James was born in Jackson Heights, Queens, New York. Started out doing impressions at stand up comedy clubs at 16. He eventually got an interest in acting classes in small spaces in small venues in Manhattan. First dramatic role was as John Proctor In Arthur Miller's "The Crucible" at Forest Hills High School. After high school, he attended the Juilliard School for Dramatic Arts. Since then, he has performed on various off-Broadway stages, and is seen going back and forth between stage and screen.