The term is “multihyphenate.” In Hollywood, you see, it’s no longer enough just to act. It’s not even enough to be extremely good-looking. You have to be able to write. “And you can’t be a real writer out here,” explains 26-year-old Dallas native and actor-writer Jake Allyn, “until you write in a coffee shop.” Allyn, who grew up off Northwest Highway in North Dallas, is at his favorite spot in Brentwood—Literati Cafe—when we discuss his acting and, yes, writing.
A Jesuit grad who attended Cornell on a full-ride football scholarship, Allyn found on-screen success and that all-important buzz playing a white football player at a historically black college on the first season of the BET series The Quad. It’s his first TV show (and it’s been given a second season), but it was hardly beginner’s luck. “I got the script in January of 2016 and auditioned seven times,” he says. Having played football in college also helped him nab the role.
And then there’s the other part of his hyphenate: He’s also written two movies, both including even more pigskin. One is titled Forsaken and is a modern adaptation of Macbeth. “I really drew on my childhood,” says the lifelong Cowboys fan. “It’s set in a small town in Oklahoma, and instead of the warfare of the play, we have football.” He wrote the script with his brother, Connor, who has directed this movie and their other one, titled Ex-Patriot. If this is starting to sound like a familiar North Dallas-to-Tinseltown origin story, Allyn agrees.
“The first movie set I ever saw was Bottlerocket,” he says, remembering walking down the street to the set of the film written by Owen Wilson and Wes Anderson, and starring Owen and his brother Luke. “Then Owen would come back to visit his family on Strait Lane. I would see him jogging with his dog. I’d say hi, talk to him.” Allyn laughs. “It’s funny: Hollywood can seem so distant when you see the names in credits in the theater. You’re like, ‘How can I ever do that?’ But to see him on the screen and then see him jog by, as a regular dude, that was some motivation.”