EXCLUSIVE: Jake Holley Talks Inspiring Movie, ‘Riley, Tennis, and Treating Yourself Kindly

In the ever-spinning wheel of high school life, Dakota Riley, an ambitious young athlete, gears up for his senior year amidst the familiar cadence of teenage routines – sports, classrooms, family dinners, and bustling school hallways. With dreams of athletic glory guiding his path, Dakota has meticulously constructed the framework of his identity within the confines of a calculated blueprint. However, as the dust of reality settles, Dakota finds himself at a crossroads, torn between the persona he’s crafted and the person he truly is.

In this captivating coming-of-age tale lies a constellation of remarkable performances, including a star-making turn by the talented Jake Holley. In the directorial debut of Benjamin Howard, ‘Riley’ defies convention and sidesteps cliches, emerging as a refreshing gem in the world of coming-of-age cinema. Read our interview with Jake Holley as we go on a journey through this poignant exploration of identity, ambition, and self-discovery.

Actor Jake Holley, photographed by Will Heffernan

How are you doing today?

I’m great.

Actor Jake Holley, photographed by Will Heffernan

I am so excited to talk about your movie and your character, Dakota. It’s such a relatable movie because I feel like a lot of people in high school kind of struggled with their identity. 

So, it’s nice to kind of have a movie that discusses struggling with self-identity, especially as a football player. I don’t know what it is like nowadays in high school, but I would imagine it’s a little bit easier, hopefully, than when I went to high school back in 2010. What drew you to portraying this character, Dakota? What inspired you to take his journey?

Ooh, I’d say right from the jump, when I heard Ben—our writer and director—when I heard he was making a film. I had seen some of his stuff and done a short film with him and some of his folks before, the same DP and some of the same people, and I knew the kind of stuff Ben likes to tell. He wants to tell vulnerable stories, honest stories that a lot of different types of people can see themselves in, even if you have nothing to do with football or even if you can still see yourself a lot in it. I think a lot of his shorts were that way.

And so, I knew when I had heard he was trying to make a feature, whoever gets to do this, no matter how far it goes, whoever gets to do this is going to get to be a part of a pretty raw story that’s told with a lot of care and a lot of love and everyone on that set’s going to be trying to bring their A-game.

Right off the bat, what drew it to me was Ben. I respect him and love what he’s trying to do with his art. But I’d also answer your question with, I think just on the page, the character of Dakota was so complex where he’s your protagonist, but there’s a lot of times where he is being reasonably inconsiderate towards: “How is this going to make my partner feel? How is this going to make my friends feel?” And so, I think it’s a perfect picture of how we’re all on our journeys, and we’re all going through what we’re going through, and so sometimes it won’t be lovely, and it’s all part of the human experience of figuring it out, and I think Ben captured that pretty well.

Actor Jake Holley, photographed by Will Heffernan

No, I 1000% agree. I mean, I was watching the movie and I’m like, “This is literally about what it is to be a human. It’s all learning and finding out how others are affected by your life decisions.” 

So, it really is a life-learning movie, no matter if you’re coming at it from being in the LGBTQ+ community or from a perspective of just being stubborn and not knowing how to cooperate. I think it relates to a lot of different aspects of life.


Actor Jake Holley, photographed by Will Heffernan

What did you see in Dakota to be like, “I’m on board for this movie?”

That’s a great question. Man, when I think back to my high school years, I was not a good football player. I was not too fond of it. I wouldn’t say I liked being tackled. I remember I tried it for a few years because I didn’t know people… I’m from South Carolina. I play tennis. Now that I live here, I play tennis. Back then, you’re supposed to play football, and so I tried it, but I wouldn’t say I liked it. I remember I’d sit in class and be afraid to go to practice afterward.

Actor Jake Holley, photographed by Will Heffernan

That’s so fun.

Oh my God, I hated it. I related to it, though, when I read the script, and it reminded me of being that age. You’re in this pond at school every day with all sorts of characters and people—even if it’s not honest to who they are, people are putting up these fronts that are impressive and intimidating, and you’re supposed to be X, or you’re supposed to be Y.

