to professional boxing and went on to train and compete in several matches. Along with his professional acting career, he has gone on and currently trains mixed martial arts fighters to fight in the octagon.
- First Time Felon (1997)
- Kings (1998)
- ER (1998)
- Pacific Blue (1999)
- Deadlocked (2000)
- Book of Love (2002)
- The Division (2002)
- The Guardian (2002)
- Mello's Kaleidoscope (2002)
- Gilfriends (2003)
- NYPD Blue (2003)
- L.A. Dragnet (2003)
- Monk (2004)
- Cold Case (2004)
- Ralph & Stanley (2005)
- Next Day Air (2009)
- Blue (2009)
- Criminal Minds (2009)
- Midnight Son (2011)
- Honorary Artivist Video of Panther Film Festival 2001-2003
For his film 15 Minutes of Fame:
- Best Comedy Feature Film at the Hamptons Black International Film Festival
- #1 Feature Film of the Week by Dipdive
- "Independent Film of the Week" by The Hollywood Reporter
- Official Selection of the Hollywood Black Film Festival
- Outstanding Small Business Achievement 2010 - Community Financial Resource Center