Up and coming actor Elijah Boothe, most notably known for his role in Marvel’s “Luke Cage,” makes his leading actor debut in Derrick Perry’s “Pink Opaque.”
The indie drama focuses on film student Travis Wolfe, played by Boothe. Travis, who attends school in Los Angeles, struggles to finish his thesis documentary on time when he finds himself homeless and broke. Travis goes to his estranged Uncle Robin for help resulting in a budding friendship. Among his newfound family, Travis navigates a promising romance with his girlfriend Kristen much to the disapproval of her older brother.
Check out this exclusive interview Elijah Boothe:
The Knockturnal: What drew you to the role of Travis?
Elijah Boothe: What drew me to the role of Travis and to the entire film was the fact that this is a film about chasing your dreams, fighting for your passion, and not settling for anything less than that.
The Knockturnal: How did you prepare to play Travis?
Elijah Boothe: For Travis, it was a very quick turnaround. In terms of prep, I had a two-week prep period before we went into production. I wanted to approach this character as opposed to other characters I’ve played in the past with a blank slate, solely leading off of the fact that this is a boy, an African American boy that is chasing his dream in America. And you know, that’s pretty much what I led with and, from start to finish I slowly began to see Travis be built on his own from those experiences.
The Knockturnal: Did you have to do any research in regard to playing a kid who is essentially homeless?
Elijah Boothe: I did have to do a lot of research. I watched a lot of YouTube videos, I read a lot of articles. I actually have a couple of friends that were homeless and were in similar circumstances as Travis at one point in their life in regard to sleeping in their car. And what was also great is that since we were really in the field, in the heart, and epicenter of the homeless community here in LA, we were out on Skid Row and we were talking to these different homeless people. We were hearing their stories and that in itself is some of the best research that you could ever have.
The Knockturnal: There’s a lot of character development in this film, could you describe how you think Travis’ character developed?
Elijah Boothe: Travis’ character, I would say, at the beginning of the film, Travis is a seed and that seed is planted and once we get to the end of the film, you just really, really see how Travis has bloomed and blossomed literally through all of his trials and tribulations and every obstacle that he has faced, every hardship that he’s faced—it’s literally made him so much stronger. And to me, that theme in itself is so huge because that’s life. We all go through different trials and tribulations and I know in the moment that it seems like we’re never gonna get through it, it feels like this is the end, but facing those obstacles always makes us stronger.
The Knockturnal: This film revolves around a pressing matter of homelessness, not only in Los Angeles but all throughout America, can you talk a little bit about the film’s focus on homelessness and the struggles that accompany it?
Elijah Boothe: Absolutely. We definitely wanted to highlight and draw attention and awareness to the homeless issue, not only in America but really in Los Angeles. Los Angeles has one of the worst homeless issues in the country, if not the worst; and it’s never talked about. We really wanted to take this opportunity, especially when it comes to making independent films, to not wait for permission to tell stories that matter but to use this opportunity to highlight these issues. And we really were huge on making sure that—Listen, if we’re gonna tell this story, we have to be hands-on, we have to really get down and dirty and go into the field and get to the root of this issue so we can tell this story in its most authentic form.
The Knockturnal: That’s awesome. You worked on A Rainy Day in New York last year which is predominately a studio film and then you switch over to Pink Opaque which is an independent film. What was that transition like? And what do you like most about independent filmmaking?
Elijah Boothe: I am so glad you asked that question! The transition for me was very, very beautiful. I will always appreciate working on huge studio productions, but I will say that getting the chance to work on an independent production brought about so many new ideas and experiences that I didn’t even know were possible. It really allowed me to tap into the creative art form of what we’re doing, of the work that we’re really doing as writers, actors, directors, producers—and I loved that this film was a testament of not waiting for permission, not waiting for huge distribution and a huge studio budget, and literally going boots on the ground and creating work that matters. That, to me, means everything.
The Knockturnal: Speaking of production, you’re a producer on Pink Opaque, it’s your first producing role, can you describe your experience for me?
Elijah Boothe: Yeah so producing has been absolutely life-changing for me. I’ve never produced anything before. I always thought that I would someday, I’ve always had the aspiration. But I didn’t know that it would come now. And I’ve been so privileged to work with Derrick Perry who is the director and writer of the film, Dave Ragsdale who is the executive producer, and Ryan Van Ert—the cinematographer, and all these other people who were part of telling this story. They really gave me creative freedom not only as the leading man of this film but also as a producer—a creative producer to just help shape this story and tell it in the best way possible. So, I loved that I had a voice, especially as a first-time producer. I really played a part in the casting process, I played a part in location scouting, the dialogue, wardrobe, and all that good stuff.
The Knockturnal: Great! So, what can we expect to see you in the future?
Elijah Boothe: Right now, I’m definitely focused on pushing this film. I’m definitely making sure that it is seen, and it gets all the visibility that this film and also the narrative of homelessness in America deserves. And, I’m definitely working on music, I have an EP coming out at the end of the year, executive produced by Grammy Award winner Knxwledge. And I actually just put out one of the first songs from the project exclusively on SoundCloud. What’s next for Pink Opaque is we just got into the Manhattan Film Festival last night and we’re going to be screening in New York in April. We actually had our opening premiere at the San Diego Black Film Festival, which was absolutely amazing. I mean the film was so well received and we actually received five nominations and out of those five nominations, we won four. And out of the four, I was able to win Best Actor out of the entire festival which was really gratifying—it was just so exciting, I’ve never won anything before in my life. I really do focus solely on the work and not on the notoriety—just telling the important stories that matter, so that was amazing.
The Knockturnal: That’s so amazing, congratulations! And do you have any advice you’d like to give for those wanting to pursue a career in acting?
Elijah Boothe: Absolutely. For any aspiring actor and/or artist, I will say never forget your purpose, don’t lose your passion, and always, always be patient because it’s all gonna be worth it.
The Knockurnal: I love that. Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Elijah Boothe: I would definitely love to add that we just signed our sales agent on board. We recently signed with Automatic Entertainment to cover domestic and international sales. And, again I’d just definitely love to highlight that this is a film celebrating diversity in film and we are really, really excited to be part of bringing awareness to it.
The Knockturnal: Totally, thank you so much.
IMDb: Elijah Boothe
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