Rotimi Paul [Interview]


Today we are honored to feature one of the hottest young talents in the modern world of film and television. He is the multi-talented and multi-faceted actor and filmmaker Rotimi Paul. Having already appeared in many your favorite television series thus far, from project like Bull and Blue Bloods, to a few great appearances on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon (which we will discuss below), audiences are going to be amazed by this amazing talent when he will appear in the highly anticipated addition to the Purge franchise on July 4th, in The First Purge.

We were excited to learn more about this amazing young man, and were definitely not let down. Rotimi tells us his thoughts on the Purge franchise, his experience around the infamous Jonestown massacre that he will be showing the world about through film, being Chewbacca, and so much more! We are honored to have this man with us here today to showcase for you fine readers!

So Ladies and Gentlemen, please enjoy some amazing words from the brilliant Rotimi Paul!

When did you first discover that you had a passion for the world of performance and other aspects of the world of film and theatre? Have you always had the proverbial itch to work within the arts?

I was never really much of a ham as a child. I grew up in the Caribbean before moving to New York, so I mostly spent my time playing sports when I was a kid. I knew that I wanted to be an actor in about sophomore year of college at Syracuse University.  I started to really get into the theater at that point in my life, and I couldn’t shake the itch after that. I ended up getting a theater minor and heading to NYC after graduation to go to an acting conservatory called William Esper Studio for 2 years.

Scrolling through your IMDb page, I notice one interesting credit that has me very intrigued and would love to hear about. Among a few appearances on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon…you once portrayed Chewbacca? What exactly were you doing as Chewy? How was that experience for you overall?

Hahahaha (laughing fondly). That was one of the first acting opportunities I got after completing my conservatory training. I sent my headshot and resume into SNL actually, and they forwarded it onto Late Night with Jimmy Fallon which had just started, and they called me up. It was such a cool experience to be there and see Jimmy do his work in that setting. The sketch was titled “Highly Illogical” and it was a music video for his Tu-Spock character. Black Thought of The Roots was also in it, so it was really just a lot of fun.

Audiences will be fortunate enough to see you on the big screen in the latest installment of one of the most original film franchises out there right now, The First Purge. What should fans of the Purge franchise thus far be excited to see? What will we be seeing you personally bringing to the story?

Fans can definitely get excited about seeing how The Purge started. It’s such a cool concept and I think this film makes it even cooler by pealing back a bit of what the audience has come to expect as the norm and instead show what it took to get there. I think my character personally brings to the story a sense of danger that can be present when people don’t have any opportunity around them. In our dramatized and fictionalized world, I think that I represent a person who sees the first Purge night as an opportunity to do better for myself.

I understand that you are also working on a documentary that is intriguing by subject matter alone, entitled Surviving Jonestown. Can you tell us a bit about this project? What inspired you to make this film?

Definitely. Surviving Jonestown is a documentary that I’m working on that tells a bit of the story of what happened in Guyana, South America on November 18, 1978. My family is Guyanese, and I was inspired to tell this story because it is my Dad’s story. It is literally his story of survival as he was one of the pilots on the ground that day that was slated to fly out some of the members when the shooting started. Through being intrigued by his story, I began researching and hearing from other people involved and went from there.

If you were handed the opportunity to portray any legendary figure (for good or for bad) in world history, who would it be?

Sidney Poitier. Seeing him in A Raisin In The Sun had such a profound impact on my desire to act. I have never seen a portrayal of him. What he meant for the perception of black men at a time when film wasn’t doing its best to show us in a multifaceted light is extraordinary. He had an incredible involvement in providing positive counterbalance to the limiting imagery of his era. I always want to  leave things better than how I found them. By use of his talents, intellect, convictions and appeal, he did just that.

What else does the future hold for you? Anything you would like to plug to our readers?

Hopefully more interesting characters in film and TV. Don’t tell anyone, but I have no idea how the story ends; I’m winging it, literally just trying to enjoy the ride. Anyone who wants to follow my journey can do so at @rotimipaul on Instagram and @RotimiAPaul on Twitter. I always appreciate when people who are supporters of my work reach out.

What was the last thing that made you smile?

An online video. I’m easily amused.

Catch Rotimi in The First Purge, in theaters on July 4th. Check out the official trailer for the film right here:

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About rontrembathiii
write. write. write.

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