Introducing J Kristopher, one of newest faces in Hollywood. I had the great opportunity to interview Mr. J Kristopher for the launch of his new website JKristopher.com. We discussed his acting career, his relationship status, as well as his upcoming role in the movie “10-20″. Check out some of his work in the clip below, and read my interview with J Kristopher.
10-20 (pronounced Ten to Twenty), a film in which you play a leading character was nominated as the HBO’s Best Feature Film at the 2009 Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival, tell us a little bit about the title of the film and the character you play. Why is this movie so important to black men in particular?
This movie is based on a law in Florida called 10-20. If someone is caught with a gun without a permit, they get 10 years. If they aim it at someone, they get 20 years to life. The director of the movie has a brother currently serving a life sentence because he was trying to rob someone at an ATM. This was his first felony charge but he got life in prison. She made the movie to not only tell her brother’s story but also to try an educate other brothers out there, who may not know the severe penalties associated with this crime. Maybe they will think twice before they act. I play the villian of the story, Lee. I am the guy he gets caught up with that turns him to a life of crime.
What do you do to prepare for an audition or a role, do you get nervous?
If there are sides, I try to study them until I get comfortable. That way I can go off book if needed and add my own spice to it. Of course I get nervous. This may sound corny but I always pray before I have an audition. Sometimes I listen to certain types of music. It feels like I am gearing up for a game. I guess playing athletics in school helped me out.
I heard you ran into Leonardo DiCaprio on an elevator and was surprised by his height; he’s actually tall. Are there any other surprises or things you’ve discovered about fellow actors?
As a matter of fact, I’ve had several occasions where I bumped into Spike Lee (who was humble enough to introduce himself as if I didn’t know who he was) or pioneers like Ted Lange, Marla Gibbs, etc. The one I remember the most was when I went to a different church one day to support my friend who was a praise dancer. It just opened so there wasn’t that many people in the congregation (not like the king size churches in the south). I got there a little late but I noticed someone standing in the corner that looked familiar. Turns out, it was Mark Jackson (2nd all time assist leader in NBA history), to the right of him, was Tiny Lister “Dibo”, Will and Jada Smith and even Jon Voight. I was looking around like “WHOA!!”. It was surreal seeing all the faces I grew up watching in one room. I even ran into Will in the lobby who also introduced himself, gave me a hug and introduced his daughter to me. We talked for a sec and then I told him that I looked forward to working with him one day. He laughed like “that’s what’s up”. It was pretty cool.
Once you become an actor you see celebrities all the time, do you still get star-struck? Is there one celebrity that you just have to meet or work with to fulfill your dream as actor?
Yes I do ha ha. But my “star struck” is a little different than most because it is based on respect. It is like running into the CEO or VP at the company you work for. You knew it took hard work, patience and dedication for them to get into that position (9 times out of 10). So while I admire them for going the distance, it just makes me hungrier to go after what I want.
I was reading your resume, and it’s quite impressive. How were you able to accomplish so many things in such a short period of time?
I spent a lot of time doing every other thing besides acting. So I asked God not just for more opportunities, but I asked Him to make up the time that I lost. After all if He is God and He can do all things, why not ask Him for my time back? I wanted Him to put me in the position as if I started when I was young. The fruit is the result.
What made you decide to leave Texas for Los Angeles, and pursue your acting dreams?
Hardship actually. I was doing a series of odd jobs from working at the dollar store to working for temp agencies. I never had the faith to pursue what I always wanted to do. I would meet people along the way who had similar paths and I would try to encourage them. However, every time I would encourage them to pursue their dreams, I would be convicted because I wasn’t following mine. So I decided to trust God with my love (which was acting) and move out to Los Angeles.
How about a few words of advice for a young person who wants to move to Los Angeles to pursue their goals of modeling or acting? What are the main things they need to know?
I would tell them to master their art, wherever they are. You can do that by doing community theatre, learn from the teachers around them, always keep your ears and eyes open. Be a humble student. Pray about everything. Don’t take anything personally and keep a business mindset. Yes, Hollywood can be about who you know or who knows you. Keep your reputation clear. Always keep your word, be on time, stay away from gossip and try to be personable without having an agenda. All these things come from loving what you do.
What’s in store for J Kristopher in 2010? Where should we expect to see you next?
Well as the Superbowl draws near, you should see me at all your Target stores nationwide. I will be on posters and cardboard cut outs in the store. I also just booked a part in a film called Making it in LA and continuing my work on a film called Fierce Target. 10-20 and a short film in which I have the lead called “Always with You” were just selected to be in the San Diego Film Festival. A Spiritual Divide is a short film where I play a lawyer (lead role) trying to bring his family together after neglecting them because of his career. The Rally has been pushed to be released in the Spring where I play a pastor (lead role) trying to put on a Christian community event despite malicious efforts from the mob who runs the town. IJE Journey which will be released theatrically overseas, will feature me playing a rapist. Adventures of Noah Sife is a series of comedy sketches made into a movie. I play a nerd who has feminine tendencies. All this to say I try to play different characters to show versatility and God is good
Last but not least, women out there need to know if you’re an eligible bachelor; a single model and actor is hard to come by. Who’s the special lady in your life?
That is a setup question lol. I am single at the moment. I believe true love is not manufactured so when the right lady comes along, it will be the right time. In the meantime, I’ll be preparing a place for us.
Winner of HBO’s Best Feature Film at the 2009 Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival, “10-20″ (pronounced ten to twenty) is an extraordinary film from new comer, Terrisha Kearse. Emotional and powerful, the film derives its name from a law in Florida that gives first time offenders of unlawful possession of firearms a guaranteed minimum of ten years, plus a guaranteed life sentence if there’s an intent to shoot, or a perceived threat. We are always talking about real black films, and here’s an exclusive look at one of the best films premiering this year.
When asked why she was compelled to make this film, Terrisha Kearse, replied that it was inspired by true life events from her past:
I want 10-20 to open some young peoples’ eyes to the laws in Florida. Many are committing crimes without realizing this law exists and the consequences of this law aren’t known to them.
If you like this movie, also check out my exclusive interview with of the films stars, J Kristopher.