If you’re at a coffee shop or a restaurant, nine times out of ten, your server is an aspiring actor or musician. That was the case for Indiana native Andre Hall who moved to Hollywood with the goal of becoming a star. Hall can definitely say he’s paid his dues having been a waiter, a bartender and a valet before he landed his big break as one of the stars on Tyler Perry’s hit series, “Love Thy Neighbor” now in it’s fourth season on OWN (The Oprah Winfrey Network). Even with the success of the show, Hall isn’t taking any days off. In addition to acting, the former model is also working on his first
feature film and he’s received feedback on his script from Mr. Perry himself. In an exclusive with the L.A. Sentinel, Hall gives insight on how his faith got him through the tough times and how his “Love Thy Neighbor” character is continuing to evolve in season four.
LAS: Now that “Love Thy Neighbor” is in season 4, how does your character continue to develop to keep the fans engaged in your storyline?
Andre Hall: People have come to know Danny as this little kid trapped in a man’s body but this season he’s letting everyone know that he’s a man. He gets married and so many things change, it’s not just about you any more and that’s where Danny has to grow up, he’s now responsible for someone else. So he has to be a provider and take care of his wife, Troy (actress Leigh-Ann Rose). He’s challenged with letting go of his college ways, always hanging out with his friends and being overly involved in his family’s affairs. This season Danny has to stand up for Troy and let the family know they can’t disrespect her because this is my life and this is my wife.
LAS: When did you decide that you wanted to be an actor and what was your journey to getting to this point in your career?
AH: I’ve known since I was eight-years-old. One day I got in trouble and I couldn’t go outside so my grandma made me sit down and watch a movie, it was “The Black Stallion” by Francis Ford Coppola. I was mesmerized by this film and I knew that one day I was going to be on TV.
When most actors finally get to L.A., I think they expect to be the next Will Smith or Denzel Washington and that’s not the case. I worked at Starbucks, I was a waiter, a bartender and a valet, sometimes working 2 to 3 jobs at a time while getting a lot of ‘no’s’ as an actor. “Love Thy Neighbor” was my first breakthrough role. It’s definitely been a blessing because for the first six years that I was in L.A. I slept on a floor until this Tyler Perry series came along.
LAS: What advice would you give to your younger self about maintaining patience and resilience on your journey?
AH: I have more faith now than I ever had before. Between all those odd jobs, sleeping on the floor and being constantly told ‘no’ for reasons out of my control like: ‘you’re too light skin’, you’re not black enough, ‘you’re not urban enough’. As an actor, people are always criticizing you so it just made me fall in love with myself.
I would tell my 25-year-old self to relax, just trust yourself, it’s going to be okay. You’re exactly where you’re supposed to be right here and right now.
LAS: What have you learned from working under Tyler Perry and what projects are you developing on outside of acting?
AH: Being around Mr. Perry, I try and pick his brain as often as possible. The way he can bring his visions to fruition is fascinating, the opportunity to work right next to him and ask questions is such a blessing. I’m currently working on a feature film about Martin Luther King, Jr. It’s making me a more well rounded artist, it’s definitely enhanced my acting. My goal is to star in the film as well as direct it.
I’ve been working on the script for almost ten years and at the time “Selma” or “All The Way” (HBO film on MLK starring Anthony Mackie) weren’t out yet. Having a black mother and a white father has really shaped how I view the world. My film is told from the perspective of being bi-racial during the Civil Rights movement; are you fully accepted by African Americans? Are you kind of accepted by white people? It’s an interesting tug of war for the main character for the audience to see the world through his eyes.
LAS: What’s something you would share with an aspiring actor about the business aspect of the industry?
AH: Stand on your truth and what you believe in. Don’t let anyone alter that because you can’t build a house on weak foundation. If you really want to get to this level—and I’m trying to go even higher, never settle, always strive to get better and stay in gratitude because that multiplies everything.