Full given name: Benjamin James Welch

Current Project: Studio 11 Films’ Torn, an 11 Eleven 11 Project, Shooting latest escapade of Angry Poets. The crazy rag tag band of bizarre misfits are baaaaaack. Shout out to Rage Lopez, Obadiah, and the rest of the crew. I am also involved in a documentary following a dope acting class I’m a part of called Alchemy of Acting. It’s a class full of future superstars. YouTube us.

Where you were born and raised:
Rochester aka Roc-City, New York

Zodiac Sign:
Aries, March 28

Why did you take this role in Torn?
First and foremost, it’s a phenomenal story. I felt Derek was a great character and great man. Also, his circumstances provided a great challenge to me. I was considered for a role in Mr. Nice Guy but was thankful I ended up in Torn. As an actor, I’d rather touch your heart through a drama than make you laugh your a– off through comedy.

Did you have any particular mentors or inspirations as a young actor?
Watching Denzel Washington definitely inspired me. He’s my all-time favorite. I’ve tried to imitate his walk, his voice and his grace on many occasions. He’s so smooth. After I saw Mo Betta Blues and how he delivered Bleek Gilliam, I was sold, hook line and sinker into acting. Watching his performance I said to myself “I gotta do this and hopefully just like that.”

The one movie you will never forget:
When I was a child, it was Lion King. The story, the spirit, the music of the film and the characters captured me. But in my adult years, I’d have to say Dark Knight. Seeing how Christopher Nolan directed it and how Heath [Ledger], [Christopher] Bale and [Joseph] Gordon-Levitt brought the characters and story to life was something magical.

Your personal acting idols:
Denzel Washington, Russell Crowe, Marlon Brando, Tom Hanks, Wesley Snipes, Idris Elba, Tom Hardy

Last good movie you saw:
Prometheus. That’ll change when I head to see Spider-Man and of course Dark Knight Rises later this month.

Some films you consider classics:
Gladiator, Forrest Gump, [and] Dark Knight come to mind. Gladiator and Dark Knight to me are highly epic in terms of directing, acting, story and cinematography, and Forrest Gump was beautifully riveting. Shout out to Lion King, as well, which just missed the cut.

Performer you would drop everything to go see:
Sade. Somebody get me a time machine so I can attend a Tupac and Michael Jackson concert as well.

Pop culture guilty pleasure:
It’s a tie between Mayweather “24/7″ and T.O’s reality show. They are two of the most captivating hate or love it forces in all of entertainment.

Favorite cities:
Rochester, NYC, Atlanta and Vegas

First CD. tape or LP you owned:
Tupac: Greatest Hits

Moment you knew you wanted to perform for a living:
I was in an Easter play when I was 16-years-old. The feeling of being on stage and the energy of the audience brought a joy that has stayed with me.

Worst flubbed line, missed cue or onstage mishap:
I as onstage in Vegas and performing in the play “SOIL,” a story of prisoners behind bars. I got so caught up in my character that I actually walked off the stage. [For some reason], the director did not kill me. [Laughs]

Most challenging role you have played:
I have to say my character Derek in Torn. It’s been the most challenging only because of the emotional high stakes of it all. This guy was truly going through a lot in such a short period of time. It was truly a roller coaster ride to find out as a husband/father that your daughter is dying, wife had an affair and you must track down your daughter’s biological father to save her life within 48 hours.

Worst job you ever had:
Pushing carts at a grocery store in Vegas called Food-4-Less and having to do it with a Ben Wallace-looking afro in the hot Vegas sun. Some miserable days … I have come a long way since then, though.

Career you would want if not a performer:
I’d love to be a broadcast journalist on ESPN’s  “Studio Analyst.” Broadcast journalism was one of my first loves, no doubt.

Three things you can’t live without:
Ability to create and express, my faith and laughter.