What’s tall, sexy and has only 72 hours to mend broken hearts?
It’s not what, but who, and that’s Cleavon “Von” Burkett (played by Timon Kyle Durrett), a reformed playboy who is bargaining with God (played by Harry Lennix) in Christopher Nolen’s romantic comedy, 72 Hours.
Muscular and standing 6’5”, the rehabilitated womanizer was one day living his dream in Chicago with a beautiful wife Lanae (Erica Hubbard) by his side. Next thing you know, he has a near death experience.
In order to live, he has to redeem himself and his buddy, Tyrann (Brian Hooks), is going to help him work things out, or so they think.
Here the handsome actor, Durrett, whose first name rhymes with lemon, shares how he has already realized one of his biggest dreams, the similarities between himself and his on-screen persona and why he wants to be grimy.
When were bit by the acting bug?
I always wanted to act. As a kid, I didn’t know how to get into it in sixth grade. My teacher allowed me to do puppet shows at the end of class on Friday afternoons.
When did you get your big break?
In the early 90s, my mother heard on the radio if you want to act in film or on TV, come down to audition for “There are No Children Here” starring Oprah Winfrey. I went down there. I was booked as an extra. I loved it. I was on set and I was fascinated by it.
(Funny fact: Timon had an extreme fear of butterflies and moths as a child.)
Did you get to meet Oprah?
Didn’t get to meet her. I was just excited to be working and that is when the bug bit me.
(Durrett attended Alcorn State University and was a member of the Alcorn State University basketball team. He is originally from Chicago and moved from there in 2001 and went west. He lived in Los Angeles for 13 years and it’s where he got his feet wet.)
Why did you leave Los Angeles and move to Atlanta?
I decided it was time for a change and Atlanta stuck out to me. I love the weather, the changing seasons. It doesn’t rain a lot here like in southern California. I like the food, the people, and the trees. It is a different feel. It is more cultural and feels more like home.
Is it worth it?
I have been here six months. I have an agent and it has been slow, I am still learning my way around, getting my bearings. It has been good, making a lot of connections.
How did you land the role of Von in Christopher Nolen’s 72 Hours?
We have worked together on a couple of films before.
What is your dream role?
I once said, ‘I want to play a lead role in Chicago.’ I didn’t realize until I was doing a scene with Harry Lennix, who plays God, that I had my dream job. We were sitting in Grant Park at the time and I was like, I am doing my dream.
How are Von and Timon similar?
Von is a chef, I love to cook but I am not a chef by trade. I have had some interesting experiences with the women in my life in the past, but the big man has never given me an ultimatum to fix things.
There was a scene that hit home with me and it really, really affected me emotionally and people, when they see, will be able to tell which scene it was.
It was a déjà vu it was surreal. When I was in that moment, I realized I lived it before. Everything from the lighting, the colors, the position where I was, it blew me away. I was talking to Christopher [Nolen] who asked if I was OK and I explained how the scene touched me more than I thought it would.
Cleavon wants to do right, as far as I believe and he just didn’t do right all the time. Not a bad guy, he just made bad decisions. I can sympathize and empathize with him as well.
I didn’t always make the best decisions in my life. You can look back at it and that’s why I can relate to that character. I have been right where he is. I have never been married, he ended up getting married.
What is the life of an actor?
It is different in Atlanta than in LA. In LA, you can walk into a Starbucks and Whole Foods and you will see the actor that you just saw on your favorite show the night before. In Atlanta, it is not as rich with big name actors. I notice that I get recognized here a lot. I don’t regard myself as a celebrity. I am just a regular guy with a not-so-regular job at times. People who approach me are surprised I am normal. They will be in the dollar store getting some bleach and will ask why am I in the dollar store.
It’s fun; it’s cool. I get a kick out of the kids who walk up to me and talk to me. I love kids; they give me a lot of joy. I don’t know how other actors live. I wake up, make my breakfast, work out. I am a big nerd. I enjoy watching docs and listening to lectures. I am kind of boring. I don’t go out clubbing a lot. I am just a regular guy. I love that my profession is not so regular. I like balance where I can be excited and energetic, a lot, when I am on set or on camera. When I am off camera, I am just goofy and silly around people and when I am alone, I am the biggest nerd in the world.
What’s your next big dream?
I want to do a big action film, I can play the bad guy, I can play the hero maybe sci-fi action. I have a fetish for that kind of stuff, not the clean cut. I’d love to be on the “Walking Dead,” not as a zombie, but as a survivor. I want to be grimy, be transformed and be someone so different from who I am naturally and then return to normal. I want people to look and say, that is not Timon Kyle Durrett, that is someone else.