In part one of our interview with the multi-talented Darrin Henson, he talked about his latest film "Black Coffee" and his inspirational and humorous book "Ain't That the Truth." Today, he speaks about his favorite roles and a life philosophy that's kept him focused.
BILLY TATUM: We’ve seen you recently as the romantic leading man. What other types of roles intrigue you?
DARRIN HENSON: I’ve done quite a few different types of roles and it’s interesting, because they may not recognize me, because I gained 40 pounds for the role. I played Jim Brown in “The Express” and a lot of people who loved the film didn’t know it was me. I loved that and morphing for a role. I also played Raven in “Tekken” which was a full contact martial arts film. I love action. I love running, kicking, jumping and punching. I’m a very physical person because of choreography and being in the dance world, so I love action based characters. I want to do more of that and films that tells stories of firemen, policemen, and war. These are the types of films I’m interested in, because they’re so heartfelt and they’re intentionally heart driven and I love that. Comedies and romantic comedies are fine, but my passion is in dramatic film. I did another period piece called “Blood didn’t sign my name” which was another period piece similar to “The Express” in that it was being a period, but it was about the segregation movement and the integration movement that was written and directed by Jeff Stewart. It was a powerful film and I love films like that. On my website, I decided to show people my reel, so people could actually see my body of work. I did that and people are now responding to it on darrinhenson.com. I’m really excited about that.
BILLY TATUM: What projects do you have coming up?
DARRIN HENSON: I just completed a film called “What Love Will Make You Do” which I’m really excited about people seeing. It’s one of those films that’s “come as you are, but don’t stay as you are.” Again, finding love is not always the easiest thing in one’s life and for it to work out for the greater good. I have another film that I produced coming out called “Four of Hearts” which just premiered at the Pan African Film Festival. I have quite a few films coming out this year and with “Black Coffee” in theaters doing well. It’s been a year of expansion for me. Five is my favorite number and one and four is five, so I feel like I’m going to have a good year. I have a new book out. So things are moving at a space and pace for me to meet and greet people, to let people know who I am and become more in my Darrinhood and my Darrinism. It’s what I’m doing collectively now.
BILLY TATUM: You’re the first person I’ve talked to who has worked in the circus. How did that come about?
DARRIN HENSON: It was one of the best experiences of my life as well. We have these key moments that are memorable to us and that define us if we want it to and if we allow it to. When I graduated high school, I wanted to travel. I wanted to meet different people all over the world and the circus gave me that opportunity to do that in the United States and then in Japan. I traveled the country on a train for a whole year and went to every state. The train doesn’t go to Hawaii and Alaska. (LAUGHS) I performed for 16,000 people in the afternoon and at night. If that doesn’t teach you showmanship and perfection of craft working around gymnasts, jugglers, trapeze artist and there was a level of perfection that you had to have or you got hurt or you couldn’t entertain properly. So, it taught me to practice my craft, to entertain and to be prepared. I mean, 16,000 at three times a day, you better be prepared, take care of your body and be focused. Then, I worked overseas and went to Japan for a year. I learned Japanese and was eating sushi, before most people knew what sushi was. It was a great, cultivated opportunity and I ran with it. I came back to the country that I loved and performed and grew. I’m a child of education and I love education in all aspects.
BILLY TATUM: How have you managed to stay so positive and out of the eye of gossip rags and websites?
DARRIN HENSON: I don’t think they’re interested in people who love education or who wear many different hats and are good at it. They think it’s boring. They’re more interested in what doesn’t work, dysfunction, and clearly what I define as negativity. There’s so much wonderful stuff going on. I’m part of a scholarship fund that raises money to send at least 20 people to college on scholarship every year. The maleescholarshipfund.org. We’ve been doing it for 8 years. I don’t think they’re interested in that. I think they’re interested in who punched who in the face, who’s sleeping with who’s wife and what commonly known as dysfunction. In our society, we’ve become comfortable with what is the best and what’s the worst. I’m still in-between and climbing the ladder. I’ve been the best at certain things and they’ve reported on that. I’ve been the best at the choreography game and they did a great job reporting on that. I’ve been on a lot of talk show and a lot of things as a choreographer. As an actor and an author, I’m still finding my way, but I wrote a book that I think can really change people’s lives and hopefully people will talk. They will show the book cover and talk a bit and give it some effort and hope it changes people’s lives if they read it. “Black Coffee” is my return back to the big screen after 6 or 7 years. I’m just living a life of gratitude and thanks and trying to kick ass while I’m doing it!
To find out more about Darrin Henson, check out his website at darrinhenson.com. "Black Coffee" is available on DVD, VOD, and Itunes