By Adam Humphreys
Meet Samuel Kelly IV, an upcoming talent actor, writer and director.
He first began his foray into the acting scene in a short film called ‘Red Mustang’, which he also wrote, directed and produced. Sam is very much a down-to-earth sort of guy and tries to reflect an honest representation in his own projects.
Having grown up watching the works of some of the Hollywood greats such as Spike Lee, Will Smith and Denzel Washington Samuel Kelly is very much someone to keep an eye out for, both this year and next. Now he may only have been in the profession for less than a couple of years but he’s already gaining the attention of some of the bigwigs in the industry. A couple of those have led to parts in two upcoming films, ‘Mother’s Child’ and ‘Plastic Toys’, both of which are due out this year.
“Acting has always been a part of me, I just didn’t know it.”
Nice to speak to you Sam. Now you first started your acting profession with a short film called ‘Red Mustang’ in which you act, directed and produced, tell us more. Also how did you come up with the title?
Well, it was a burst of inspiration – the original script was designed for something else! After having a chat with Fiano Lynn the writer, something inspirational happened – the script somehow spoke to me in every way possible. I fell in love with the storyline itself. Growing up on police comedies such as ‘Badboys’ and ‘Rush Hour’ I couldn’t help but dip into that type of feel, so we decided as a collective we would make it into a short film. Really surprised how quickly it came together.
In terms of production how long did it take from start to finish?
I’m not kidding – it took us one day to shoot, and 3 weeks to edit. Me and co-star partner Bao kinda jelled straightway which made the process even quicker.
Can you tell us anything more about it in regards to the story?
Yes of course! ‘Red Mustang’ is about two detectives who go on a hunt to catch a known criminal. The thing is every time they get close it seems to be a dead-end.
When you were making the film did you draw on life experiences or was it a case of brainstorming ideas?
It was the spear of the moment type of scenario – we did brainstorm however on the day of filming things kinda just happened, we actually scrapped a lot of things and played around with the idea a lot more on set! ‘Red Mustang’ was a project that tested our versatility.
Whereabouts did you film?
I went back to where I grew up which is East London – I really wanted to put the area on the map. So people could see the beautiful side of it. East London has always had a spark of comedy, so the choice was kinda easy and also the location was perfect for what we were filming.
What was it about acting, directing and producing that first got you interested and would you ever be tempted to go down the screen-writing route?
Acting has always been a part of me, I just didn’t know it. The fact that you can express yourself on screen without being judged for being unique. It really resonates with me, and the love for acting pushed me to work hard on my skills. After working closely with a few writers, I can definitely say I’ve been tempted to write my own script in the future.
Was there anyone in particular that gave you inspiration?
Will Smith and Denzel Washington have been a major inspiration since I started acting. Producing, I was inspired by Spike Lee, Tyler Perry, and Spielberg. Their films always send chills of joy down my spine; I can’t explain it. Something about their movies always stands out, I’m guessing because they are all risk-takers. That’s what inspired the most, they always thought out of the box!
Now you’ve got a couple of films coming out soon, including one called ‘Plastic Toys’ which is expected this summer – can you tell us anything about it?
Ahh, this was my first role playing an American officer which I truly enjoyed! At the moment all I know is that it’s about a New York bad boy called Jason and his wayward girlfriend Tanzy. Jason leads a life of hardcore clubbing and low-level drug dealing.
There is another upcoming film you are in called ‘Mother’s Child’ – can we expect to be seeing that at some point?
Yes, that should be coming out really soon, and it’s a very interesting crew and cast attached to that movie.
You’ve got another film project coming up called ‘Brutally Tormented’. Tell us more please.
‘Brutally Tormented’, is in pre-production and will commence filming soon.
How did you get the part of your character, Andrew, in it?
The director contacted me via Facebook and asked if I would like to take the role – I couldn’t say no after reading the script. As you know I’m a big sucker for a well-written script…
What type of person is he?
He’s kind of a cool, relaxed type of guy. Somebody I’ve always pictured myself playing. A character with an intense mindset.
As an actor you’ve spent the early part of your career in the British and TV industry. Do you think you’ll be tempted to try the American/Canadian film and TV industry?
For me, that’s the next step, I’m a big believer in everything happens for a reason. The American market has always been in the back of my mind, it’s another journey which I’m happy to take on.
But on the whole though how do you reckon the film/TV industry in this country is when it comes to representation, honestly?
In the UK, I found there is plenty of opportunity! Most come from you! When I first started I didn’t have a clue how things worked. So it was difficult reaching the right people. Now I try not to think too much about it, just do my thing.
Do you think you’ll ever give the stage, and possibly the West End, a go at some point?
Yes, I would – ‘The Lion King’ has always been a part of my childhood. Every actor has done stage at some point, you’re right – it’s only a matter of time before it’s my turn. Which I will happily take on with a smile.
Lastly, is there anything in the pipeline for 2021?
There’s always something in the pipeline. You will be the first to know once another project starts. At the moment, I’ve just finished my new Autobiography Turning Point – HOPE.
In Conversation With… Samuel Kelly IV
By Adam Humphreys
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