In an exclusive interview, Scott J. Davis sat down with actor Denver Isaac to talk his role in ‘Beyond Plain Sight’ and the hit TV drama ‘A.D The Bible Continues’…
SJD: How have your family reacted to your career choice and your successes in the entertainment in-dustry? Was it always your dream to be an actor?
Growing up in Zimbabwe, I was always role playing with my friends and family being the school bus driver; the headmaster; the Pastor or whatever we imagined whilst playing in the gardens but it never occurred to me then that I was playing; acting, I mean so years later when I turned 18 in London and told my Mother that I was going to Drama School to train as an actor, she wasn’t really surprised, the first thing she said to me was ”You have never stopped pretending and playing since you were a boy!” and she has really supported me in every kind of way since I graduated. The rest of my family are nurses and doctors so whenever I appear on their televisions, it is an event to behold; a proud moment for them and a proud moment for me that I can make them so happy.
SJD: I understand you were born in Masvingo in Zimbabwe. What was it like growing up there soon after the country gained its independence from colonial rule?
Yes, I was born in Masvingo but I never really lived there. It’s a cultural thing to grow up with your cousins as well as your siblings if you have any in Zimbabwe so you end up travelling all over the country! Now that I think about it, there was a feeling of hedonism almost, utter joy and pride that I got from my parents and their friends when I was growing up and it was all related to the country’s new found Independence from colonial rule. However, that feeling shifted very quickly to dread as soon as the mid 90’s when the economy according to my Father, became unstable. That is when he lost his job in the national rail service and my Mother decided to emigrate to England.
SJD: What and who inspired you to become an actor?
There was a popular comedian in the 90’s in Zimbabwe called ‘Parrafin’ who I adored. He had a ridiculous-ly funny sketch show that came on TV that made me want to perform as well as he did but it was really the cowboy films of Clint Eastwood that made me want to act.
SJD: I understand you have trained at Italia Conti in London and also with some notable acting in-structors. How important is training for you as an actor?
Training as an actor was an unforgettable experience because it really turned me from a boy into a young man; apart from the foundation of theatre acting and technique that it gave me, it also made me more world-ly and aware of the world I am in.
SJD: You starred in the dark and disturbing film Beyond Plain Sight, which premiered at Raindance in London and was nominated Best British Short Film. Can you tell us about the film and the role you played? How did you prepare yourself as an actor?
‘Beyond Plain Sight’ is the first film I produced with my own money and I loved the experience. I remem-ber sitting down with my friend Joseph Adesunloye who directed the film discussing how long we had known each other and yet I didn’t know that he didn’t drink red wine. Our conversation then went deeper in-to what we may or may not know about people we come across every day of our lives and the secrets we all hide from each other big and small. As the night got later, we started writing a synopsis of a narrative in which a gregarious and seemingly kind young man of a small neighborhood hides a dark secret in his flat. Thus the film was born. Preparing to play the character was a little funny because just before starting a scene, I would be counting how many oranges I needed to buy to go with the lunch for my cast and crew.
Otherwise, preparing to play Ryan really didn’t take as much analysis as other characters I’ve played and I think that is so because I helped with the original idea of the film. It was like I knew him and what drives his convictions already.
SJD: You had a prominent role in ‘A.D The Bible Continues’. Can you tell us a bit about your role and what it was like to work on such a big TV show?
In ‘AD The Bible Continues’ I played the disciple ‘James’ who, as it is written in the Bible, was the brother of John. Together they were known as the ‘Brothers of Thunder’ because of their faithful characters flawed by huge tempers. I will always remember playing this part because a little while before I got the part in this show, my Father passed away and predicted I would do a show like this. He had become a Preacher later in his life. It was amazing to be part of such an important project; the producers, Mark and Roma Downey went out of their way to make everyone feel comfortable which actually makes it an experience, not just a project to remember.
Do you have a particular genre of film you prefer? If so can you explain.
I generally tend to like dramatic films like ‘Shame’ in which Michael Fassbender stars excellently because such films reveal truths and challenge false myths and ideas that I think we tend to hold in Western society. In fact, for me, it’s a dream role because it also shows the mental battle a man has with addiction. I’m very interested I that because psychology is a subject I’ve become very interested in over the last few years. So, if I like such drama in my life, I have to balance it out right? And I do with regular visits to see musicals. I just love them. Partly because I don’t sing professionally but mainly because they are truly just magic.
Are there any actors or directors you would love to work with in the future? Any actor you’d like to play alongside?
Well, I couldn’t not mention Clint Eastwood as I did before so making a film with him would be pretty cool. I would be living out my childhood again. Otherwise, to act alongside Forest Whitaker and be directed by David Cronenburg, Tim Burton or Antoine Fuqua would be a dream!
Do you get to go to the cinema much? Any films you have enjoyed lately?
Going to the cinema is something I can find the time to do almost every other week. It’s the same to me as reading a book. The last film I saw and enjoyed was ‘Finding Dory’ with my son.
Finally, any advice you would give any actor who is trying to break into the entertainment
If I was to give any advice to an actor starting out today, it would be to remain fearless and not to follow any ‘rulebook’.
Our thanks for Denver for the interview, and to Liz Rodriguez and EMR Media for arranging.