He took his first acting class at ODU. On Friday, his first major movie, starring Ben Affleck, hits theaters.


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Melvin Gregg took his very first acting class at Virginia University.

He was pursuing a marketing degree, but a professor’s note on one among his acting papers changed his career path.

“She wrote on one among my papers that if this was something I wanted to pursue, I should roll in the hay, because she thought I used to be good and that I would have an opportunity. That meant tons,” Gregg, 31, said.

He can’t recall her name, but the Portsmouth native is thankful for that little bit of praise — that tipping point.

It was all the encouragement he needed to pack his life up, move across the country and begin chasing his real dream.

“I’m very pleased with being from Portsmouth. I wouldn’t trade that for love or money. But I knew what I wanted to be and that I had to urge out of Portsmouth to form it happen,” he said.

On Friday, March 6, Gregg’s first major movie, “The Way Back” starring Ben Affleck, hits theaters. In it, he plays Marcus Parrish, a hard-headed and aggressive high-school basketeer whose emotional struggles are somewhat parallel to those of his recovering alcoholic coach, played by Affleck.

It’s his biggest role so far, but there has been no fast lane fame for Gregg.

“Overnight in Hollywood is 10 years. I’ve got of these movies beginning now, but I’ve been doing this since 2008,” Gregg said. “You need to be in it for the end of the day .”


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