Actor Jamie Hector Shadowed Compton Pastor to Prepare for ‘Canal Street’ Role
Actor Jamie Hector is among the most versatile faces you’ll see on your TV screen. He has been mainstays on shows such as “The Wire,” “Heroes,” and “Bosch” as well as in the films “He Got Game,” “Max Payne,” and “All Eyez on Me.” The Brooklyn born actor spoke to Rapzila.com about his faith, Moving Mountains organization, and his upcoming roles, most notably “Canal Street.”
In the 2018 drama that centers around an accused Chicago teen Kholi Styles (Bryshere Gray), Hector plays Pastor Sam Billings.
He describes the pastor as a community leader that not only leads through the Bible, but also through his excellent example. Billings presents himself as a member of the community, more than he presents himself as a holy figure.
Hector explained that for the role, he was able to shadow pastor Michale J.T. Fisher of “Greater Zion Church Family,” located in Compton, California where the church was surrounded by three or four gangs, including Bloods and Crips. Despite the outside interference, the pastor was deeply involved in the community and was able to minister to these gang members.
“I’m a Christian, I follow the Word, learn about Christ, but I never knew what a pastor’s calling was until I played this role and saw what it is to lead and to be anointed,” Hector said. “It brought me closer to GOD and I started seeing the scripture through a different lens.”
He continued, “There’s a huge responsibility that comes with being a pastor. I would love to be able to say I can carry the entire weight of a congregation and lead them and direct them.”
“Surround yourself with great people and they see it and move with it.”
Hector applies this principle with how he works in Hollywood.
“I pray for work,” he shared. “And with wise counsel from my team, we decide what is the right job. I definitely see this as work. In other words, there are some jobs that I wouldn’t do.”
He said whether you think so or not, an actor is affecting lives behind the camera and on set too. Regardless if he’s playing a villain or pastor, he sees it as an opportunity to be of service.
Many of the actors and actresses working on “Canal Street” were drawn to the production because of the strong social messages of the film. The film is not a big budget blockbuster, and for Hector, these types of roles are needed in every entertainer’s repertoire.
“As with every artist you have to dedicate yourself to at least one or two films that do some kind of social work,” he revealed. “You still have to make a living and provide for your family, but be in the position to try to help others with a story.”
He said there are differences in performance when working on indie features as well.
“On a big budget film, you can get lost in trying to please the people only and not be honest to the story. The smaller budget films that are really passionate and a labor of love, tend to have people giving it everything they got,” said Hector. This cast of ‘Canal Street’, everyone was really dedicated and at the same time it is a story that you really fall in love with.”
“Canal Street” isn’t necessarily a faith-based movie, but elements of forgiveness, faith, and God’s hand amongst a daunting situation are rampant throughout. Hector feels that calling something “Christian” whether it be a movie or music, still requires it to be on par or better than something without God in it.
“Here’s how I feel about faith based films and gospel rap, you still have a requirement to need to be good and be fire. I come from the hip-hop era and I still rock to it. I love music. Even in hip-hop, music that didn’t carry its weight didn’t get my attention. The same thing is true to me when it comes to film,” he said.
As for Christian rap, he enjoys Gemstones and said he will buy his album as soon as it drops. However, he’s more into gospel artists such as Fred Hammond and Tasha Cobb.
“True stories and testimonies through music and poetry, and you show how God came to your life. I want to hear that!”
One way that Hector gives back to the community and showcases the blessings in his life, is with the Moving Mountains Theater Company. M.M. is an organization that strives to set the stage for others to have an opportunity, especially when you see the lack of it in the community.
They take kids and young adults ages 6 to 21 and help them develop their skills and abilities with acting, singing, dancing, cinematography, video editing, and photography. It acts not only as a free place to learn but also as a mentorship program that instills character and hard work on the participants. The first step is to audition for the program.
“You have to work hard and earn it,” Hector said.
As far as what’s next on his plate, Hector said it’s an “overflow” that he thanks God for daily.
He’s currently working on a series called “Queen of the South” on USA where he plays the character, Devon Finch.
Hector is also on FX’s sci-fi thriller “The Strain,” where he plays Vampire hunter Alonso Creem.
On the Amazon Prime show “Bosch,” Hector is one of the lead characters, Jerry Edgar. He plays an LAPD detective opposite the lead, Harry Bosch (Titus Welliver).
Away from the screen, Hector is writing scripts and just finished one called “In Plain Sight.”
He is also a martial artist, loves exercising, and loves working out and staying fit.
“It’s a quality of life and a discipline.”
Be on the look out for Jamie Hector, in the upcoming “Canal Street, and catch him on any of the previously mentioned shows.