And when I read the script, it almost reminded me of that thing we all went through or go through or are going through of just like, “This is a mess, and I’m afraid, and I’m uncomfortable, and I’m trying my best, I guess, as we all are. I’m trying my best to live well and do a good job, but I’m terrified, and I don’t want to be found out.”

I think I related to how Dakota’s biggest driving fear is this fear of being found out not to be enough. I think that’s why he worked so hard at football, and it is being found out, and people are unhappy with it. I think that’s the cool part of the script. In the script, it even sets one of the other characters whose act is so good, Connor Storrie, who plays Liam. I think it’s a well-written line where he even says to Dakota, “Dude, it’s okay. No one even cares anymore.”

And I think that almost touches at the heart of the issue of, like, in 2023, Liam’s probably right. Dakota’s parents would not even have that much of a problem with it, but he’s terrified of being found out and people not liking him the same. And I can relate to that feeling of wanting to be adequate and be enough and whatnot.

Actor Jake Holley, photographed by Will Heffernan

I totally love that answer. I feel like there’s that pressure in high school to fit a certain stereotype or status quo. No, I love it. 

And it is, I will say that was the one annoying part I wanted from the movie. I wanted that coming out to the parents’ scene. If I had one critique of the movie, it would be that I wish it was longer. Because I feel like there’s still so much backstory that was left untold.

Actor Jake Holley, photographed by Will Heffernan

I hope it does well because it is such an important story, I think especially nowadays when it is more comfortable to talk about your sexuality. It is an important movie, I think, and I hope it does get the exposure that it deserves. How do you think Dakota’s story will resonate with young adults when they watch it?

Actor Jake Holley, photographed by Will Heffernan

These are great questions. You’re great at this. Oh, I know how. I hope it resonates. What I hope happens—I mean, in my own life here in Los Angeles, not in high school anymore, I feel like every month and every season, the lesson that I feel like adulthood keeps hitting me in the head with is finding a way to be more gentle on yourself and to be nicer on yourself.

I struggle with it, and I never realized when I was younger the amount of self-judgements we have and the amount of trying to put ourselves in these tiny windows where we have to perform excellently and whatnot. And what I hope audiences take from it, or young adults, young people take from it, is that that’s part of Dakota’s journey that I think is so relatable, like he is the main person just putting himself through it. He is terrified. He’s scared just to let whatever Dakota might be that terrifies him.

And so, I guess when I watched it this most recent time because I hadn’t seen it until we were in Canada. I hadn’t seen it in six months. I had seen a few drafts when it was still in editing, but I hadn’t seen it in a while. And I guess that’s where my own life in the movie collided.

Like, I’m watching it, and all I can think is like, “Ah, we, as these humans, we are so hard on ourselves, and it would do us so well to be gentle and look in the mirror and say whatever you might be, I still take you.” I can’t control what the world will say, but I can at least stop me from being the one who has so many complex opinions. I mean, of course, now, with Dakota’s situation, a lot of those opinions are given to him by a world that has a history of not being okay with certain things in people groups, but that’s what I guess I hope.

When I was watching it in Canada, that’s what I was thinking, “Man, I hope people take away from this that what if we were to be kinder to ourselves and to be gentle with whatever we might be? Maybe you look up one day, and you feel entirely different than you thought you were going to feel. What if that was okay?” So, yeah,

Actor Jake Holley, photographed by Will Heffernan

The crazy thing about life is that we are always under this pressure to keep moving and going and doing things. Just being gentler on one’s body or mind can do wonders for your person, I think.

Oh my gosh, I feel like I do that thing where if I’m hanging out in a group of people in real life, I feel like I need to perform very well and be extra nice to everybody and be social and well, don’t get me wrong, it’s great to be nice to everybody. I’m hard on myself if I feel like, “Oh, I wasn’t chatty enough tonight. I wasn’t.” It’s a small version of being very hard on oneself, you know?

