By JASON CAMPBELL
Jim Anderson already made sure that his Sierra High School state football championship ring made its way onto television once.
But while he got another actor – Christopher McDonald – to wear it during several scenes in HBO’s “Ballers” after they forged a relationship on set in San Francisco, Anderson will actually be wearing the ring himself in the upcoming third season of Netflix’s smash drama series “13 Reasons Why.”
And he can’t be happier about representing a community that has rallied behind him as he pursues a lifelong dream of working as an actor.
“I love representing my city and community of Manteca,” said Anderson, who is still riding the high of serving as one the henchmen of the antagonist in the long-awaited follow-up film to HBO’s critically acclaimed “Deadwood.” “When I got to the set, everyone – including actors, directors, producers etc. – just called me ‘Coach’ or ‘Coach Jim” – they allowed me to be me, a football coach.
“It made me miss coaching at Sierra High School. From suiting the actors and background up in their uniforms and equipment to setting up the field and running drills. Throughout all of it, it made me think of the three people in my mind that I wanted to make proud – my father, Frank Guinta, and Jeff Harbison.”
According to Anderson, he wanted to do his namesake proud in his role that will be seen by millions, and had the late Guinta in his mind as the longtime Manteca figure helped whip him and many others into shape in the 1970’s when they played for the Manteca Cowboys. It was Harbison, Anderson said, that welcomed him into the fold of the Sierra High School football program and served as a football mentor during his time at the helm of the school’s freshman program.
“I am actually the Coach that I am today because of him,” Anderson said. “It made setting things up on set very easy.”
And people have begun to notice Anderson’s sudden emergence in the film and television world over the last several years – especially here at home.
It was just recently that he received a phone call from somebody congratulating him on the “picture” of him that was hanging up inside of Manteca eatery El Jardin, and he had to call and find out exactly what they were talking about.
It turns out that local artist and El Jardin staffer Dillon West Costello had been following Anderson’s progress and decided to include a picture of him with an art display inside of the restaurant that highlighted some of the most famous and iconic Hollywood actors of all time.
“I was sent the picture of the picture and my jaw dropped – as soon as I got back to Manteca I stopped in and saw the display of paintings,” Anderson said. “I was very humbled and was speechless when I saw it up there.
“It’s a bit odd when I go in and sit down and people do a double-take – I wave and smile but I’m not really sure what to say. Hopefully one day it will be worth something.”
Anderson is currently working a project he can’t fully disclose yet but said that it focuses on the arrival of the mafia to the San Francisco Bay Area and that he is playing a detective trying to prevent the organized crime syndicates from planting roots in Northern California.
While he isn’t sure when he’ll get another chance to flash the Sierra High School championship ring again, he did say that he’s open to representing other local schools as well if given the opportunity – even if he doesn’t have a personal connection the way he does with Sierra, where he coached and his children attended.
“I’m doing it all for the kids and the schools,” Anderson said. “I’ll wear anybody’s if I’m given the chance to do so.”
The third season of 13 Reasons Why will be released on Netflix in North America on August 23rd. Anderson and the ring will appear in episodes 7 through 13.