He’s an R&B superstar in the making and just may be a household name after audiences see him in the film adaptation of Langston Hughes’ “Black Nativity.” Jacob Latimore is only 17-years-old, but on screen he possesses the skill and delivery of an industry pro.
In the Kasi Lemmons-directed film, Latimore plays Langston, a troubled teen of a single mom meeting his estranged grandparents for the first time.
When his mother, Naima (played by Jennifer Hudson) sends her son to New York City with her parents, he sets out to find a way to make life easier for them both – even if it’s not using the most honest methods.
AlwaysAList.com sat down with the teenage entertainer at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif. to talk about his debut as a leading man.
You and your mom are extremely close in real life. How did that help you relate to your character in the film?
Well, I grew up around love my whole life. Being with my mom, I’ve never had to experience not knowing my father or my grandparents or anything like that. I’ve had love all around the board. So everyone in the film related to a person in my family. My grandfather is very well into the church, my grandmother is warm and welcoming, and my mom is very young and strong like Jennifer is, and I think that it was so similar to the film that it was a no-brainer.
What was it like working with Jennifer Hudson?
She can come off as a little intimidating some times. Once you get to know her, she’s so cool. She’s really cool. She’s firm. She’s not mean. Very strong in her opinion. Sort of like my mom is too. Very strong and firm in what she believes in.
You seem to be a very happy guy in real life. How did you find this angry energy you have in this film?
I had to really dig deep for it. I think I’m really more a sensitive person. It’s very rare that I get very, very angry. So I had to dig deep for that anger and that’s what Kasi was looking for. She was like, ‘Make sure it’s not too soft. Stay firm, stay strong.’ When you have a great cast, the emotions in the role you have to do they come up.
What do you hope younger viewers will take away from the “Black Nativity” story?
I think my character likes to show teens that it’s okay to show emotion. Langston has this rough outer edge, but he has a really sensitive core. But he puts up a front; he puts up this fight automatically off the jump. Really it’s just okay to show love and show affection, and it’s okay to forgive. I think that’s a big message. And really just bringing the whole family together, which is the platform of the film. Being a teen my age, and having them see that come from me, someone their own age, I think that’s incredible.
What’s your favorite holiday movie?
I actually have the same one as Jennifer, except for she likes the first “Home Alone” and I like “Home Alone 3.”
What’s on your Christmas list this year?
I feel like I pretty much have everything I want. I just want to be with family. Oh, and I just want some cologne. Anything that smells good.
VIDEO: Watch the trailer for “Black Nativity” below.