Interview by James Patrick Herman
Photography by Jeff Vespa
Where are you from?
Los Angeles. I am only sixteen, so I live with my mom. You can never be bored in L.A. There are malls, movie theaters, parks. I walk everywhere.
Is this your first time at Sundance?
This is my first movie. And this will be my first time seeing snow. It’s going to be my third time getting on a plane.
How does it feel to be a Sundance sensation?
My first time hearing about it was when the director was like: “What if the movie goes to Sundance? This could be big.” I was like: What’s Sundance? I don’t know what is going to go down there. But I am proud of the work. I worked to the limit of every day and I feel like I have achieved something to a certain level.
What’s the buzz about your movie?
It’s about a 13-year-old boy from Virginia. He has lived in America most of his life. But now he has to move in with his father, who lives in Germany. Being black and living in Germany — of course he is going to have problems. He tries to act cool but he has a hard time making friends. And then he falls in love with Katrin. She toys with him.
Describe your character in one sentence?
Morris is shy but he wants to be famous. Same thing with me.
What was your first acting experience?
In the sixth grade, I did A Raisin in the Sun. I played Walter. At first I auditioned for Travis, Walter’s son, but they thought I was too good and wanted me to play Walter. I was forced to do it.
What have you heard about the Sundance experience?
I hear if people like your movie, then sometimes it can go to the actual theaters. That is just a dream of mine. I don’t know if that is going to happen. I have been told to expect big things. But to be sure, I have no expectations. I am not the bragging or boasting type. The thing I am most excited about is seeing snow.
Describe the Sundance selfie of your dreams.
I have never seen snow before and it looks so fun. When I get there, I might just drop to the ground and make a snow angel or pick up a snowball. I want to take a photo from the top of the mountain. If you search for “Park City” on Google, it looks so nice in the picture.
What do you think of Robert Redford?
Was he in Captain America: The Winter Soldier?