We had the extreme pleasure of speaking with Mr. Julian Griffith actor, a comedian as well and baseball player and instructor.
Julian got his start in the acting field as a young child in the movie Hard Ball (2001) starting Keanu Reeves. We asked how he landed the role and he said, “My mother ’s friend heard about a casting call for African American children that can play baseball in Chicago on the radio. I attended the open casting call at Evergreen Plaza Mall in 1999 and waited several hours. Over the course of several months, I had about 5-6 auditions for the role. Jefferson Albert Tibbs. Jefferson was me; I had asthma in real life, obviously, I was chubby, I didn’t use profanity and I use to get picked on as a kid. There were thousands of kids that auditioned for the film and I was truly blessed to be one of the chosen few casts for it. It was a great opportunity and experience, but a lot of work to produce such a film that is viewed, by many, as a ‘classic’.”
He took a break from acting to honorably further his education as a promise to his mother. We asked if there were any regrets on his decision he said, “ There are times that I did wonder ‘What If’ and how things would have been if I had not made that agreement with my mother to finish High School before I pursue anything else. I always say I probably would have been extremely famous, wealthy, and well into my acting career, but I probably would have had similar experiences of former child stars that we see today. I actually know what ‘No’ means. I ’m thankful for the process because God had other plans for me; people I ’ve met along the way, experiences, and education, a strong foundation within the church, HUMILITY, and being able to handle the pressures that this industry throws at you. So in other words, THANK YOU mom for making me further my education.”
He has made his return to acting in one of our favorite series NBC’s Chicago P.D. we asked him about his experiences working with the cast and team with that show he said, “It was a great and refreshing experience for me. It helped me catch back up with all the terminology they use on set now. I had to dust the webs off with my ‘on-camera’ techniques from my training and getting comfortable again. I can honestly say I felt uncomfortable my first time filming because both of my appearances were with ‘Series Regulars’ and I ’m just thinking, ‘I don’t want to mess this up; I want to come back.” The nerves of making sure I ’m crisp and on point would get the best of me at times. I had to get out of second guessing myself. Overall, my appearances turned out very well on there and I received positive feedback.”
He learned that since his role is a recurring role, that he can be brought back at any time; “ it is just the matter of when/if they want to use me. “ Julian is seen throughly in season 6 of the series.
He’s currently working on a new series on Fox called ‘Proven Innocent.’ A legal Drama starring Kelsey Grammar and Russell Hornsby; just to name a few people. He’ll be playing the role of ‘Officer Jones’ on the show; His hopes are they the show goes well and they bring him back in a recurring role as well. He’s also working on TranHeist where he will play the role of ‘Mikki,’ a drug-dealing strip club owner. “There are some other projects in their works, as well, but I can’t speak on them now until it’s 100% official.” He said.
Julian Shows his comedic side on social media. He said, “I want people to see my comedic side. I’ve always said I wanted to do comedic films and this series because I realized that I was ‘boxed’ into more stereotypical roles in auditions. I want my versatility as an actor; I can hit all the genres on camera or on the stage. Lastly, I love to entertain people and make their day. I want to cheer people up with my material, make them laugh, smile, and find joy even when life tries to convince you otherwise.”
Julian attended Calumet College where he gained a degree in Elementary Education.
He grew up around educators his entire life as his mother is an educator. “She taught for over 42 years, she is now retired, and the impact she had on all her students still shows to this day. I am a natural-born leader and I have a heart for helping others. I knew that if baseball and acting didn’t work out for me, I could teach and give this younger generation the guidance they need.” He uses his skills and influences as a teacher everywhere he goes. He wants people to know and receive positive experiences.
In 2014 he was signed to Forth Worth Cats as a professional Baseball player. He was able to play alongside MLB former batting champion, Julio Franco. “He is a legend in the Major league and to be a fan of his and be able to sit on the bench right next to him and talk was a blessing. I picked his brain on things while he was with us and tried to soak up as much knowledge as I could from someone that has been where I ultimately was trying to go.” He said.
He now is a well sought after baseball and softball instructor in Chicago. In 2019 He’ll be launching ‘Juiced Up Athletics’. He has been instructing students over four (4) years now. Admitting that his clients are frequently seeing pretty consistent success from training and hard work they’re put in. “Two of my clients (9 and 12) were both selected as Junior All-Americans and invited to play in the Nationwide tournament games. Both of them did really well while out there, both of their teams made it to the championship but only one of them won it. That accomplishment alone, thanks to them, reassured me that my training and knowledge is making a true impact. I feel pretty legit now.”
Outside of teaching children about property sports techniques he reminds them that he’s human, “I do normal things too, and I listen to good music. I joke with them and make sure they’re comfortable enough with me to receive any information I give them. I focus on mentoring them and building that relationship. Some of my students have even attended some of my theatre productions that I do throughout the year. Many of them come to me and talk to me about life, in general, or problems they may have going on its life. They know my life story and my testimony; I use it shows them how they can do what I ’ve done in life and do better than myself. I’ve even had some parents come to me and asking me to talk to their better than myself. I’ve even had some parents come to me and asking me to talk to their child because they will only listen to Coach Julian..that’s God’s working.”
Julian is truly a supporter of his students. Admitting that he tries when he can to attended students games and has even attended a few where his students were playing against each other. Students and parents often message him about advice regarding opportunities presented. “I have even cut some of my students’ hair and bought hair products, from my barber, for them to help maintain their image,” Julian says that his students know he promotes healthy images and well being. A true mentorship doesn’t stop when you leave a training facility or classroom, it’s a 24/7 job.
He always wants his students to remember the lessons he’s taught them. He trains mostly catchers in both softball and baseball. He always poses the question. “Do you want to be A catcher or do you want to be THE catcher?” He believes that fire and hunger for ‘more’ are what many people in life are missing. “Do I just want to be the average person in whatever field I’m in or do I want to be a standout and achieve more? Without an education, you are at a disadvantage. Without consistency, you are at a disadvantage. Without hard work; you are at a disadvantage. Without failure; you will never know what Success truly feels like. lastly, make sure your heart is in the right place because if the passion is there the prosperity will be right behind it!”
We deeply appreciated such and amazing interview with an amazing leader. If you’d like hear more about and from Julian please follow him on social media below.
Twitter – https://www.instagram.com/imjuicedup
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/jjuiceman