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April 2008
An Interview with Kadeem Hardison

An Interview with Kadeem Hardison

By Wilson Morales

April 28, 2008

It’s been a long time coming but Kadeem Hardison is back on the big screen. Although he will forever be known for portraying Dwayne Wayne on the Cosby Show spin-off A Different World, Hardison had done some film in the past such as ‘School Daze’ and ‘White Man Can’t Jump’. We hadn’t seen much of him except for some TV gigs on various shows. Then he received critcal acclaim for playing Fantasia Barrino's father in the 2006 Lifetime movie, ‘Life Is Not A Fairy Tale’, for which he received the Image Award for best ‘Outstanding Actor in a Television Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special’. It must have sparked some renewed interest in him again that he has a featured role in ‘Made of Honor’ opposite Grey’s Anatomy’s Patrick Dempsey.

In speaking exclusively with blackfilm.com, Hardison talks about his character, working with Patrick Dempsey, and being a father to his daughter, Sophia Hardison.

What role do you play in the film?

Kadeem Hardison: I play one of Patrick’s friends. I’m the married friend.

What attracted you to the role?

KH: I auditioned just like I do with the other films I’ve been in. I read the script, and thought it would be a fun romantic comedy to do and I went in and it all went well.

How was it working with Patrick Dempsey?

KH: He’s great. We laughed all the time. We talked about him being ‘the sexiest man alive’. We laughed and joked most of the time we were there. It wasn’t a dramatic, so most of the time, the guys were having fun.

What did you think of the story about a guy who’s in love with his best friend since at one point when you were on ‘A Different Story’, your character Dwayne and Jasmin Guy’s character were on a similar path?

KH: Actually, we were close friends but not best friends between Dwayne and Whitney. Dwayne always had a crush on her, and it was her that had to come around. I was more like her best friend than she was mine. I had the character Ron as my best friend.

Since the show ended many years ago, we haven’t seen a lot of you on the big screen. Why is that?

KH: I don’t know, but you know why, it’s not up to me. It’s not up to you and me. I’ve been trying. It’s not for a lack of trying. You just have to find the right role at that right time. You have to want them and they have to want you. The moon has to be right and the sun has to be set, and all that has to be together before it works out.

How’s life been since you left the show?

KH: My life has been great. I have a great kid. I work when I can. I’m not in a position where I have to work, but if the project is worth it, I will go out for it.

You made such an impression in ‘Life Is Not a Fairytale: The Fantasia Barrino Story’, playing her father, were you able that success to getting more film work?

KH: Well, you can say that it parlayed into ‘Made of Honor’, but I don’t understand how that works. Usually you do good work and people see it, and the audience loves your performance and they want to see more of you, and you can take your tape around and show it to people, but it comes down to the person who’s not available that makes the decision on putting you in a film or project. When I was on ‘A Different World’, I could have parlayed that into anything, but once I was off, I tried like hell to go on to any potential blockbuster film I could. It didn’t always work. I guess you can parlay your work when the exposure is at the highest.

Would you consider going back to the TV work doing a series as opposed to the episodic work you’ve done on various shows?

KH: Sure. When I was on television, I wanted to do more film work. Now that I have a kid, who I have around days and nights with, and not have to go away for months at a time, I’d love to do a TV show. A TV show would keep me close to home. I don’t mind doing episodic work because you get to go in and playing a different character for a short time.

What’s next for you?

KH: I directed a film called ‘The Dark Party’. It’s the story of two friends who are sort of fed up with their love lives. Two best friends from childhood who find that they really haven’t found their true love, and one of them comes up with the idea to have a party where everyone is blindfolded, and you meet someone completely different with your eyes shut, instead of seeing what you want. You meet someone and you’re forced to talk to them, and the hope is to find your soul mate, ‘the one’.

Who’s in the cast?

KH: I’m in the film as well as Marcus Patrick and a woman named Iva La’Shawn, and a bunch of my friends. You might see some old ‘A Different World’ faces in the film. Most of us keep in contact and check up on each other, and follow up on each other’s kids and stuff. It was a fun shoot. It was something that my cousin had written.

How was the experience directing?

KH: That was great. I had a few days to do it but it was fun as hell. At the same time, I’m still an actor, so some days I would have to go in and audition in the middle of the day, so I would the cast shoot early in the day. It was a lot of fun and I had a good time doing the film.

What keeps you grounded?

KH: My daughter and my upbringing. I was raised by a woman who was grounded, so it was on passed on to me, and I have a kid who’s growing up in the world, and try to bring her up like I was.

Why should anyone see ‘Made of Honor’?

KH: You should go see it because I’m in it and Patrick Dempsey is the second most sexist man in the world, and it’s a good date movie. It’s a nice break from the other film we will be competing with. ‘Iron Man’ is not out competition. It’s got everything behind it. ‘Made of Honor’ is a good romantic comedy that you can take a date to and get a couple of laughs and not be stuck waiting on line to get a ticket. If ‘Iron Man’ is sold out, go see ‘Made of Honor’.

MADE OF HONOR opens on May 2, 2008

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