I recently got the chance to talk to Yinka Adeboyeku about his role in ‘The Reluctant Fundamentalist’. Here, Yinka talks about what it was like working with the cast and crew on-set and how he got into acting in the first place…
What’s the general plotline surrounding the film?
‘The Reluctant Fundamentalist’ was about a Pakistani who moved to the United States to study and make a better life for his family. He found success after university on Wall Street but all of this changed after the terrorist attacks of 9/11. After becoming the subject of racial profiling, harassment, and hate, he moved back to Pakistan to become a professor at a local university. When an American professor at his university goes missing, the CIA marks him as a person of interest and sends a reporter to hear his story that they hope will lead them to the kidnapped professor.
Tell us a bit about the character you play in the movie…
My character is a NYPD officer who targets Changues – (played by Riz Ahmed) based on his Pakistani look and his supposed association with a crazed citizen.
How did you get involved in the project in the first place?
I originally went into audition for a street merchant and was bumped up to the role of the arresting officer.
How would you say this film is different and unique?
It addresses a topic that is not normally approached in film, the 9/11 terrorist attacks and aftermath from the perspective of the innocent citizens racially and ethnically profiled.
The film stars Riz Ahmed, Kate Hudson, Live Schreiber, Kiefer Sutherland, Om Puri, Shabana Azmi, Martin Donovan, Nelsan Ellis and Haluk Bilginer – with Mira Nair onboard as director – what was it like working with the cast and crew on-set? Any good anecdotes?
It was definitely an amazing experience, especially getting to sit in the read through with all these incredible actors. Anecdotes wise, Riz Ahmed and I got to drive through the city in the police car we were using for filming because the crew only had the one street blocked off. I accidentally left the light on so people actually thought I was a cop. Also, pedestrians kept getting involved in the scene, thinking that we weren’t shooting a movie and I was actually arresting Riz for no reason.
Let’s talk a bit about you Yinka. What made you want to get into the acting industry in the first place?
I started out at the University of Maryland as a theatre major because I always had some interest in acting. After college and pursuing a career in football, I decided that it was time to try to make the jump to acting. When I went to my first audition and was lost for words, it made me realize that if I was this nervous, I really wanted it that bad. I’ve been acting ever since.
What advice would you give to anyone wanting to pursue a career in the industry?
Just keep on pushing. Get someone to tell them about the Danny DeVito story — he auditioned 99 times and finally got his role on his 100th audition, this takes patience.
What’s currently on your I-Pod right now?
Wale — Ambition and Mumford and Sons — I Will Wait.
If you could have dinner with three guests – (living or dead), who would you choose and why?
- God – so I can thank him in person for his continued blessing and ask him to show me the way.
- President Obama – because he’s the first black President.
- Denzel Washington – because he is an actor I have always admired.
Which film was your favourite of 2012 and why?
‘Silver Linings Playbook’ because they really explored difficult relationships and how people overcome adversity.
What’s coming up for you in 2013?
‘Chinese Puzzle’, directed by Cedric Klapisch starring Romain Duris, Audrey Tautou and Kelly Reilly and ‘Towheads’ written and directed by Shannon Plumb. To stay updated on when my work is coming up follow me on Twitter – @yinka1me.
Thanks for the interview!