Jamaica-born actor says new Marcus Garvey role his biggest challenge
The highly anticipated biopic on national hero Marcus Garvey, is expected to premiere in 2017 and when the film hits theatres, Jamaicans will be glad to know that one of their own will be playing the lead role.
Jamaican-born model turned actor, Kevin Navayne, is the man that has been tasked with taking on the role of Garvey and in an exclusive interview with The Sunday Gleaner, he revealed how proud he was to be selected as the one to help bring Garvey’s story to life on the silver screens.
“I am very excited and proud to be playing this role,” he said. “Garvey rose from humble beginnings to become a man of power and influence, one who was able to inspire millions across the world just by speaking and standing up for what he believed in. He has been a huge source of inspiration for me and I just want to be able to bring out the essence of who he was to the best of my ability in this film.”
Though excited, Navayne explained that this role is turning out to be his most challenging one to date and he has had roles in some of the biggest television series in the United States including Law & Order SVU and Army Wives.
“This role is the most challenging because I want to make sure I’m doing everything right,” he explained. “I want to make his family proud and bring his legacy to life and so I want to be able to tell the true story and ensure that everything is accurate.”
He then went on to explain that taking on characters that actually existed in real life is a lot harder for him than playing a fictional character.
“When you’re doing a regular role for a made up character, you can make it your own and kinda do whatever you want, but it’s a lot more challenging playing persons that actually lived real lives. When you’re playing characters that actually were alive, you have to copy exactly what that person did in order to make it real, so everything from the way they spoke to how they walked, has to be accurate, otherwise people won’t pay attention.”
And Navayne is counting on people paying attention to this film, as he hopes that by the end of the film, people will understand Marcus Garvey better.
“I want people to leave with the message that Garvey was widely misunderstood. People thought he was turning people against each other when all he wanted was for people to live in harmony. He was trying to do the same things people respect Martin Luther King and Malcolm X for. I want people to understand that even before Martin Luther King and Malcolm X, Garvey was fighting. Martin Luther King actually piggy-backed off Marcus Garvey and a lot of people aren’t aware of that and so I want them to be educated on who he was and what he was about.”
The former model told The Sunday Gleaner, that although his acting career 'kind of just happened', he takes it very seriously.
“This is my career and I take it very seriously. I study everyday to make sure that I improve my skills and that I’m doing everything to the best of my ability,” he said.
In demonstrating just how serious he is about his career, Navayne revealed that in preparation for his role as Garvey, he has had to gain 80lbs.
“I’m putting on 80lbs for this film and that has been interesting,” he laughed. “I want people to believe in the role that I’m playing and so I’ve been eating the hamburgers, the pizzas, rice and peas and chicken, trying to look the part, because I want to make it as authentic as possible.”
Although he left Jamaica at age six, Navayne says he has his Jamaican background to thank for his ability to adjust to the struggles in Hollywood.
“My Jamaican heritage prepared me a lot for Hollywood, because just like Jamaica, the struggle is real here. Jamaica is constantly trying to prove to the world that it’s people are just as good as the people from any other country in the world and that’s what I do everyday in this business. I have to prove myself at every audition and I go out there and give it my all, because I’m not just representing myself and my family, but I’m also representing my homeland, my country.”
Aside from the Marcus Garvey biopic, Navayne is expected to appear in two other films; Onyx of Wall Street and American Warlord.