When did you decide that you wanted to become an actor?
I’ve always wanted to be an actor. I just never believed I could become one, coming from small-town America. Several years ago, I happened to find myself at dinner with a gentleman following a board of directors and shareholder meeting we both were attending. During our conversation that night, he looked across the table at me and said, “I’ve got a part in a movie we are getting ready to shoot that I’d like you to be in. It’s the role of a luxury yacht captain and I think you’re the guy.” I was taken back as anyone probably would have been, but I knew I wanted to do it. I’ve never looked back since that day, constantly pushing to become better and develop my craft.
What do you like the most and least about acting?
I love the sense of fulfillment and accomplishment I feel after nailing a scene that I’ve worked months to prepare for. It’s difficult to describe what the exact payoff is to someone who hasn’t experienced it. Acting is its reward, and I feel blessed to have “caught the bug.”
The most challenging part of the industry I struggle with is the ever-changing timelines and start dates for the roles we are cast in. We are told a movie will begin filming on a specific date, and it seems those dates, more often than not, are pushed back for one reason or another. It makes it quite challenging to plan other things in my life or take on different roles when this happens. I come from the demanding world of business with its firm deadlines and commitments. Moving into the artistic world of movies with their moving filming dates will always remain a challenge for me.
Tell us about your role in the thriller “Karen.”
I play Officer Mike Wind, the older brother to Karen (Taryn Manning) in the movie. Officer Wind is not a nice guy. He became hardened to life and biased against certain races due to some challenges he and his sister personally faced growing up in the neighborhoods they were raised in. Also, his years in the police force hardened him into the brutal cop that he became. He thinks he is above the law. He feels bulletproof because he has a “brotherhood and fraternal order of elite law enforcement officers” who have his back. Officer Wind schemes with his sister Karen to remove her new African American neighbor from the neighborhood. He uses the weight of his position as a senior officer to do just that. He is a racist with a temper and a badge who is guilty of many instances of police brutality.
Share with us what the movie is about.
Malik and Imani are a young black couple who move into a new house in the suburbs. When they arrive, they are greeted by a seemingly friendly white neighbor named Karen Drexler. The name itself somewhat gives it away, playing off the stereotype of the name Karen. However, this façade slowly reveals a bitter, jealous, angry, and racist woman who wants to remove the couple at any cost with the help of her police officer brother Mike Wind. After some consideration and intimidation, the new neighbors decide they won’t leave without a fight to defend their right to live there, and the racist siblings stop at nothing, trying to rid Karen of their presence.
Are you currently working on any projects that you can discuss?
I am currently cast in four new projects in various stages of pre-production. Two projects I can mention are the movies Birdseye and Armistice. Birdseye is an action thriller following a young Russian spy whose job is espionage. She is assigned to go to the United States, where she develops a relationship with my character, a US Senator. This film is an intense, action-packed thriller with all the feelings of suspense, love, desperation, and heartache. Armistice is a beautifully written story taken from historically factual information and recorded interviews of former US President Dwight D Eisenhower’s experiences and interaction with actual extraterrestrial beings not from this planet. Both movies are epic reads, and I feel very fortunate and blessed to be allowed to be a part of both.
What is your favorite thing to do on your days off?
I enjoy my daily workouts, golfing, hiking, traveling, reading, and the occasional Netflix binge of a well-written and produced series in my downtime. When I can make it work, I enjoy just spending time with my three children. Nothing in the world means more to me than time spent with my kids.
What is something you want to learn?
I intend to start singing lessons. I’ve been told I have a naturally good voice, but certainly nothing I would say I feel comfortable singing any solos with. I want to get to that place where I could add that as an element and talent to what I bring to the table of acting and otherwise.
Out of all your accomplishments, which one was the most difficult to achieve?
Fatherhood. Nothing is more challenging or rewarding than taking on the responsibility of nurturing, raising, and guiding another human. Fatherhood is a calling I don’t take lightly, and in fact, cherish. It’s also one that I strive to remain worthy of daily. It’s an effort that lasts a lifetime that I’ll never officially “accomplish” or “achieve,” as it's ongoing and doesn’t stop regardless of the age my children are. It’s a beautiful thing.
Who inspires you?
My late Grandfather Hollingshead inspires me daily. The way he lived his life with such honor and integrity has impacted me in a way I’ll forever be grateful for. He taught me the service of others before self. My Grandfather exemplified kindness and respect for others and without question, was my hero. My mother’s unconditional love and desire for all things good and right have sustained me throughout my life. My children inspire me daily to be a better man and father, if not for myself, for them.
What is your favorite phrase that gets you through tough days?
“This too shall pass.” Throughout my life, one thing has been unavoidable. Nothing lasts forever, and I am constantly evolving, and things are changing in my life. During tough days, I just remind myself to embrace whatever emotions I am feeling. I face them, feel them, understand them, and let them run their course. Then I gratefully let them go once I’ve processed them fully. Every difficult time in my life, I can look back on it with gratitude for what it taught me and how it changed me and helped me grow. During difficult times I don’t always have the perspective to understand the “why,” but I do know I will eventually be given that knowledge. So, I hold on to the understanding that it won’t last forever and that one day I’ll be blessed for it. Now, if I could just learn patience.