Gavin Houston [Interview]

 

Gavin Houston by Ted Sun (www.tedsun.net)


Hello Dear Readers! We have a very exciting interview for you all today with an amazing performer that you should probably already know and love. It’s Gavin Houston, Everyone! He is a star of The Haves an the Have Nots on OWN, but on a more personal note, he is the man who played one of my favorite vocalists/people in the world, the amazing Babyface, in the Lifetime biopic about another one of my favorite vocalists/people, Toni Braxton, in the film Toni Braxton: Unbreak My Heart. I will admit that I went into the film biased because of how much I love these artists, but Gavin Houston did an absolutely amazing job in this role! Bias or not, it is undeniable that he was amazing in this role, and has been great in everything he has done.

In the interview below, you are going to find a man who has a perfect blend of confidence and humbleness that is so wonderful to find in a man with just damn much talent. Gavin Houston is a brilliant actor who has had a wonderful career thus far, and has a future that is only looking brighter. And I cannot wait to continue to watch is career as it progresses. So let’s cut this thing short, and get right into some amazing words from the brilliant Gavin Houston!

When did you discover that you had a passion for the world of performance? How old were you when you decided that this was the way you wanted to earn a living?

I realized that I had a passion for performance at about 9 years old.  Growing up close to NYC in northern New Jersey, my parents often took my sister and I to plays on Broadway and in Central Park.  I particularly remember seeing Yule Brenner in The King and I on Broadway, and Kevin Kline in Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing.  The effect  on the audience from these performances immediately made me imagine myself on stage performing and sharing that same connection.  I began acting professionally at 11 years old and stopped to go to college.  My senior year in college, I saw a sign for an open casting call for a play at the university, went to the audition, and got the role. Just the feeling I got from auditioning, not even know if I got the role, kept me up all night with excitement.  I knew I had found my calling.   I then went on to do numerous plays in the Theatre department before heading back to New York to pursue it professionally.

You have appeared regularly on Tyler Perry’s original dramatic series, The Haves and the Haves Nots, on OWN. What has it been like to work on a series like this? The cast is loaded with some wonderful talent, so does this create a solid cast dynamic?

Working on HHN has been a great experience.  We shoot so much and so quickly that it literally has been like going to an acting bootcamp.   Not to mention the fact of playing a character completely different from me.  Thru my time on the series,  I’ve learned so much about myself and grown exponentially as an actor.  The best part was getting to do it all with such a wonderful cast and crew.  This series has definitely been the most challenging job I’ve ever had, but I feel it has prepared me for everything and anything to come in the future.

The cast of my show is definitely filled with some wonderful talent, but moreover, the cast is filled with wonderful people.   The bond and the connection that we all have from being on this ride for so long, makes the work feel second nature.  We know each other, we’ve grown with each other, and all the while been there for each other.  The trust and the atmosphere has always lent itself to creative vulnerability and freedom.

In 2016, you appeared in Lifetime biopic Toni Braxton: Unbreak My Heart. Now, I do love Braxton as an artist, but I absolutely ADORE the legendary figure known as Babyface, who you happened to portray in the film! What sort of process did you go through to tap into the world of such a legend? When did you realize that you were ready to play Babyface?

Its funny because all throughout high school and beyond, I’ve always been told that I resemble Babyface.  So when this role came up, I was excited for the opportunity.  After getting cast, Toni Braxton told me that Babyface was the one who selected me, so not only was it an honor, it was a huge responsibility.  In my opinion, tapping into him, or any character for that matter, is about tapping into the soul of a person.  I watched countless hours of material on him.  I also really researched his life, his background, his childhood, the people in his life, etc.  I really don’t like to see imitations and feel like if we, as an audience,  can feel the person living inside the body of the actor, then we can see the person living on the outside.  To this day, I think Denzel Washington, who physically looked completely different from Malcolm X is a testament to that. I was just lucky enough to have the resemblance of Babyface.  Lol.

And while we are on the Toni Braxton biopic, that film happened to be directed by the legendary Vondie Curtis Hall. I am curious to know what it was like to work under the guise of such a legendary figure? And when it comes to directors in general, what do you appreciate most from a director? What can a great director do to help a performer?

Working with Vondie was amazing.  He is truly an actor’s director.  Not to mention the fact that he is such a likable and down to earth person.  I really felt that working with him was a collaborative process.  He also gave the actors so much freedom to play and still make discoveries during the filming process.    What I appreciate most about a director is the ability of knowing how to balance being hands on and being hands off.  They say the majority of the work for the director is in casting the right person.  So I love directors that allow the actor artistic freedom and aren’t beholden to one way of doing things.  I also like a director who builds a rapport and takes the time to talk to their actors even while filming.  One of the best things I’ve ever seen a director do, was while on set, and surrounded with crew and people moving things and noise, take the actors who were about to film to a separate quiet space, and go over where the characters were in the scene and just touch base on the  relationships, backstory, and events leading up to the scene.

Gavin Houston by Ted Sun (www.tedsun.net)

 

To add even more versatility to the plethora of roles you have worked on, you also worked on the Soap Opera series Guiding Light for a number of years. We’ve spoken with a lot of writers and actors from the Soap world over the years, and we always are interested in one major thing: What was it like to work a series with the extremely fast and constant pace of a Soap Opera? What did you learn and take away from your experience on program like this?

Working on Guiding Light right after college and General Hospital later on, were great forms of on the job training.  In my experience, soap opera’s shoot the fastest, and largest amount of dialogue per day, of any form of scripted television.  So after doing soaps, everything else feels easy. The amount of dialogue you are constantly responsible for and how quickly you have to learn it, is really great training.  Plus, because the pace is so fast, you really learn to trust yourself and your instincts and don’t have time to get in your head.  Not to mention taking in the blocking and stage direction quickly.  So I think its great training for any actor.  There were days that I literally feared filming, but somehow was able to get through it and remember all my lines.   You really learn what you can handle if given the right motivation.

What does the future hold for you? Anything you would like to share with our readers?

My future holds a  Film career.  I see myself becoming another regular on a show as well, but I feel it will all lead into a film career.  I’ve refocused and rededicated my training and feel that it will play a huge part in what’s to come for me in the future.  I really see myself getting into films or shows with lots of action, explosions, fight scenes etc.  Or playing  a Marvel or DC character.

What was the last thing that made you smile?

The last thing that made me smile was walking into my house last night and finding my dog.   I walk in and can’t seem to find her anywhere, so finally I start looking in the rooms.  I look in one of the guest rooms and see her laying on the bed, which she is a place she is not allowed to be.   I turn on the lights, and she slowly turns her head back and looks at me while wagging her tale.  I honestly just  shook my head and smiled.  🙂

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About rontrembathiii
write. write. write.

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