*A few years ago he was a disk jockey at a local radio station in Tampa, Florida. Now he’s on the big screen in theaters all over the country. How did Lucius Baston get so much play in the film industry, so fast?
Simple: An amazing personality and some of the most intense acting we’ve seen. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that Baston is an incredibly dedicated actor. And we asked Werner Herzog, who directed Baston’s in the recent release “Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans.” He told us that Baston ends an audition so forcibly, it’s hard to forget how right he is for the screen.
“The cameras love him.” said publicist Billie Jordan.
That’s why in just this year alone, Baston shook hands and made deals with a few of Hollywood’s most credible directors, including Tom McLoughlin, Tyler Perry and Herzog. Plus, he’s worked side by side with stars such as Eva Mendes, Julia Ormond, Alan Thick, Michael Winslow, and Nicolas Cage; one of Hollywood’s highest paid movie stars.
While Baston is proving his chops, by going toe-to-toe with the heavy weights in film, and ending the year with a bang playing the role of Leroy Williams, in the season finale of Tyler Perry’s “House of Payne,” curiosities surface: Just who is Lucius Baston, and what’s next for this actor.
To get the answer, writer Brooklyn James sat down with him for this exclusive Q&A with EURweb
Brooklyn James: Hello Lucius, I’m glad I caught you. I know last year was an exciting and busy one for you.
Lucius Baston: Yes, it was incredible! I am truly thankful. It’s amazing how well I’ve been received.
BJ: How are you booking these roles; It seems like you came from out of the blue, how do you do it, is it luck?
LB: You know, that’s a good question, there might be some amount of luck, but I think it’s more than that. I’ve worked hard this year scouting for the best roles, and I study the characters hard. Plus, I have a road map so to speak; this time last year I pictured myself in a role working for Tyler Perry. I put it on my radar, and then I went after it. And thankfully I got it.
BJ: How did you feel when you got the role?
LB: When they told me, it felt surreal for a moment, but just a moment. Every one’s been asking how I feel about this whole year, and I guess I’ve been so busy living it I haven’t had a chance to really take it all in. When I think about it, it feels like it was supposed to happen.
BJ: Where are you from?
LB: South Richmond Hill Queens, NY. But I live in Tampa, Florida now.
BJ: I thought I sensed a slight New York accent, wasn’t sure though. So that’s where you get your swagger.
LB: I’ll accept that. Yes. I’m originally from Queens.
BJ: How did you get into acting?
LB: It was really a fluke. I was working in electronics and I was unhappy with my job. A co-worker had some headshots, so I asked about them. She told me she wanted to be an actress. That hit me like a lightning bolt.
BJ: What did you do next?
LB: I started asking around and found a photographer who suggested I start with film training and so that’s what I did.
BJ: Suddenly you’re becoming very popular and you seem to be souring to success, who do you look to for inspiration?
LB: So many people; From Sidney Poitier to Venus & Serena Williams, I’m into people who find themselves, endure and overcome.
BJ: With so many filmmakers taking you seriously in such short amount of time, obviously you’re good with acting. Where did you get your training?
LB: The Performers Studio Workshop in Tampa Florida. I’m grateful to the coaches there. Definitely they taught me a few things that work.
BJ: What was it like working with Nicolas cage in Bad Lieutenant Port of Call New Orleans?
LB: I cannot say enough about what it was like to work with Nicolas Cage and also the world renowned director, Werner Herzog. Watching Nicolas prep for a scene was method confirming. He was going around snorting up this harmless concoction to get him in the right frame of mind for a scene. If you didn’t understand his method, you might not have known what to think. From my training, I knew he was prepping to shoot. It was amazing experience to go toe -to-toe with him. Just awesome! And Werner Herzog is one of the kindest men you could ever meet.
BJ: What is your role in the LifeTime Movie Networks “The Wronged Man,” and when does it air?
LB: I play the role of Shelton. Shelton is the guy everyone knows in the neighborhood. He’s a friend of the rape victims mother, and helps the attorney, Prissy – played by Julia Ormond with information to find the true rapist. “The Wronged Man aires January 17, 18 and 19, 2010.
BJ: How did you get selected for the roles in “Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans” and also in “The Wronged Man”?
LB: Initially, I put myself on tape and submitted my auditions through my agent. Amazingly enough I received a call back for each one. The call back for Bad Lieutenant was in New Orleans. I drove up to save money. When I got there I wasn’t aware that director Werner Herzog was in the room. They called for me and I went into character, and did my thing. When I finished, Werner stood up to shake my hand and thank me. I wasn’t sure what would happen, but I stayed in character, and told them “Yeah, f**k all y’all!” as I was leaving the room. I got the call the following week that I booked the role!
B: That’s funny. What’s next for you?
LB: I have a short film, “The More Perfect Yellow” that made the top 16 out of 186 films for the 2009 National Film Challenge and then won sweeping almost all of the awards. And I’m still hitting the road auditioning for some great roles in other really awesome projects. I’m going after roles in stories that mean something, make you think, and entertain.
BJ: Thanks Lucius, for your time, you’re awesome. I’ll be looking forward to talking to you again in the future.
LB: Ok, thanks. That was fun!
Baston was in Atlanta Friday, January 15, meeting with David Simon, creator of the HBO series “The Wire” for a possible role in the HBO’s series “Treme”; a new series about New Orleans and its ongoing effort to recover from Hurricane Katrina.
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