Hollywood can be tough for actors, but Gregg Daniels has successfully survived for more than 35 years. Now, the acclaimed performer will star in the feature, “Jerico,” described as a civil rights film with a twist.
“The twist is that it’s a comedy,” said Daniel during a recent interview with The Sentinel. “This African American husband and wife team, Brandon and Seckeita Lewis, wrote this delightful script that takes place in a small Southern town during the Jim Crow era and they approached it from the way of comedy.”
Daniel plays Thomas Cook in the movie, a hardworking father who struggles to raise his family in the midst of racism. After refusing to accept the denial of a job promotion, Thomas makes a decision that results in a tragedy witnessed by his son, Jarvis, and his son’s best friend, Jerico. The film follows the two young men as adults on their dangerous, yet comedic journey.
“It’s just hilarious, a take on life that I certainly didn’t see coming. I definitely agreed to come on board and I got to work with Irma P. Hall, a wonderful film actress who just turned 80,” said Daniel.
“She plays my mother in “Jerico” and I was so pleased to work with her. That was a real treat for me.”
In fact, Daniel’s long career is full of “treats.” He’s currently appearing in HBO’s “True Detective” and previously played Rev. Daniels on the network’s “True Blood” series as well as starred in several television shows such as “Austin & Ally,” “Castle,” “Harry’s Law” and “NCIS.” Overall, Daniel has amassed more than 100 credits in film and television.
Recounting some highlights of his career, Daniel said he’s thankful for his many opportunities to work with iconic people, such as Hall, whose work he has admired.
“Years ago, I had a chance to work with Oprah Winfrey on an episode of “Desperate Housewives.” I played her husband. So, people that you’ve watched and respect and admire, when you get next to them, you have to say, ‘Oh, wow!’ I get a little star struck myself,” he admitted with a laugh.
Theater is another medium Daniel has excelled in, as both an actor and director. His acting credits include the Mark Taper Forum’s “Joe Turner’s Come and Gone,” the Pasadena Playhouse’s “Jitney,” Actors Theatre of Louisville’s “Master Harold,” and Hartford Stage Company’s “Peer Gynt.”
As a director, Daniel oversaw a range of stage productions such as Tom Stoppard’s “Heroes,” Sybyl Walker’s “Beneath Rippling Waters,” Lee Blessing’s “Cobb” and Frank McGuinness’s “Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me.” Also, he earned an NAACP Image Award nomination in 2013 for “Elmina’s Kitchen,” which won the NAACP Award for Best Ensemble.
While his career is busier than ever, Daniel still maintains a spirit of humbleness. “I just thank God that I made to this level that. I thank God that I was the one chosen out of all of these thousands of actors out here who as talented, if not more, than I am. I’m always very grateful,” he said