Actor Jake Holley, photographed by Will Heffernan

I’m the same exact way. Yeah, that’s why I try to find sports to do things because it gives an excuse not to chat as much.

Like tennis, we’re on the other side of the court.

Actor Jake Holley, photographed by Will Heffernan

Exactly. It’s like we’re still having fun, but not now. You mentioned working with the writer and director, Ben Howard. What movies prior did you watch of his?

Oh, so we did a short film called Rendezvous in COVID. And well before COVID, we filmed that in 2020, just the year that became COVID or the year that all happened—2020, January. So, we finished before COVID. 

We did that short film called Rendezvous, and it was the first tricky thing I had ever done. And I immediately earned all my respect to Ben, when I signed onto this short film several years ago now. It wasn’t the most significant thing in the world, but it was one of the first things where I looked at the material, looked at the team he put together, and I thought to myself, “Oh, he’s trying to make something good, not just make something to advance his career or make something flashy. He’s trying to make something good.” 

So, after we did that, I watched some of his other shorts. He did one called Deviant— an excellent watch. The lead is one of the guys from Outer Banks, Rudy Pankow.

Actor Jake Holley, photographed by Will Heffernan

Oh, yeah

Yeah, he’s terrific. He’s outstanding in it. It was probably shot four or five years ago before Outer Banks. No longer closeted, he is clearly out to his parents, but it’s about a young gay boy who is out to his parents, and his mom is taking him to conversion therapy, and it is intense.

Actor Jake Holley, photographed by Will Heffernan

I need to watch that. Okay, wow.

It’s terrific. And so, when I watched that, I think Ben was two for two at that point of, “Oh, he’s trying to tell hard, real stories.” And so yeah, I respect him and his way of making art.

Actor Jake Holley, photographed by Will Heffernan

I was going to say I’d never watched Ben’s movies prior to Riley’s, but now that you mentioned Deviant, I should watch that because I do love those real hard-hitting movie topics—I mean, as sad as they are to watch, but I think it’s important to watch them because it makes you open your mind and realize, “Oh, okay, not everyone has the same life.” Even though nowadays it should be as easy as like, it’s almost like you don’t even need to come out. I feel like there are still those people who struggle with those overly religious families who are sinful against being gay or whatever you are. So, I think it is important to watch those types of movies. Is that Ben telling his own life story in a way?

Yes, which is part of why, like, Riley was 85% true to Ben Howard’s story. And those are the stories that are the best, or at least they’re the best for me. I want to work on the ones where someone is taking parts of their own lives—and not necessarily doing this instead of therapy. I love therapy; it’s the best thing, and it saved my life. But it’s almost like this is his way of having more control over the experience and telling the story.

And so, all of his stuff is largely him using the craft, using the art as a vehicle to deal with his stuff and share his stuff. And that’s how I like to go about my art and acting anyway. Don’t get me wrong, if I will do, I will do all sorts of things if the circumstances are right. I’ll do things that I don’t relate.

I’ve done commercials or jobs where I have no human relation, but my favorites, like Riley or my favorite scripts and stories, are the ones where I find where I and the character intersect. It’s not easy, but it’s almost now we’re just exploring how I feel about a lot of these things and letting it breathe and letting it live.

And so, Ben works in that way with his own experiences and life lived, and it’s just a joy to be a part of.

Actor Jake Holley, photographed by Will Heffernan

I love that. When was this movie filmed?

We filmed about a year and a couple of months ago— maybe a year and two months, maybe 14 months ago or so.

Actor Jake Holley, photographed by Will Heffernan

Okay. And did you have any favorite memories on set with the cast and crew? It seems like everyone worked authentically well together. It just came off like that when watching the movie.

That’s a great compliment to hear. I’ll say this: I’ve been on some other sets, but I have never been on a set where we all not only got along, but it felt like it wasn’t just a job to anyone. Everyone wanted to bring their A-game. 

