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Actor Lem Collins Got First Standing Ovation in Second Grade

Full given name: Lem Collins

Current Project: Studio 11 Films’ Crossroads, an 11Eleven11 Project

Where you were born/where you were raised: I was born in Spartanburg, S.C. I was raised in Taylors, S.C. Taylors is a small town in Greenville, S.C.

Zodiac Sign: Libra

Why did you take this role?
I gladly accepted the role of Roscoe in the Studio 11 Films’ Crossroads for a number of reasons. When I first saw the character breakdown, Roscoe’s characteristics stood out to me. He is somewhat of a villain, an antagonist in the film and the bad guy in a movie usually is the most memorable. Secondly, I have always wanted to work with great people like Mel Jackson, Howard Gibson, Sharon Tomlinson and some of the other mentors. When I first learned about the 11Eleven11 Project, I was excited and knew that it was something that I had to be a part.

Did you have any particular mentors or inspirations as a young actor?
Will Smith and LL Cool J are two of my biggest inspirations, mainly because they have music backgrounds and I can relate to them in the music world and the acting world, being that I rap too. Other influences are Denzel Washington, Don Cheadle, Forest Whitaker and Johnny Depp. They inspire me to continue to train and get better as an actor.

The one movie — attended — that you will never forget:
I’ll never forget going to see Gremlins at the drive-in movie when I was a kid. Mainly because my huge imagination had me thinking that Gremlins were reaching for my feet from under the seat. I was scared to death.

Your personal acting idols:
Will Smith, Denzel Washington, Don Cheadle, Forest Whitaker and Johnny Depp, in no particular order

Last good movie you saw:
The Hunger Games

Some films you consider classics:
The Five Heartbeats, Temptations, LIFE, Sweet Sweetbacks Baadasssss Song, Black Dynamite.

Performer you would drop everything to go see:
The late great Michael Jackson and The Artist formally known as Prince

Pop culture guilty pleasure:
Reality TV

Favorite cities:
Atlanta, Los Angeles, Miami, Las Vegas

First CD/Tape/LP you owned:
I was 11 years old when I got my first boom box and the new LL Cool J’s “Momma Said Knock You Out,” a cassette tape

Moment you knew you wanted to perform for a living:
I was in the second grade and played three characters in a school play. I learned all of the lines in about two weeks, put on a great show and got a standing ovation for my performance. I loved the attention and knew from that point on that’s what I wanted to do.

Worst flubbed line/missed cue/onstage mishap:
I was actually performing a new song and forgot my own words. I don’t think the audience caught it though.

Most challenging role you have played:
I had to play the role of a rapist in a film titled Sunshine by Tanika Ray. The hard part was looking into the actress Shane Love’s eyes and seeing real organic fear then having to brutally rape her. That really messed my head up for a few days.

Worst job you ever had:
Selling products door-to-door and getting chased by dogs

Career you would want if not a performer:
A director

Three things you can’t live without:
Family, friends and fried chicken