Words and Images by DeWayne Rogers for Steed Media Service
The Scene –
Quietly nestled in the heart of Atlanta’s posh Buckhead community, the
luxurious Ritz Carlton Hotel recently played host to emerging talent
Columbus Short. Though his stay in town was brief due to a whirlwind
press tour for the upcoming holiday flick This Christmas, the talented
entertainer did slow down long enough to talk shop with rolling out.
It has been over a year since we last sat down with you.
How has starring in Stomp the Yard, which was No. 2 at the box office,
changed your life?
It’s amazing how one role can change you entire life. Before I did
Stomp the Yard, I was just another actor that needed to work. It didn’t
really matter what the role was, I was just trying to be in the movies.
At that point, beggars couldn’t be choosy, and I was just trying to
make it. So, I paid my dues operating in that manner. But starring in
Stomp the Yard gave me the flexibility to begin to get more selective
with my roles, because the offers started to come more frequently. It
seemed liked everyone wanted to work with me once those box office
numbers rolled in. So now, my whole focus has been on choosing the
right roles to enhance my career. That mind-set started with This
Christmas. I’m so proud of the work that was done on that film.
Which one of your roles has been the most fulfilling thus far?
When I can look back at my résumé, I am so proud of the work that I did
on Stomp the Yard. But when I look at my work on This Christmas, I can
be equally as proud. I don’t think that I can put one over the other,
because they are both really good projects. I am so happy that the days
of me having to do fluff are behind me. Now I can just focus my
attention on doing good movies.
So now that you have the flexibility to be choosy with roles, does that mean that you are working less now?
I’d rather not work than to do a project just for the sake of doing it.
Besides, I want to write, direct and produce projects as well. That’s
where I’m looking to go with my career. I want to be at the Golden
Globes or the Oscars, and have Meryl Streep lean over to me and say,
‘You are a fantastic talent.’
In order to avoid being pigeonholed in one type of role, do you have to be conscious of the parts that you choose to play?
Let’s be honest, there are certain people that get hired just to be
‘that guy,’ so they don’t mind being pigeonholed in a certain type of
role, because that’s just who they are. But then on the flipside, you
do have certain actors that can be choosy, because they have the
ability to be a chameleon. When I say that, I’m thinking of people like
Philip Seymour Hoffman, Jeffrey Wright, or Don Cheadle. My goal is to
be held in the same light as actors on that level. So while I think
that part of it is the roles that you choose, I also think that your
skill level as an actor also plays a part in whether people pigeonhole
you or not.
do you and your colleagues talk about this kind of stuff? Do you have
‘actor meetings’ where you can discuss the science behind choosing
Of course we do. I mean, think about it. What do
corporate dudes do when they get off work? They get together, and they
discuss business strategies and discover ways that they can advance
even further in their professions. It’s the same with us. You have to
keep a core of strong actors around you. Like with me, I surround
myself with people like Idris Elba, Keith Robinson and Laz Alonzo. We
keep each other in check, and we discuss ways to take this thing to the
next level. We are striving to be that next wave of actors that
Hollywood looks to. Like today, you have phenomenal actors like Denzel
Washington, Samuel L. Jackson, Morgan Freeman, Laurence Fishburne, Don
Cheadle and Forest Whitaker. They are all a part of the same peer
group. We are the new class that are not only learning from them, but
also learning from each other so that we can be ready to carry the
torch and represent in Hollywood.
mentioned that you were a part of the new class in Hollywood. Well, why
don’t you become a teacher and grade yourself on your efforts thus far.
Wow. That’s a great question. Let’s see: On hustle and
grind, I give myself an A plus. On patience, I think I’ll give myself a
B. On professionalism, I’ll give myself an A. And on balance, meaning
how well I’m able to juggle my career with my personal life, I would
have to give myself a solid B plus. I used to be a C minus in that
area, but I had to learn the importance of being a whole person. It’s
great to be a wonderful talent that the whole world loves, but if the
rest of you is jacked up, then your success doesn’t really mean as
dancing with the stars
Many of the entertainment industry’s biggest stars found success on the
– Before she became the singer, actor extraordinaire who’s sold 35
million records worldwide, Jenny from the block was a Fly Girl on the
‘90s sketch classic, “In Living Color.” J. Lo was also featured in
Janet Jackson’s “That’s the Way Love Goes.”
Sean “Diddy” Combs
– It’s 2007, and Sean “Diddy” Combs is the entertainment mogul with an
estimated net worth of $358 million dollars. Flash back to ’91 and
Diddy was putting his happy feet to work in the Father MC video, “Treat
Them like They Want to be Treated.” YouTube it now!
Jermaine Dupri –
After he dropped the “Mauldin” from is name, Island Records’ president
of urban music was making his start as a break dancer. J.D.’s dance
talents were sought by the legendary Diana Ross and R&B funk lords,
Paula Abdul –
In the ‘80s, Abdul made a name for herself as one of the titillating
Lakers Girls. From there, the queen of “American Idol” took the MTV
generation by storm, choreographing several videos for Janet Jackson.
In 1989 Abdul won an Emmy for Outstanding Achievement in Choreography
for her work on “The Tracy Ullman Show.”
–gavin philip godfrey