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James Pravasilis (The Blacklist, Billions) – Perseverance is key.


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A New York Native born in Manhattan and raised in Brooklyn, James’ first taste of showbiz came at the age of eight when he was picked to perform with Lassie the dog at Radio City Music Hall as the pre-show entertainment for “The Magic Of Lassie” Film. His acting career came to a stop shortly after and began studying guitar and has been a professional musician since. His Desire to act was rekindled after a Principle role on the reality TV show “second Chances”. After joining Danny Aiello’s band as his Guitarist James was further inspired to pursue acting full time. He has Performed in countless Off and Off-Off Broadway plays and various film and TV shows and continues to act in NYC and abroad in both Theatre, TV and film.

How long have you been a part of the industry?
I made the move from a working musician to an acting career around 2005-2006, so about a solid 17 years or so. I figured music is such an easy career, how hard can an acting career be? (Yes, that’s sarcasm 😁)

What inspired you to pursue acting?
I did the typical class plays during elementary school, but wasn’t too interested at the time. When I was about 8 years old, I was picked to perform with Lassie the dog at Radio City Music Hall as the pre-show entertainment skit before they screened the film “The Magic of Lassie.” It was totally out of the blue and an amazing moment but didn’t lead to anything bigger back then, so I didn’t think much of it as a career or a passion to pursue. Shortly after that, I became obsessed with guitar and music and pursued music as my career. I performed, recorded and toured professionally for many years. All that time, acting and movie making was secretly on my mind and thought , “one day maybe I’ll give it a shot”. Then, around 2004 I got the call to play with acting legend Danny Aiello. He just recorded his first album and needed a live guitarist for the upcoming tour and television dates. Turns out, he didn’t start his acting career till his mid thirties and did his first film at 40. I thought it might be too late to get into acting until I met Danny but his story inspired me to go for it. Once I made that internal decision, things started to fall into place. I met my first acting coach Glynn O’malley. Glynn was a great playwright and a disciple of Edward Albee and a respected acting teacher as well. Things continued to fall into place when I started studying with Glynn. I joined the Michael Chekhov theatre company, did tons of plays and sketch comedy and it felt like my life and direction finally opened up and this is what I’m truly meant to do.

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What work are you most proud of recently?
Before the “pandemic” I was on a nice bit of a roll. I had just shot a Guest star role on Ray Donovan which I’m pretty proud of. My scene on The Deuce was another fun role that I feel good about. I did a couple of co-star roles where I got to work with some pretty big figures in the industry. I spent a few weeks shooting with Mark Ruffalo on “I know this much is true” and also got to hang with Derek Cianfrance, Both are super great guys and totally available to talk shop with. I had another co-star on “Trial of the Chicago Seven” directed by Arron Sorkin where I attacked Sacha Baron Cohen with an egg. They used the wide shot so you really don’t get a good look at me, but that’s show business.

I also have written, produced and acted in two short films. The Prime and Three Grand Souls. The Prime is about a post pandemic Orwellian world and was filmed in 2017, kinda eerie when you think of the subject matter and when it was made. My second film Three Grand Souls is a “post traumatic” love story about a former special forces veteran that meets a woman he thinks he can help, but soon realizes she is more trouble than he knows.

What advice would you give to actors?
Really sit with yourself and honestly see how much you want to do this. It takes commitment, focus and a malleable plan to move ahead in this career. You have to be steadfast and a bit headstrong, so don’t go in second guessing. Take acting classes from reputable schools and teachers and read as many plays as you can. Get on stage! Even if it’s not your endgame desire, stage acting builds chops that will be essential for the rest of your career. Oh…and… LEARN YOUR LINES!!!!

How do you stay motivated and active in your career?  
Honestly it’s been very difficult with everything that has happened in the last couple of years. Auditions have been coming back but booking has been slow. I keep the long term perspective. Sure, I may not be getting much right now but in the overall scheme of things, I will be back on track as I was before. Perseverance is a key aspect in this business, so I keep a vision of what I know can and will happen. I also Try to stay on top of the things I can control like Updating my website and headshots and keeping in touch with my agent ( Maultsby talent).

What are you working on now?
I just shot a small film a couple of months ago called “Home Movies”. It was my first time back on a live set since “Trial of the Chicago Seven”.

I am also Involved with The IFTNetwork (Independent Film Theater Network) it’s a new streaming service dedicated to independent films from shorts to features and live recorded theatre. Check out

I am also a writer and I have my first book coming out soon. It’s a satirical, yet truthful self help book called “The Asshole’s Guide To Everyday Living” on Mindstir publishing. I also Finished a Feature psychological horror called “Kill The Rabbit ” . We’re doing a pitch deck for it now and will be looking to produce soon.

How can we learn more about you?
For more about me, check out my website:, IMDB,
Instagram: @jamespravasilis, @Impravisationfilms
Films: The Prime (watch on youtube), Three Grand Souls,

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