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May 2008
STUCK: An Interview with Russell Hornsby

STUCK: An Interview with Russell Hornsby
By Wilson Morales

May 26, 2008

For most of his acting career, Russell Hornsby has been on the stage performing to a small and large crowd almost 7 to 8 shows a week. He’s performed in leading roles in productions such as To Kill A Mockingbird, Joe Louis’s Blues and Six Degrees of Separation. In 2000, he made his debut on the Off-Broadway stage playing Young Blood in August Wilson’s Jitney. In 2004, he starred in Broadway’s Intimate Apparel opposite Viola Davis.

Hornsby currently stars in Lincoln Heights, a drama series on the ABC Family Channel about a police officer who moves his family back to his old ’hood to start a new life and help his neighborhood. Prior to this, he starred as a series regular in Playmakers as aging running back Leon Taylor, in Haunted as Detective Marcus Bradshaw and in Gideon’s Crossing as Chief Resident Dr. Aaron Boise.

In the film world, Hornby’s been in After the Sunset with Pierce Brosnan, Jim Sheridan’s Get Rich or Die Tryin’ (opposite 50 Cent), Edmond (opposite William H. Macy) and Something New with Sanaa Lathan.

Coming up next for Hornsby is “Stuck”, a new film by Stuart Gordon, who had done “Re-Animator,” and “Edmond”.

Based on the true story, Brandi (Mena Suvari) is a compassionate young retirement-home caregiver in-line for a promotion. Tom (Stephen Rea) is a victim of the downsized economy, out of work and newly homeless. Their worlds collide when Brandi, driving home from a club after too many drinks and pills, accidentally hits Tom, the impact smashing his body head-first through her car’s windshield. If discovered, this "accident" will extinguish her bright future, so instead of saving him, her plan is to let him pass and dispose of the body later. Faced with this reality, Tom knows he must escape if he wants to survive. Hornsby plays Brandi’s tough guy boyfriend, Rashid.

In speaking to blackfilm.com, Hornsby talks about his character, doing the sex scene with Mena Suvari, and coming back for another season on ‘Lincoln Heights’.

What role do you play in the film?

Russell Hornsby: I play a guy named Rashid in what I would call a dark comedy. He would compare him to the cowardly lion to create the character. He’s one of those guys who employs a false bravado. He thinks he’s more than what he is and I think he’s just a sheep in wolves’ clothing and gets caught in the middle.

What attracted you to this film?

RH: It was the opportunity to play this creative character quite honestly. So often times a lot of the roles offered or out there are very pat and that’s boring. The character Rashid was someone I could pull from the pages and create. You want to know where he comes from and where he is going; and what makes him tick. He’s just all those things. Those are the things that I look to do whenever I work on any type of role. I think Rashid is more of complex character than what you see at first glance and I had an opportunity to bring that to life.

How was working with Mena (Suvari)?

RH: We had a great time.

How was filming the sex scene?

RH: To be honest with you, it was quite boring. You really want it to end as soon as possible because it’s very uncomfortable for both parties involved. There’s tons of people around you and you and the other party are half naked and there’s nothing happening. You’re really trying to just get it done.

What did you think of the story itself? What would you have done if you were in that situation?

RH: I don’t know to be honest with you. To be truthful, I can’t tell you. I really don’t know what I would have done in that situation. I really think what the character did was as honest as she can be. When you are in that moment and you are frightened and you are scared for your life; and especially when you are in an altered mind state as well, it’s hard to think as to what to do.

Earlier you had mentioned that you wanted a role that had some meat to it, whereas for most other actors, some would want any role to be in a film. Having been on theater where you act everyday and probably have more to do in terms of preparation, is it a different mentality?

RH: No. I don’t think it’s different. Everyone wants to work but at the same time you want to do the best work possible. I look at myself as an artist, and as such, I like to create a character and give my interpretation of what this role is and therefore I want the biggest challenge possible. Whenever you have the opportunity to create a role, I’m looking to do that, theater or film. I don’t think it has anything to do with me coming from the theater world per say. I think it has a lot to do with my background, my talent and my expectation. What do I expect from a role? What do I expect from a certain job or situation? What do I expect of me? When you have high expectations for yourself, you have high expectations for others as well and you want the best.

Is ‘Lincoln Heights’ coming back for another season?

RH: Yes, we are premiering September 9th.

How do you feel coming back for a third season, especially after so many program didn’t make it because of the strike?

RH: I have to tell you that it’s a blessing, to say the least. For anyone, especially a person of color, to work in this business and to live in this business, is quite exceptional; and I’m quite fortunate to be one of those people. I think that goes without saying. Every time I look to do the best job I possible can because I’m quite fortunate to be able to work in this business. My work represents me.

What should one expect from the third season?

RH: It’s dealing more with the family and the community. I think it’s going to be a lot of fun and very engaging and quite interesting. It will be a good time.

Why should anyone go see ‘Stuck’?

RH: If people want to laugh a little bit, and look at life through a different lens, and take the time to enjoy themselves, then go see the film.

STUCK opens on May 30, 2008


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