Everyone cared. Ben set the standard when we all read the script, “Everyone down to the third AC (assistant camera). Everyone down to the guy doing crafty.” We read the script and realized, “Oh, he’s trying to tell something sincere here. I want to show up and bring my A-game.” 

And so, we did all click. I loved that cast; they’re all so brilliant. And they’re all so talented and brought all of themselves to it. To answer your question, though, a couple of days stick out…Oh, it’s one of my favorite scenes in the movie too. The one where Connor Storrie’s character, Liam, is working with Dakota on the project at his house, and I come back from the bathroom with the tripod, and he says, “Does Skyler know, and will we do that scene?” 

That was probably day 11 or 12. We were shooting for around 19 or 20. That was about halfway through, and we knew we had had some good days in the movie. We had known there were no bad days, or we had only had good days, but that was our first day where we finished one or two of those takes, and we had to take a breath. The DP (director of photography) holding the camera was crying.

We finished some of those, and we all went home that day knowing we might’ve just found some good stuff. We might’ve just found a moment. It was a joy to be a part of, and I can’t wait to share. And so that was one.

Actor Jake Holley, photographed by Will Heffernan

I’m not going to lie, that was an intense scene. I agree with. I love that scene.

So, Connor, who plays Liam, is just electric. So, that was the artistically most. Sometimes, you can look into the other actor’s eyes, and you can tell, “Okay, this is going to be as real as our conversation at lunch later. This is going to be the furthest thing from the lines. This is going to be real.”

And that’s when it’s just really fulfilling. In a less fulfilling way, the scenes with lots of people on set, like any scene that we had with tons of extras, there were a few school hallway scenes where there were lots of people on set, or there was the football where we had to get a bunch of people to come to be football fans.

It’s always a party when it’s 100 extras or 50 to 100 people here doing this. Those were enjoyable days because it was just a party on set. There are all sorts of people, and it’s a big machine. Those were a good time.

Actor Jake Holley, photographed by Will Heffernan

Those scenes did feel like fun. When Riley was starting to feel more like himself, that football scene felt kind of like a celebration. How many movies have you acted in? Is this your second movie you’ve acted in?

So, I mean, as far as short films go, I did a lot. I did like 30 to 40 shorts.

Actor Jake Holley, photographed by Will Heffernan

Oh wow.

As far as features go, I think this is five, but this is only my second time being a lead. And this is the first one that I really felt like, “Okay, I’m so proud of this.” This is the first one where it felt like we were all trying to make a piece of art that we would really be excited to have our names on rather than trying to make a product.

Actor Jake Holley, photographed by Will Heffernan

How did you approach this film differently compared to your past projects?

That’s a great question. I had a little more time this time, which is a gift. I have never had as long. For example, I had about two months where I auditioned a couple of times. Ben texted me, I think, in February and said, “What are you doing in April? Can I have you in April?” And so, I knew for about two months I had this job. 

I read the script every day for two months and fell in love with the story. When you read the script, that often, things that didn’t pop off the page the first few times do, but also, with those two months, like my everyday life, I don’t feel like an athlete. 

I play tennis and teach tennis to beginners sometimes, but I’m not muscular. I’m very skinny. I do not look like a football player at all. I don’t want to look like I’m not a football player, but since Ben gave me two months, I was in the gym every day. Me and the actor who plays Jaeden, Colin McCalla – we went out and threw football and ran routes and did the whole thing probably three or four times a week. 

There are no big football scenes in the movie…or, there are, but they got cut. The goal it for me wasn’t that I needed to be great at football; it was that I thought this was a cool thing to do as an actor. I don’t physically feel like a football player. I feel like a skinny lover of film who plays tennis occasionally. And because I had two months to pretty much just read the script and try and build my body to feel like a football player, by the time it came, I felt like, “Man, I am pretty fast, and I am good at this sport.

