Handsome actor/model Steve Hamm has a unique story. He is a retired Army helicopter pilot who is now a “Lifeflight” pilot while also focusing on his acting and modeling career. After having served in the Army for over 23 years and being deployed to both Iraq and Afghanistan, Hamm was captured by the acting bug. Having major experience in military linguistics, Hamm hopes to put that to good use during his acting career but is also intrigued by detective suspense roles.
Hamm has appeared in “Deliver Us from Evil, The Warriors, Law & Order and the Bruce Willis project “Acts of Violence.” I spoke with Steve regarding his very interesting careers…..He authentically loves to help people and hopes to continue to do so no matter where his professions take him….
My obvious question is after being in the army for so long, how did you catch the acting bug?
It’s kind of a funny story actually. It was a spur of the moment decision. I was living in Tennessee at the time and I just happened to google acting schools. I found one that was in Nashville, so I emailed the owner and he invited me down for an open call to see if I liked it. So basically, I did a weekend workshop with him. It was basically doing cold reads with other members of his class. After doing several of these with the other actors you could say that the acting bug kind of hit me. It was something I was interested in pursuing, however, as a beginning actor knows you can’t make a good living at first. I was actually in the process of leaving the army and moving to Ohio, so I had to get established with a new location, career, and surroundings. I happened to find another agency in the Cleveland area where I got picked up for representation and the rest is pretty much history. But it was just a spur the moment thought which kind of flourished from there.
So during your Army days you never before thought of acting as a career?
No, not really. I did do a play during my junior year in high school. It was fun to do, but it wasn’t something I was thinking of doing at the time. I’ve always enjoyed watching good TV shows and movies and seeing what good actors produce. I guess maybe subtly and indirectly I’ve always had the inclination to do it, but I never really had the time or the financial means. When you’re serving your 24/7 doing something with the army so I think that once I got out it enabled me to have the time to focus in that direction.
What inspired you to join the army?
My dad was a big influence on that. He had served four years in the Air Force and he helped mold or groomed me for military service basically. I did four years of high school ROTC, so I was already prepared to go into the service. He wanted me to once I finished graduation go to one of the military academies to get a degree and become an officer, but unfortunately, I was kind of a rebellious teenager and it really wasn’t my goal at the time. He finally gave up and told me to do what I wanted to do, and I realized that college wasn’t for me. So, I contacted my local Army recruiter and the rest is history.
How did you become a helicopter pilot?
Initially I signed up to be a helicopter mechanic. I did that for about eight years. Basically, if you hang around with pilots for a while most people get the urge to want to fly. You listen to their stories and it’s pretty cool. The army has a program where anyone can apply to become a helicopter pilot. So, you put in an application which goes to a review board and depending upon how many slots they have available and how good your application is and how good your recommendations are, they decide if they want to select you or not. Fortunately for me I had an aviation background and a lot of good recommendations, so I got the position.
Does the fact that you are a helicopter pilot help you with your acting career?
Unfortunately, there is a little bit of a misconception. Having a pilot’s license is not the same as having a driver’s license. With a driver’s license you can basically drive almost anything whereas for the pilot side there’s a private pilot’s license and a commercial license. I do not have my private license so I really can’t just rent a single plane and go flying anywhere. I have a commercial license so that enables me to fly for companies, but you have to get certified for that type of aircraft. I get asked a lot to fly for different things and although I would love to I actually can’t. In this day and age, you have a guy that can operate a drone for much cheaper and pretty much see the same results.
Yes, but I feel like a role as a helicopter pilot would suit you?
I can definitely take on the role as a helicopter pilot. Either being cast in a role as a pilot or be on the sidelines of it as an aviation consultant telling people what is realistic and what is not is something I can do. I could even give advice as a military person.
So, if you were given the choice of any role on the planet what kind of role would you like?
Well, on the top of my list would go being a detective trying to solve a very gritty crime. I guess that’s what I kind of gravitate towards. Those stories that just grab you and suck you in. The ones that you can’t really figure out how they are going to end with twists and turns. I would like to play a character that just makes you think by the way he reacts to certain things. So, I think on the top of my list that would be the most enticing role. Other than that, I think horror movies are my other top thing. I love a good horror movie. I grew up with “Friday the 13th” and “Halloween” type stuff. Things that make you cringe and jump at the right moment kind of get me.
Do you have a favorite actor?
I don’t have one. There are a few on the top of my list. One for sure is Denzel Washington. He’s incredible. Every role he plays is incredible I loved him in the “Equalizer.” I like Russell Crowe.
Who would you love to have as a leading lady?
Angelina Jolie would be an interesting person to share a scene with. There’s Cate Blanchett and Meryl Streep….
Can do you recall a single moment that changed the trajectory of your life?
One moment came early on before I even joined the Army. They were going to lead me into a job involved with tanks but one of my former brother-in-law’s who was a recruiter at the time looked at my scores and advised me against it. So, he helped recommend a course change and because of that I was able to get something that I really enjoyed doing. That change allowed me to pretty much become a pilot. Another one was the acting thing before I retired from the army. That was a significant moment. It instilled a confidence in me that hadn’t been there before. You have to become vulnerable especially for auditions and do what the casting director expects you to do. I think that is very empowering to do that. Most recently somebody recommended that I should look into real estate, which is a 180° change for me. I looked into it, pursued it and I have my license now. I like helping people. I do have this genuine desire to want to help people not just for my benefit but for theirs. I like caring about what happens to people essentially.
Has the army experiences taught you anything significant in your day-to-day life?
Over the past 10 years I definitely had my mindset changed and always think in a positive regard. I’ve seen some bad things while serving especially overseas. How some people live, what people have endured. I think seeing all that when you come back to the states you just have a better appreciation of how we live over here.
Follow Steve Hamm on the web:
Official Website https://www.stevehamm.org