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Fences

Laurence Fishburne on That One Audition with Alyshia Ochse

100: Laurence Fishburne

100: Laurence Fishburne 1920 960 Alyshia Ochse

Discipline. Desire. Dedication. A Forty-Year Career Retrospective

One of Hollywood’s most talented and versatile performers and the recipient of a truckload of NAACP Image awards, Laurence John Fishburne III was born in Augusta, Georgia on July 30, 1961, to Hattie Bell (Crawford), a teacher, and Laurence John Fishburne, Jr., a juvenile corrections officer.

His mother transplanted her family to Brooklyn after his parents divorced. At the age of 10, he appeared in his first play, “In My Many Names and Days,” at a cramped little theater space in Manhattan. He continued on but managed to avoid the trappings of a child star per se, considering himself more a working child actor at the time. Billing himself as Larry Fishburne during this early phase, he never studied or was trained in the technique of acting. In 1973, at the age of 12, Laurence won a recurring role on the daytime soap One Life to Live (1968) that lasted three seasons and subsequently made his film debut in the ghetto-themed Cornbread, Earl and Me (1975). At 14 Francis Ford Coppola cast him in Apocalypse Now (1979), which filmed for two years in the Philippines. Laurence didn’t work for another year and a half after that long episode. A graduate of Lincoln Square Academy, Coppola was impressed enough with Laurence to hire him again down the line with featured roles in Rumble Fish (1983), The Cotton Club (1984), and Gardens of Stone (1987).

Throughout the 1980s, he continued to build up his film and TV credit list with featured roles despite little fanfare. A recurring role as Cowboy Curtis on the kiddie show Pee-wee’s Playhouse (1986) helped him through whatever lean patches there were at the time. With the new decade (1990s) came out-and-out stardom for Laurence. A choice lead in John Singleton‘s urban tale Boyz n the Hood (1991) catapulted him immediately into the front of the film ranks. Set in LA’s turbulent South Central area, his potent role as a morally minded divorced father who strives to rise above the ignorance and violence of his surroundings, Laurence showed true command and the ability to hold up any film. On stage, he would become invariably linked to playwright August Wilson and his 20th Century epic African-American experience after starring for two years as the eruptive ex-con in “Two Training Running.” For this powerful, mesmerizing performance, Laurence won nearly every prestigious theater award in the books (Tony, Outer Critics Circle, Drama Desk and Theatre World). It was around the time of this career hallmark that he began billing himself as “Laurence” instead of “Larry.” More awards and accolades came his way. In addition to an Emmy for the pilot episode of the series “Tribeca,” he was nominated for his fine work in the quality mini-movies The Tuskegee Airmen (1995) and Miss Evers’ Boys (1997).

On the larger screen, both Laurence and Angela Bassett were given Oscar nominations for their raw, seething portrayals of rock stars Ike and Tina Turner in the film What’s Love Got to Do with It (1993). To his credit, he managed to take an extremely repellent character and make it a sobering and captivating experience. A pulp box-office favorite as well, he originated the role of Morpheus, Keanu Reeves‘ mentor, in the exceedingly popular futuristic sci-fi The Matrix (1999), best known for its ground-breaking special effects. He wisely returned for its back-to-back sequels. Into the millennium, Laurence extended his talents by making his screenwriting and directorial debut in Once in the Life (2000), in which he also starred. The film is based on his own critically acclaimed play “Riff Raff,” which he staged five years earlier. In 1999, he scored a major theater triumph with a multi-racial version of “The Lion in Winter” as Henry II opposite Stockard Channing‘s Eleanor of Acquitaine. On film, Fishburne has appeared in a variety of interesting roles in not-always-successful films. Never less than compelling, a few of his more notable parts include an urban speed chess player in Searching for Bobby Fischer (1993); a military prisoner in Cadence (1990); a college professor in Singleton’s Higher Learning (1995); a CIA operative in Bad Company (1995); the title role in Othello (1995) (he was the first black actor to play the part on film); a spaceship rescue team leader in the sci-fi horror Event Horizon (1997); a Depression-era gangster in Hoodlum (1997); a dogged police sergeant in Clint Eastwood’s Mystic River (2003); a spelling bee coach in Akeelah and the Bee (2006); and prominent roles in the mainstream films Predators (2010) and Contagion (2011). He returned occasionally to the theatre. In April 2008, he played Thurgood Marshall in the one-man show “Thurgood” and won a Drama Desk Award. It was later transferred to the screen.

In the fall of 2008, Fishburne replaced William Petersen as the male lead investigator on the popular CBS drama CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (2000), but left the show in 2011 to refocus on films and was in turn replaced by Ted Danson. Since then Fishburne has appeared in the Superman film Man of Steel (2013) as Daily Planet chief Perry White.

Currently, Laurence is starring on Black-ish and the Quibi show #FreeRayshawn.

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QUOTES:

“It takes at least twenty years to make an actor. The good news is…if you start late, you can always play old people.”

“You can’t do it all well at the same time.”

“We learn more from our mistakes than we do from our successes.”

“Discipline. Desire. Dedication. If you have those three things and you keep at it, it may not turn out the way you want it to, but it might just turn out better than you expected.”

