An Interview with Wesley Jonathan
Distributor: Rockstone Releasing
Director: Joseph A. Elmore, Jr.
Screenwriter: Joseph A. Elmore, Jr.
Producer: Mekita Faiye
Cast: Wesley Jonathan, Chico Benymon, Mekita Faiye, Leonard Armond Robinson, Vanessa Simmons, Holly Robinson Peete, Nick Chinlund
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Official Website: www.speed-datingmovie.com
Find Out Why Wesley Jonathan Is TOO COOL!
Many may remember him as the curly haired kid from “City Guys” and “What I Like About You”, but Wesley Jonathan has been around since the days of “21 Jump Street”, “A Different World” and “Thea”. With a lengthy resume and a producing credit under his belt, Jonathan says the one word that would describe him in this business is consistent.
A native of Los Angeles, Jonathan is far from a new comer and spoke about what keeps him focused in this business, which he has grown to love. Jonathan portrays the womanizing Too Cool in “Speed-dating” which was released in limited theaters October 1st.
What attracted you to this film?
Wesley Jonathan: The script. I read it and it was funny. I went in to audition for it then walked away and went about my daily business. They ended up calling and saying they wanted me to come in for another role. Many months later, after I had completely forgotten about this movie, I got a call from my agency saying do you remember the movie “Speed-Dating”? They want to offer you the lead role. I was like I’ll need to read the script again. When you read scripts all day you tend to forget what’s what. So I ended up reading the script again. It made me laugh-out-load at moments. To make a long story short I said I’ll do it but of course I asked them whom they already had in it. There were some people that I knew, who were actually friends of mine that I’ve worked with before. That attracted me as well. It was funny and the fact that some recognizable faces and friends were a part of the film helped.
So how was it being able to reunite with people you’ve worked with before and working with the cast of Speed-dating in specific?
Wesley Jonathan: It was fun. It’s always fun when you know peoples work, you know their style and you know them. It was fun!
Were there any similarities you discovered between yourself and your character Too Cool?
Wesley Jonathan: We all like to think that we’re cool. My character was a “character”. Over the top! You know, you’re young and love women but there’s a fine line between Too Cool and me. But that would be the closest similarity, lol.
Are you happy to hear that the film is going to hit theaters instead of going straight to DVD?
Wesley Jonathan: Am I happy? I’m more shocked to be honest with you. I admire Makita’s hustle and how she got that done. I’m definitely shocked. Am I happy to be in this black film and it’s going to be put into theaters? Yeah. Great. I know it will help us as independent black filmmakers, so yeah, of course.
You’ve been in the business for quite awhile. What’s been the most challenging aspect of staying in the game for you?
Wesley Jonathan: Doing it for so long, I guess it takes a toll on you as a person, the spirit and the soul. Just everything. This business is so crazy. People may say you’re not an A-list actor or you’re not this and you’re not that but the one thing I am that I can say and kind of pat myself on the back for being is pretty consistent. A word to describe me in this business is longevity. I’ve been doing it for so long. It’s a job to me. It’s what I do and what I enjoy doing big scale or small scale. The motivation to continue to move people! If I make you laugh, if I make smile, if I make you cry, if I make you angry with whatever characters I’m playing then I’m doing my job. That’s probably one of the most rewarding things. To move people in any way, shape or form. It doesn’t necessarily have to be in a positive way. If you look at the character I played and say “Oh God, I hated you in that movie!” Well great. You were moved. You were affected. I did my job. That’s a big part of it.
What’s next for you?
Wesley Jonathan: I just Associate Produced a film called “Dysfunctional Friends” starring Stacy Dash, Terrell Owens, Reagan Gomez, Hosea Chanchez, Persia White, Jason Weaver and myself. There are cameos by Meagan Good and Antwon Tanner from “One Tree Hill”. Essence Atkins does a cameo for us. Vanessa Simmons, who is also in “Speed-Dating”, did me a favor and jumped on in there. I’m missing so many people. It’s just a really great cast. Christian Keyes of the Tyler Perry plays and Stacy Keibler. So many people! I’m really excited about this movie. I’ve seen rough cuts of it already. The movie is about Keith Robinson. We all are college friends who were really close at one time and as we get older and move on with our lives we lose contact. Keith Robinson’s character dies and leaves a portion of his estate to us. His friends. In order for us to get this money, we are ordered by him to reconnect and to stay together in this mansion for a weekend to rekindle and jump-start our friendships. All kinds of stuff hits the fan. Truth. Scandal. All kinds of crazy things take place. “The Breakfast Club” meets “The Big Chill”. I also have a national Miller Light commercial that’s coming out during the football season. I have another independent film called “B-Girl” that’s running on Showtime right now and a film that I did about 7 or 8 years ago called “Steppin” that’s running on BET like crazy.
So you produced this film that’s coming up. Is producing something you’re looking to get into?
Wesley Jonathan: Not in that position. I would rather direct or do camera work. Producing? I’ve gotten a taste of what that really is and I’m not that crazy about it personally. I’ve seen it done. I saw what Makita goes through and went through. I see what a lot of Producers go through. Not exactly something that I’m eager to do or love to do. I would rather direct. Producing is a pain in the butt. I have a different respect for Producers now. The business kind of forces you to do that. If I had it my way I would direct or be in front of the camera doing what I’m doing. That’s were my happiness is. Producing is something I was kind of forced to do trying to get my own stuff going.
by: Rob Smith