Abington actor gets big break: Slapping J.Lo around

Micah Hauptman plays the last bad guy standing in the new Jason Statham film, “Parker.” It could be the big break for the Abington native, who has been pursuing acting since his college days at West Chester U.

It’s not every actor who gets to slap Jennifer Lopez. But Micah Hauptman, who plays one of a gang of double-crossing thieves in the new Jason Statham vehicle, Parker, has to do just that. And he also gets scolded mightily by the steely British action star, for not following orders during a $1 million heist from a county fair.

“I’m the eternal screw-up,” Hauptman says, laughing. As for his big scene with J.Lo -- which comes after he and his partners (Michael Chiklis, Clifton Collins Jr. and Wendell Pierce) bring pepperoni pizza back to their hideout and find a revenge-bent Parker there to greet them – Hauptman says he approached the moment with dread.

“Of all the things I was most concerned about, that was the one that really had me worried,” the actor explains, on the phone from New York where Parker screened this week. “For a month and a half leading up to the shoot that day, nothing but anxiety …, And then when I actually had the day with Jennifer…. I talked to her beforehand. She’s lovely and so gracious and really committed to the work. I couldn’t believe how cool and how easygoing she was about it.”

Hauptman, who grew up in Abington, went to Abington High and West Chester University, has been based in L.A. for the past ten years. He’s had small roles in big movies (notably the first Iron Man), worked in TV and on stage, and is developing a film with his fiancé, actress Annika Marks (The Sessions) that Mark Ruffalo is executive producing. But Parker, directed by Taylor Hackford  and adapted from a Donald E. Westlake (writing as Richard Stark) thriller, is easily Hauptman’s biggest break thus far. As a mob boss’ overconfident, inexperienced son, he gets to rub shoulders with heavy-duty character actors, exchange blows with Statham, and bully Ms. Lopez.

“Hey, it’s acting, it’s my passion,” Hauptman says.