I think that was a cool thing as well because the script was so honest— that’s another little facet of the answer to the question. Because the script was so natural, I think I was able to dive a little deeper. Whereas with previous movies, even when I’ve been the lead, the script was still good, and it was still a joy, and I had the best time ever, but I don’t know if there was as much humanity for me to dive in and become this person. It was more so like, “Oh, we’re going to do the plane crash now,” or like, “Oh, we’re going to . . .” Whereas this, there’s no plane crash. This is about a young man on fire, so there was more to dive into.

Actor Jake Holley, photographed by Will Heffernan

I love how you just described “man on fire.” I love that description. Okay, did it make you reconnect with your high school football self then? Did it make you find a new appreciation for the sport? Because I know you hated it in high school.

I don’t know that it made me appreciate football again, but I did reconnect with Dakota as Jake in my own life. Older male figures have always been prominent. I’ve always really wanted to impress them or be okay in their eyes. I mean, part of it, my dad got sick and passed when I was younger, so I think for a long time, older male figures like football coaches, there’s been a lot of fear there for me if I want him to think I’m good. I want him to think I’m talented and a good football player. 

I think diving back into Dakota’s relationship with his dad helped me reconnect, maybe not with football, but it helped me to reconnect with that feeling. I vividly remember having, there’s this football coach who I can say now as a grown man, I don’t know why I was afraid of this man’s opinion. I am not… I mean, I don’t want to say any names, but this guy was a jerk. Why was I afraid of this jerk in South Carolina coaching football? I remember being that boy in his pads, and really, it was life or death that this man approved of me. 

I think Dakota lived in a lot of those fears, whether they were self-inflicted or whether a lot of them were put on by the society we live in. But that reminded me and helped me to reconnect with a lot of…Oh yeah, I kind of, I remember being in a similar place, looking up at some of these older guys, and it’s all just such a mess. High school and masculinity and the whole thing is just such a swamp.

Actor Jake Holley, photographed by Will Heffernan

I know. That is definitely one life I would not repeat in my life. I know those movies tackle a lot of—no pun intended, but fumbles in life and I think we were talking about perfection earlier. With that being said, how do you embrace your own fumbles in life, and how do you view that approach in a different light? How do you go about not being so perfect every day?

That lesson is about trying to be gentler with yourself. I mean, to this day, playing Dakota probably helped with it. The movie has many things, and all the characters have some journey. I think that’s one of the excellent parts of the script. 

Skylar, the girlfriend, has a bit of a journey, and Jaeden is on a separate thing. I think one of Dakota’s journeys that I got to dive into is this journey of like, “God, my brain is—It feels like it’s against me, my brain. Again, whether I put this on me or whether the world put this on me in the society we live in, my brain is not okay with me being anything other than this perfect box.” 

For me, getting to live in that and play it probably did help in my real life. Yeah, that’s something that I consistently struggle with trying to let go of, like having to be perfect and having some more grace on yourself. As I got older, I never realized humans are so hard on ourselves. There’s no rule written in the sky that we have to be this hard on ourselves, but for whatever reason, maybe it’s, again, just the earth we were born into that humans were messing up way before we ever got here—our generation, that is. 

We got here, and we all are so hard on ourselves, and we have to be cool socially and be this and look great and be in incredible shape and have excellent fashion and take great pictures, and I’m not against any of those things.

I have friends who make clothes, and I love their clothes, but I think it’s a lesson I’m trying to learn that I believe Dakota can help teach all, including me, to like, “Hey, whatever you are on a Tuesday—is that what today is? Whatever you are on a Monday at 9:30 AM, it’s okay. It’s okay. No one’s coming for you. No one’s coming to punish you for not… And it’s okay just to ease up and be gentle on yourself.” So, I think that’s one of the takeaways for me.

Actor Jake Holley, photographed by Will Heffernan

I love that takeaway. No, it’s such an important kind of motto to live by. I feel like it’s just like, “Don’t be so serious” and “Live life a little bit.” Okay, I’m saying this as a silver lining, but the pandemic kind of helped me let go, and I started to shop in grocery stores in my sweatpants more often, and I’m like, “I’ve never done that before.”


