Let’s get one thing straight: There’s no man in Hollywood like the one and only Omar Dorsey. He can do anything, and we can all say he is a talented force of nature. He’s acted in a wide range of genres, from playing comedic roles to gangster roles, and now starring in the hit drama series, Queen Sugar. When he’s off the stage, Dorsey’s whole life has been about inclusiveness and bringing everyone under the umbrella of art. We chatted with Omar about playing “Hollywood” Desonier in Queen Sugar, as well as his upcoming role in Halloween, along with how to become an over-the-top actor and what his life is like when he’s not acting.
Cliché: First, I want to congratulate you on your successful run in your acting career so far. I can’t say enough from you starring in The Blind Side, Django Unchained, and Starsky & Hutch, and many more movies, including television shows, to now starring in the hit drama series, Queen Sugar. When looking back to where you first began your acting career journey to where you are now, how much work and motivation does it take to accomplish these major feats? Most importantly, though, how much work did it take you to become a rising star and a professional actor?
Omar Dorsey: Well, you know, it takes some time. I always told people it’s a marathon and not a sprint. When I first started, my first movie was Road Trip and that was 19 years ago, which it doesn’t seem like it was two decades ago. In 1999, I was still in grad school. So it’s been a journey from that date. You have your ups and your downs. You have these high points and you also have these really low points in time but you have to stay the course. And you hope when you get to the other end when you are 40 years old, or whenever that time is, you can say it was all worth it, which it was for me.
I have been on stage since I was 5 years old. My mother was a theater director, so she always had me in acting classes, being in football practice, band practice, piano lessons, and all of that. But I really gratitude a whole lot to the acting. It’s a skill and a process. You are saying a rising star, well I have been doing this for around 37 years. It might seem like it’s something overnight but it’s just a whole lot of work that got me to this point.
How would you say the show, Queen Sugar, has made you a ‘leading man’ in your career? In other words, how has starring in this show impacted your daily life?
I played a lot of gangsters, a lot of comedy people, funny guys, and the first time you see me playing somebody who was a loving man, and then people are gravitating to that. Because in real life, I am a real dude. I am a real person.
Well I been on a lot of hit shows, including Ray Donovan, but it’s just something about the character that really draws people in. Outside of that, nothing really does change. You understand your highs right now. And tomorrow it might not be. But you just want to try and stay the course. Whatever path is right for you, you want to try and stay on that for as long as you can, because then people will continue to like you. Because after time people will stop liking you.
It must be a great honor to have worked alongside the iconic Oprah Winfrey, the executive producer of Queen Sugar. How would you describe your relationship with Oprah? In addition, were some of the cast members of the show your friends or actors that you have starred in your past shows or movies?
Oprah is the best boss in the world, man. It’s my fourth year in a row working with her. We have a lot of great conversations. She is really awesome — including Ava DuVernay — and the rest of Hollywood. There is no bigger fan in your corner than Oprah Winfrey. And I just appreciate her for what she has done for me.
No. I have known Dondre Whitfield for 4 to 10 years. I have known Rutina Wesley for 5 to 6 years. And I have known Kofi Siriboe for two years prior to when I had met him on the show. We had a pretty good relationship. Everybody else on the show, it was the time first meeting them. But we are all family now.
Can you describe your character, Hollywood Desonier? What are some of the character traits that you share in life with the role you play in the show?
He’s a really good gentleman. He is easygoing, confident in himself and he had a lot of downs in his life. It is just the combination of all the hurt and strife in his life. He found the right woman that he wants to spend the rest of his life with and the family that he wants to be a part of. He found the life that he’s been through.
I am not really easygoing. I am a gentleman. I love my wife. I might not be smothering her every time when she’s right there all the time. It is sort of hard for me to be like that because I travel the world so much. But I try to be with her as much as I can.
What’s the message you hope fans take away from the show and the lessons from the show?
Life is full of surprises. It’s just the way family could work through things. This is just real life and that is what we are reflecting. I just want people to look when they watch the show, no matter if you’re black, white, no matter what race you are, no matter what gender you are, you can see yourself in these characters and see yourself in this family, because sometimes family is messy. But for most people, family is a beautiful thing. I just want people to know that this is exactly what family looks like.
There’s also more exciting news as you will also be seen in the eleventh installment of Halloween. How does it feel to be part of the long-lasting franchise of Halloween?
Oh my goodness. It’s so amazing because I have a great relationship with Danny McBride, the producer of Halloween, who wrote it, and with David Gordon Green, who is the director of it and one of the producers of the film. And they just called me and offered me the role, and of course, I wanted to do a horror film. Of course, I wanted to do a film chasing Michael Myers all around town. Besides from Jamie Lee Curtis. It was just tremendous, man. I just heard Danny was going to be doing Halloween. This is going to be extremely scary but it’s going to be so good.
What was your favorite part of playing Sheriff Barker? Did you relate to the character at all?
Uhh…The character himself. You know? He’s a jerk. He thinks he’s the boss hall of the town and he treats everyone poorly. He runs the town. Michael Myers or Lori doesn’t run the town. This is Sheriff Barker’s job. It is just fun that I will be playing the jerk in the film. I have been playing the nice guy on television for the last 3 years. I am lucky to be playing the jerk again.
I don’t know. But I can be jerky from time-to-time. But I don’t know if I can be that extreme.
Why do you think both fans of the series and people, in general, should be excited to see Halloween? How would you compare this one to previous films in the series?
You know man, I will be honest with you, with Jamie Lee Curtis coming back, she’s a badass looking like she can go run a marathon right now and beat up everybody in the world. And David Gordon Green with his filmmaking is just one of the great old-time writers of our generation. This is going to be a scary tale, man.
This is the one that actually picks up. Of course, the timeline has changed, this is like 40 years after the original one. It doesn’t really have to do with the other ones.
What do you do on your “off” days when you aren’t acting?
I don’t know even know when that is. My wife and I have been traveling on vacation. I will workout and just try to be creative. I am continuing to create and film for television shows for whatever I am trying to write. That is the next step.
Are there any future projects that you are working on or will be working on?
I have a couple of films that I am developing right now. One of them with me being in a comedy, a movie where I am playing a private investigator, and then a young black client who is falsely accused. I am also in a movie involving the Michael Brown story.
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Leading Actor Omar Dorsey Raves About His Role in “Queen Sugar” and More. Image Credits: Sean Hagwell & Robyn Von Swank