May 04, 2017 

By Lapacazo Sandoval 

Contributing Writer 


Jacob Latimore is the type of young man that his peers might not like, at first glance, adding a dramatic “eye-roll-to-the-heavens” when his name—Jacob—is tossed up as an example, by their elders, that they should replicate.


Four years ago, when I met a very young Latimore on his press tour for “Black Nativity,” directed by Kasi Lemmons, I was instantly impressed. The young man was simply raised properly.   I spent the day with the young man and his mother, in Harlem, giving out blankets to those in need.  I made a note, then, to follow his progress for a simple reason:  I wanted to know if his kind nature would change.  In 2016, I had a one-on-one with him for “Collateral Beauty,” not a critic or box office favorite, where he played the immortal character father time — the young version.  Again, he was equally charming. 


He told me then and reminded me, on our last meeting, that his love of performing as been inside him as long as he could remember.


“It is almost scary, how young I was and I knew exactly what I wanted to do.  No questions. I’ve, had that drive pushing me forward for as long as I can remember,” shares Jacob when asked why he’s so passionate.


Raised in Milwaukee, Wis., Latimore started dreaming of his art and where it could take him after watching the movie “The Temptations” and developing a passion for the musical stylings of the early Motown groups.  His appreciation for the classics was further encouraged by his father and uncles.


Music drifted into his creative heart and in the magical pursuit to develop his own sound, he would spend hours rehearsing everyday, dancing, singing into a TV controller that stood in place of a microphone. He happily takes ownership of his obsession because to become great, in any profession requires discipline and rigorous practice.  “Talent is good but it’s not just about talent, the hard work has to come in too,” added Latimore demonstrating, clearly, with just a few words that he is a wise young artist. Luck has nothing to do with his growing success.


At the age of 9-years-old he produced his first song, “Best Friend” which became an unexpected hit after it was picked up by Radio Disney’s incubator program. Proving that his hard work opened that first important door because it launched the preteen career into motion.  He moved from the sleepy town of Milwaukee to hot, hot, hot Atlanta and along this journey he decided to add acting into the mix. On the music front, Latimore has put out one full-length album and three mixtapes.  


Opening on April 28, he steps into the leading man role with “Sleight,” directed by J.D. Dillard and co-written by J.D. Dillard and Alex Theurer.


In the much anticipated modern, supernatural thriller with a twist, Latimore, plays Bo, a brilliant and daring street magician who has to harness his abilities to save his little sister after falling in with the wrong crowd.  “I am in love with this role [Bo] because he is a hard working man, he puts his mind to accomplishing the impossible and he acheives it over and over again!


But for Latimore, all of his efforts are connected, there’s a thread that brings all of his talents together and it comes from the hustle. “Stay consistent, stay hardworking, put your mind to it.  That type of dedication, I understand” says Latimore adding that it’s “easier said than done, but it works.”


This is a brief excerpt from an interview with Jacob Latimore


Q: Did you feel any measure to perform like an authentic street magician?  That’s nothing like performing as a singer, is it?


Jacob Latimore: (laughing) Yes it is very different from singing to an audience.  Absolutely I come from a totally different background! I’m talking R’n’B singer, performer. As a kid, you know, films like our [Sleight] always intrigued me. When I read [the script] my reaction was strong and, I thought, ‘Okay, I can be this, I could try this.’  As an actor, you want to be different things and go to different worlds, and I felt like [Sleight] was a really great balance between the genres. I wanted to investigate Bo’s world, make him as real as possible, to make him feel relatable. That’s what really intrigued me about it.


Q: Understood and I agree. Actors should explore as many characters and roles as offered.  But, magic—that’s very tricky—forgive my witty pun!


JL: The magic part, well, it kinda scared me in the beginning!  I was carrying a deck of cards everywhere I went in my pocket. Our magic consultants, Eric and the Fontaine guy, Zack…it was a kind of kinetic energy. I wanted to perfect the tricks.  In my apartment, I was throwing cards in the air, picking them up, putting them back on the deck. I was full-blown on trying to get into that world as quickly as possible. I wanted to be comfortable and have the charisma and the personality that a street magician would.


Q: James Randi who is famous and respected in the magic community has shared that the trick is practice just like it is to get to Carnegie Hall:  “How do you get to Carnegie Hall?  Practice. Practice. Practice.”


JL: (laughing) That’s how it was. Practice. If I don’t practice it can be very frustrating things when you’re trying to do a trick and the deck of cards falls everywhere and you have to pick each one up! It’s a mental game.


Q: What do you think of “Sleight,” and be honest. Please.


JL: (lauging) Yoooo…what did we do?!  That was my reaction. It was happy-shock.  We shot the film in two weeks: two weeks!  This was a small, indie film made with love but when I watched it, it seemed like we did a whole lot more in that short amount of time. It was incredible, like, how was it so clear? It was executed just like the vision on the page. So, I wondered, was it that clear on the set? I don’t remember watching it on playback and it looking like that!  I am proud of everyone that worked on the film.  Everyone.  That is my reaction—then and now—to “Sleight.”


Jacob Latimore is current in Chicago working on Showtime’s new drama, created by Lena Waithe, who will also serve as exec producer with Common, Aaron Kaplan (“Secrets and Lies,” “The Mysteries of Laura”) and Clark Johnson (“Homeland,” “The Wire”), who will also direct.


Common is exec producing a coming-of-age drama pilot for Showtime, which revolves around a young African American man in Chicago’s South Side.

Category: Arts & Culture