Actor Jake Holley, photographed by Will Heffernan

So, just the little things where you just like let go and not care a little bit about.

That’s a good one, I think same. That’s a good one.

Actor Jake Holley, photographed by Will Heffernan

Yeah, just go out in your pajamas or go out if you need to go do an errand real quick. I don’t know, just do you. Okay, I have a few more questions. 

There’s a lot of conversation about straight actors playing queer characters. Were you hesitant at all at any part taking this role, being a straight hetero man taking a role as a gay character?

I’m glad you asked the question. It is a hot button. I asked Ben, I think, three times—and this is a scary thing to ask someone, “Are you sure I’m right for this?” 

That’s a scary thing because you want to do the job. I’m trying to. I mean, the movie is so beautiful. I wanted to do it, but just to be sure, I asked him several times, “Hey, this is your story. Are you sure? Are you sure I am the person for it?” 

He’d say, “Yes, of course.” “I’ll bring my heart and soul to it, and my heart and emotions will be yours to direct as you please, but are you sure I’m right?” 

And he continued to insist, “You’re who I want to tell this because you remind me… Your energy and your way of what it looks like for you to put on a mask is exactly what it looked like for me to put on a mask back when I was being this person in real life.” So, in that way, yes, I will say to your question, though, even if Ben had said that, had the character been written differently, there would’ve been a lot of pause. 

If the character were someone…I don’t think I could say yes to, for example, the character of Liam. I believe there are people, like Connor Storrie, who are openly our wonderful person. Those characters and stories are his, and he can do that. I think for me, it would be a lot more faking, and it wouldn’t be real stuff.

As authentic, yeah.

Yeah, that’s other men’s real stories to play that character. Whereas with Dakota, and this is kind of what Ben had said to me, “Were you ever afraid that you may have been gay in high school?” And I said, “Yeah, in South Carolina, I was… In South Carolina, I was terrified even if I was in sixth grade, and I was fairly confident I had a crush on the girl over there. I was still terrified.”

Okay, well, if I thought that he was cute, what would my coach think? It was this fear that I do believe all of us, especially just in South Carolina. I haven’t lived there in a while, but I hope some of that culture has changed. But I think it was just this fear that Ben said, “Can you relate to the fear of what in the world would happen to me in this football environment if I was not only just attracted to men, but if I was anything other than this type of guy?” And I said, “Absolutely, I can relate to that.” 

Also, he pointed out that “With Dakota, Dakota’s not playing gay, Dakota’s playing straight. I need someone who plays straight and has the vulnerability to answer your question.” yeah. I asked Ben a few times because it did make me nervous, and then had it been a character who was very much more openly out, comfortable with themselves, I don’t know that I’d have any business playing that role because there are people who can do it a lot better justice.

I like that answer. I feel like Hollywood culture is getting better at casting with gay guys playing gay guys, but it stems back to love—what was it—Love Simon, when Nick Robinson played Simon. What a beautiful movie. Still, to this day, Jennifer Garner’s scene makes me cry.


Oh God, that was such a beautiful scene. But no, I was just like, “I feel like it would’ve felt more heartfelt if it was an actual gay character playing this.” But no, I think at the same time, I think it also challenges the actor too when it’s a role that is completely opposite but still similar. Okay, so fun questions. I know you play tennis, and I know there’s that big—I mean it’s not really focused on tennis, but that Zendaya movie – have you seen the commercial for Challengers yet?

I have.

Are you excited? Did you want it? Did you try it all to go get that role? Now knowing that you play tennis and are acting, what were your thoughts on seeing that trailer? Were you like, “Damn, I should have been in this?”

I mean, I did not audition for that movie, but I don’t know if I’d put myself there from where I sit. The two actors that are in that, Mike Faist and the two male actors, they’re incredible. Mike Faist in West Side Story was arguably my favorite part of West Side Story. Those two actors are phenomenal. Obviously, Zendaya is phenomenal. So, I mean, when I saw it, of course, there’s a part of me that’s like, “Oh, I want to be in a tennis movie. It sounds so fun.” 

