Maurice Hall, right, in his film "Baker's Man"
Lights, camera, Maurice Hall
The former Buckeye football player is forging a career in Hollywood — and leading the Ohio State Alumni Club in Los Angeles.
As a running back on the 2002 national championship Ohio State football team Maurice Hall moved on “hut!” These days, the word is “action!” Hall ventured to Los Angeles in 2009 to launch a career in Hollywood. It took four years to get his first credit, a part on “The Mindy Project.” Other parts have followed — including on “Grey’s Anatomy,” “NCIS” and “Sam and Cat” — but Hall isn’t sitting by the phone. He’s writing and producing his own work, including a romantic comedy, “Baker’s Man,” (the image above is a still from the movie, with Hall on the right) and a psychological football thriller, “Killing the Game.” He hasn’t forgotten Ohio State, either — he’s the president of the 500-member Alumni Club of Los Angeles.
After an injury ended your career with the San Diego Chargers, you came back to Ohio State and worked in the Athletic Department and as a sports commentator at NBC4. Is that where you got the acting bug?
I would cover high school football and Ohio State sports as well. For high school football, I wanted to make it fun, so we started doing skits. We became the No. 1 sports show during the football season. I said, this is fun to do and we’re getting notoriety for it, so maybe I’d take some acting classes and see. Maybe this could be something I could do. Once I started taking acting classes, that same passion that I once had for football, I felt that coming back. That was it for me.
It must have taken a lot of patience and determination to get from 2009 to 2013.
Those four years were the hardest, because I’d go back to Columbus and people would say, when are you going to be on the TV or in the movies? I had no idea. It’s so different. A lot of people who are in the business come out here and expect because they majored in it, because they just want to do it, it’s just going to happen for them like that. It doesn’t really work like that all the time.
What was the moment when you felt you turned the corner?
I would probably say 2013, because I booked “The Mindy Project" and then a couple months later I booked a Nickelodeon show called “Sam and Cat” with Ariana Grande, and that’s when I started gaining confidence that I could do this for a living and actually make money to support myself.
It looks like things are taking off for you. What do you have in the works?
Mostly television, a couple of Lifetime movies. I recently wrote, produced and starred in my own romantic comedy movie (“Baker’s Man”) that’s now on Amazon Prime and iTunes. It’s the first feature film that I wrote. I was very blessed to get it distributed through Amazon and iTunes. Things have been going really well from a sales and feedback standpoint. Now I’m ready for my next one, which I’m hoping to shoot in Columbus in May. That’s going to be fun.
What made you decide to write your own projects?
Between 2009 and 2013, I probably had 60 or 70 auditions where I didn’t get the job. I needed to create my own lane. The first thing I wrote was actually a dramatic web series called “Shadow Love.” I wrote it, directed it, produced it. I didn’t star in it, but I did act in it. That’s what really got me into it: creating an avenue for people who might not know who Maurice Hall is, to see he’s a good actor, and we should hire him, versus me just telling people I’m a good actor.
What motivated you to get involved with the alumni club?
The big selling point of going to Ohio State was there’s so many alumni everywhere you go. But when I got to LA, I felt like I couldn’t find any alumni out here. When the former president left this past year, he approached me about possibly taking over. I looked at myself seven years ago when I moved out here and remembered how I felt. I wanted to help with that effort, so I accepted the position. My goals include creating great mentorships and scholarships for potential students, and we want to create more engagement and more events.