 


093: Chris Chalk

093: Chris Chalk 1500 750 Alyshia Ochse

Find Your WHY

Today we’re sitting down with actor Chris Chalk as he shares how he’s made a career working on Broadway, on TV, and in Film—with some of the industry’s most notable names and memorable projects—like Denzel Washington in FENCES on Broadway, in 12 Years a Slave, on Fox’s Gotham, The Newsroom, and the Netflix mini-series When they See Us. From auditioning across from Denzel, to curating a team of supportive reps who have his back and helped him fight for his goals in this business, he has lots to share about setting an intention in his work and staying excited about the process of telling stories on stage and screen.

In addition to his lengthy list of credits, you can also see him in the upcoming and anticipated HBO series Perry Mason.

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“What is the intention of your life? What is the intention of every relationship? If you just make it a habit everywhere, it will just exist everywhere.”

087: Russell Hornsby

087: Russell Hornsby 1500 750 Alyshia Ochse

Today we have a fascinating conversation with actor, Russell Hornsby—from Grimm, Seven Seconds, and The Hate You Give—as well as FENCES, both on Broadway and in the film, his career is full of valuable lessons he’s learned.

After twenty years in the industry, he shares how a long-term career was not a given reality for him, but rather something he’s had to fight for every step of the way. His advice is equal parts inspiration and tough love, so whether you’re just starting out or are a few years in, he’s got some healthy perspective about being honest with yourself, doing the work, and putting everything you have on the line for your art.

Russell Hornsby is an American theater, television, and film actor. He is known for his roles as Edward “Eddie” Sutton on ABC Family’s Lincoln Heights, as Luke on the HBO drama In Treatment, as Detective Hank Griffin on the NBC series Grimm, and as Lyons in the movie Fences.

After finishing his studies at Oxford, Hornsby moved to New York City and was subsequently cast in leading roles in Off Broadway productions of To Kill a Mockingbird (as Atticus Finch), Joe Louis Blues, and Six Degrees of Separation (as Paul). In the late 1990s, he decided to move to Los Angeles in order to transition into television and film. He has appeared in several different television productions including appearing in recurring roles in Haunted as Detective Marcus Bradshaw and Gideon’s Crossing as Chief Resident Dr. Aaron Boise. His other television credits include Grey’s Anatomy, Law & Order, and In Justice among others. He also played running back Leon Taylor in ESPN’s drama series Playmakers. On the big screen, he has appeared in such films as After the Sunset, Big Fat Liar, Get Rich or Die Tryin’, Keep the Faith, Baby, Meet the Parents, and Stuck among others. In 2000, Hornsby appeared in the Off-Broadway production of Jitney for which he won a Drama Desk Award and an Obie Award.

He starred in the NBC fantasy drama Grimm from 2011 to 2017. In 2018, he played Isaiah Butler in the Netflix crime drama Seven Seconds. That same year, Hornsby joined the cast of the movie Creed II.

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QUOTES:

“Know why you’re going into this, know why you’re doing it, because the industry doesn’t need you. They don’t care. You can’t do this for the moment or think you’re going to get rich, because it’s hard.”

“Not what are you WILLING to do, what are you GOING to do to stay in the game?”

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077: Amanda Warren

077: Amanda Warren 1500 750 Alyshia Ochse

Today we’re chatting with actress, Amanda Warren, whose incredible artistry is matched by her wisdom, insight, and extraordinarily grounded and compassionate energy. She has established herself with a resume that is not only lengthy, but loaded with some of TV and Film’s most respected projects in recent years. From her work with Martin McDonagh and Darren Aronofsky to Denzel Washington, Francis McDormand, and beyond, her work ethic and craftsmanship has earned her the respect of her peers and gained the attention of artists across the industry.

She shares how she works on set, what she’s learned from working with world-class artists, and how she stays focused on her own journey—putting in the work, one step at a time.

Most recently her on screen work includes THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI, THE PURGE for USA, MOTHER, HOUSE OF CARDS, BLACK MIRROR, THIS IS US, HBO’s THE LEFTOVERS, and Apple TV’s new series DICKINSON.

IG: @amandawarrenofficial

 

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QUOTES:

“We do not need to adhere to this ‘stuggling artist’ theory anymore. This is your craft, this is your talent, you are giving of yourself and your tools. I’m going to give you my energy and pay you to see it…”

“You do the work at home so you can play on the day. If you do the work at home, you can do everything 7000 different ways to Sunday.”

“There’s a lot of money that goes into telling stories, expecially with the screen work, and time is money. It is so valuable, expecially these days. People need to know that they are trusting you with not only the story, but the money that they’re going to put into this.”

“There are quality rejections–quality ‘no’s.’ Just because it doesn’t work out for you then, doesn’t mean it doesn’t work out later.”

“What makes those great people so great at what they do…what makes them great craftspeople is that they work with their scene partners, they are never above their scene partner.”

“We’re in the business of saving lives…it’s an escape for people. Don’t think about the business, just bring them with you. Help them escape, help them stop thinking about business.”

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ALYSHIA OCHSE

Los Angeles-based actress, bestselling author, host of That One Audition podcast, entrepreneur, & mother.

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