American Sniper actor Cory Hardrict has worked on television shows and films since arriving in Hollywood in the late 1990’s. He has appeared in five feature films that have brought in collectively an estimated $1 billion dollars worldwide. Adding to his success, Hardrict can be seen in the feature film Brotherly Love a complicated love story set in the streets of West Philadelphia. The anticipated film will be released in theatres on April 24.
In Brotherly Love, Hardrict plays June, a young man who is conflicted by living the street life to provide for his younger siblings Jackie (Keke Palmer) and Sergio (Eric D. Hill). Street’s Jamal Hill is directing the Flavor Unit Entertainment film, a production company owned by by Queen Latifah and her business partner Shakim Compere.
He recently sat down with rolling out to discuss his preparation for his role in the film, diversity in Hollywood, and the joys of being a father. –lauren martinez
What can you tell us about your character, June?
I play a character named June, who is the father figure for the household. My character has to look after his younger siblings played by Keke Palmer and Eric Hill Jr. The father isn’t in their lives any more so my character steps out into the streets to provide for his family by any means necessary. I wouldn’t consider June a criminal because of his involvement with the drug game since he was doing it from a place of survival. He does what he has to do so that he can help support his siblings in having a successful future and in achieving their dreams.
How did you prepare for your role in the film?
I watched a lot of movies like New Jack City and Sugar Hill. Wesley Snipes was a big inspiration for this role. I put myself in the street environment out in Philadelphia. We scouted I could make it real. With me being from the South Side of Chicago, I realized all urban communities and inner cities are basically the same they are just in different places. I took where I grew up and just made it real. I like to ground every film and project I work on. I think I did that so hopefully the world will embrace me and the film in general on April 24th.
Why did you take this role?
To be honest, I haven’t really done anything for my culture or my people. I have been doing big films, but those films reach a different demographic and audience. Usually, red states support those big movies that I’m in.. This time I wanted to do a film that was more in tune with the black community to show them that I’m here too. Also, the script was really good and I knew this would be something I could get up under.
What is your take on diversity in Hollywood?
In terms of the getting the funding for movies the projects they want you to see are the projects they want to control. They want to control the images they see of African Americans. They want to see an over the top comedy movie or a period piece slavery film. We are more than slaves and they can’t keep reminding us of the same thing in my opinion. I would love to see more diversity with films in the black community and that is why we need to keep funding them ourselves independently. I thank God for Queen Latifah and Shakim Compere because it started off as an Indie project. It takes producers like these and companies to show our stories that mean something for our culture.
How does your hometown of Chicago receive you?
I started doing commercial work when I moved to Los Angeles. They remember everything even a Twix commercial I did years ago. It’s crazy to me because I don’t think I’m a celebrity at all. I do so many movies, but I just focus on the work. When I go back home they will throw me a parade and it’s so shocking to me. I still feel like I have a long way to go and I’m just trying to stay grounded. I continue to focusing on the jobs and doing great work. I’m not into the celebrity stuff.
How did you get out of Chicago?
I had 75 dollars, a plane ticket my cousin bought me, and a dream. I promised my mother, who is in heaven now after dying from Leukemia that I wouldn’t give up. She got me involved in extra work. She got sick so I stopped everything and I spent seven months by her bedside in the hospital. She wanted me to continue to pursue acting and eventually make my way to the West Coast and I told her I would. I didn’t think anything would happen to her and she ended up passing away. I set around Chicago for several years trying to cope with her death. I wondered for a long time what I was going to do with my life. I promised my mother and I got this ray of strength like she was down here looking at me and I felt it. I heard that voice and I was scared, but I got on a plane and moved to Inglewood and 14 years later I’m here. I went out there with no work under my belt. Things started off rough but life is great now.
How can we save the young boys in Chicago?
It starts at home and with their parents, but it also starts within the community. It is going to take a lot of discipline and hard work. Nowadays, it so different always having social media and the news portray young black males as savages and predators. That is the image they have of us so we have to change things. These young men need a loved that isn’t afraid to tell them they love and care for them.
Do you have any future projects?
I’m currently filming November Criminals with Khloe Moratz and Ansel Elgort, which is a crime drama set in Washington, D.C. I have a lead role in Car Dog, which is coming out at the end of the summer with actress, Octavia Spencer. I have a film titled, Destined being released at the Toronto Film Festival. After I did American Sniper in Europe I did Spectral for the fall. Also, I have Walk of Fame coming out this year with Clint Eastwood’s son. I have so much stuff, so I tend to lose track sometimes. I am just focused because I’m trying to achieve my goal of winning an Oscar one day.