But also, I think I saw it, and my first thought was like, “Wow, that’s some power hitters,” no pun intended, about to do tennis in a movie—now that’s the actor part of me. The tennis part of me is like, let’s see how that forehand, did they really look how to play? For example, King Richard, those girls they cast in King Richard were the real deal tennis players.

I still need to watch that movie. I’m so behind on some of these movies, but no, I need to watch that movie.

She’s 11 years old, and they are hitting forehands like nobody’s business. So, though all three of those actors are absolutely incredible and challengers, I’ll be looking out for one thing, and that’s how that forehand swings. I’ll be looking out for that.

Yeah, you can never beat a good forehand. It’s oddly satisfying watching. I love it when I hit my forehand, and it’s good, so tennis talk. Okay, what’s your go-to movie snack? I don’t know if there are specific moods where you’re just craving snacks, but when watching, let’s just say, Riley, what is your go-to movie snack?

Oh, okay. In Canada, I got it actually because it was at one of the snacks at the movie theatres, so I went and got some, but if I can, it has to be two things. It’s going to be peanut M&Ms and salty popcorn. Two or three M&Ms in one hand, a bunch of popcorn at the same time.

That sounds like a tasteful collaboration. Okay, I love popcorn and M&Ms. If it’s salty, okay. No, I feel like that would add to the flavor, yeah. Is there a piece of advice or a quote in life that you’ve heard that you’d want to echo out to our listeners?

Ooh, quote? I don’t know if I have a quote.

I think I could give advice or at least something I’m trying to do. It all kind of goes in the big takeaway, like I said earlier. The big takeaway from doing this movie for me is being gentle on yourself bit. I think the movie, that’s one of my favorite things about art is it can say a hundred things to a hundred people. 

And especially a well-written script wealth with very good filmmakers and good other actors, can say a lot of things to a lot of people, but for me, the message was about being gentle on whatever you might be. You might look up one day and not be the thing that you swore. “I was this football star, I was masculine, I do like her.” Maybe if you didn’t, maybe it’s okay, that was the takeaway for me. 

And so, I think I’ve been on that journey for the last year or so since rapping. And I’d say my biggest advice, I’ve gone on this rant a few times, is I hope this is succinct enough— I don’t know if this is advice or not. But for whatever reason, we all ended up here on planet Earth. None of us know how or why. 

For whatever reason, your will, for whatever reason, I’m Jake for whatever reason, my dog is my dog but we all woke up in these bodies. None of us know what the heck we’re supposed to do with our time other than try our best. And since we’re all here trying our best, the minimum you can do is just be easy to each other, be gentle, be graceful, and have so much kindness for each other because none of us know what the heck we’re doing here. We’re all just trying our best. That’s it!

Amen. Oh my God, that’s so true. I love that. That’s a perfect way to end this interview. I think Riley’s overall arc of the movie is just learning how to be gentler on yourself.

But Jake, thank you. I appreciate our little chat this morning. I’m going to re-watch the movie again because I just love it. Is it coming out in theaters, or how can people watch it?

We’re going to be on the festival bit for probably the next six to eight months. I know of at least up to about six to eight months out. I know of other festivals. We’ll be playing in Bend next weekend, Bend, Oregon, and then we’ll be back. We’ll be in Canada again in May and we’ll be in San Diego in November. 

So, we’ll be around festivals for the next six to eight months, but then after that, we’ll see. I know we’ll be out there somewhere on some type of Prime or some type of streamer, but I mean, if it could happen, if anyone’s out there and wants to give us a theatrical run, we would take it.

All right, I could see it being on Prime now that you say I was on Prime but no, in the theaters that would be really cool too. So, well, I can’t wait to get this up and post and everything, but I’m looking forward to our photo session as well. I still need to look at some location, but I’m looking forward to LA and meeting you in person. So, thank you again for taking the time.

Can’t wait, Will. This was lovely.

Watch the trailer for the inspiring movie, Riley, below.