Kenyan-American producer and director Edi Gathegi is back with another chilling role in Robert Lowell’s film Criminal Activities. He has played many roles in both television and film features, but his best storytelling is capturing the essence of a true villain.You may remember him from his hair-raising performances as Laurent in “Twilight,” Cheese in Gone Baby Gone, or more recently you may have been watching his ludicrousness as Mr. Solomon on NBC’s “The Blacklist” over the past few months.
Criminal Activities is the ultimate dramatic thriller centered around four friends attempting to make a risky investment to escape a ruthless mob after their get-rich-quick scheme falls by the wayside. In the film, Gathegi plays next to the likes of Dan Stevens, Jackie Earle Haley, and John Travolta. Gathegi felt so humbled to play alongside the all-star cast that it brought out an unexpected side to him off-screen.
“Travolta was so good that I immediately became insecure about my place in the film. I started asking myself what am I doing here and questioning whether I was worth being a part of the cast or not. I was nervous, but as we continued to work, I realized he is a nice guy. He is hands down a class act,” he said.
Gathegi had the pleasure of taking on the boisterous character Marques, who was kidnapped by the four young men to retrieve the crime boss’s sister, who was taken by Marques’ family and to repay their tremendous debt owed to the mobster. Although Marques is bound to a chair for days on end, he uses his witty humor to mess with their heads. Gathegi delivers a solid performance playing this scoundrel of a character. Every villainous role Gathegi is cast for he executes without hesitation. He credits his success as an actor to his former training at New York University where he attended Tisch School of Arts.
“NYU was where I learned what the true acting experience was all about,” he recalled. “I wouldn’t take back that time in my life for anything in the world. What I learned from that institution is the reason why I have a career as an actor now.”
Gathegi is more than ecstatic for the release of Criminal Activities today and can’t wait for moviegoers to watch the unexpected plot twists unfold on the theater screens.
“This movie is exactly what viewers would want for the perfect Friday or Saturday night,” he said. “It is a good story, well told. It is a fantastic rollercoaster.”
Criminal Activities will debut in theaters Saturday, Nov. 21.
Catch “The Blacklist” Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET on NBC.