In high school, baseball was his everything. He lived and breathed the sport. Making it to the major leagues was the ultimate goal for John Paul Kakos, but after a series of injuries, he had no choice but to turn in the bat.
“I would practice for hours and hours trying to be good enough, but due to injuries, I had to take an entire season off during high school,” said John Paul who had posterior labrum surgery after tearing and dislocating his shoulder — a deal breaker for many young athletes. It was the second labrum surgery of his high school baseball career and he now had one on each shoulder.
A few months passed. The young athlete graduated with the Mountain View class of 2017, and he was ready to try something new.
Coming from an artistic family, John Paul had auditioned and was casted for minor roles in films like “All Hallows Evil” (2012), “Halloween – Revenge of the Sandman” (2012) and the television show “It’s Supernatural” (2012). So, John Paul decided to give acting another try.
And just a few months after graduating, he hit a home run, landing the lead role in “Full Count” where he portrays Milton Young, a small-town baseball player who dreams of making it to the major leagues.
“He came into the audition in a baseball uniform. I knew immediately he had the look I wanted for the character,” said Director Robert Eagar who called John Paul in for a second and third audition before casting him in the lead role.
Eagar admits the decision was a risk. John Paul had little experience compared to the well-seasoned cast members including Emmy Award winners Natalia Livingston and Rick Hearst, who were both featured on ABC’s popular soap opera “General Hospital”. But John Paul worked hard with the cast and crew to expand his skills, and Eagar’s risk paid off.
The film was a fifteen-years-in-the-making brainchild for Eagar who wrote, directed and produced “Full Count”.
In John Paul’s words, acting has presented him “a new life”. Since “Full Count”, he has played another major part in Stephen Beehler’s film “Brief Candle” (2019). It features a group of thespians rehearsing for a high school production of Shakespeare’s “Macbeth”. The film takes a harrowing twist, as the actors get so consumed by their roles, it’s hard to tell when the acting stops and when their real world begins.
For the new launch in his career, John Paul thanks his family who provided transportation, support and encouragement as he auditioned in those first months after graduating from high school. He says he would never have gotten any of his roles if it weren’t for his dad, Paul Kakos, who worked as his manager, booking auditions and organizing logistics as he got started.
And as he begins a new phase of his career, he will count on his faith to find the perseverance to keep going.
“I’m so grateful for this new life I have. I’m doing everything for God, and I hope that my work will inspire others and make people feel they can overcome anything and achieve anything,” John Paul said.
“Full Count” is set to release in the summer of 2019, by the Buckhead Film Group and Reel One Entertainment. Visit the website via https://www.fullcountmovie.com for more information.