Wednesday, December 13, 2017
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Meet actor-on-the-rise Cory Hardrict
By Lapacazo Sandoval, Contributing Writer
Published November 30, 2017

Cory Hardrict (“Rasheed”) (Photo Courtesy: XLrator Media)

When reviewing the growing career of actor Cory Hardrict (“American Sniper”), one inevitably comes across phrases like “on the rise” and “one to watch.”  While both are unequivocally true, there seems to be more substance under Hardrict than most actors in Hollywood. He’s poised to make a stir in an industry that isn’t always kind to people of color.  Currently starring in the independent film, “Destined” written and directed by Qasim Basir, Hardrict gets to demonstrate his acting chops by playing two roles, Sheed and Rasheed.

In one world, Sheed is a hardened criminal who has spent years building his drug empire. In another, Rasheed is an ambitious architect who has been living the American dream, working his way up the corporate ladder.  As Sheed and Rasheed navigate their respective worlds, they face similar dilemmas – street violence to corporate corruption — demonstrating that on any path, life is never simple and the journey toward fulfilling your destiny is paved with choices.

Originally from Chicago, Illinois, Hardrict, the actor, has officially planted roots in the City of Angles. He is a husband and father, now having married his sweetheart of many years, actress Tia Mowry. The couple met when he sheepishly accepted a ride home with her and her sister while waiting at a bus stop. It was clear from the start that Hardrict was never going to give up on his dream.

So how is it, exactly, that Cory Hardrict is not a household name yet?  He’s racked up the credits, including Warner Bros’ “American Sniper”, Legendary Pictures and Universal Pictures “Spectral”, Netflix’s “Naked”, “Destined”, “Brotherly Love”, “Battle: Los Angeles”, “Walk of Fame”,“Never Been Kissed”, “Crazy/Beautiful”, “Gran Torino”, “He’s just not That Into You”, and “Car Dogs”.

Here is a brief excerpt from an hour-long interview with actor Cory Hardrict:

Los Angeles Sentinel:  “Destined” is a very interesting film and has won nine awards during its film festival circuit run. Qasim Basir (screenwriter and director) provided a great challenge for an actor.  You play two characters: Sheed and Rasheed. One is a hardened criminal (Sheed) and the other (Rasheed) is an ambitious architect. In your words what is this film really about?

Cory Hardrict:  It’s about choices. You are the product of the choices that you make in life. You understand what I’m saying?  I believe that this is a movie that is relatable.  It reflects what’s going on in our society today.  That goes for both characters [Sheed and Rasheed] who are living their parallel lives. Looking at corporate America and then the real world which is part of the street world, that father, and son dynamic.  [Rasheed] He’s trying to keep his son out of the criminal life that he has chosen. He did what he did so that his son can have a better life. It’s a life of choices.

LAS: What was it like working with Qasim Basir?  I think he has a very bright future.

CH: He does have a bright future for sure. As a director, Qasim is calm and cool. He’s an “artist’s” director because he’s an artist as well. He listens to his actors and he knows his vision.  I’m sure that in the future he and I will do many more movies together.

LAS:  You are a hard man to get on the phone.  Can you share what you’re up to?  You’ve been busy.

CH:  Busy is a good thing for an actor, especially in this climate.  I just returned from overseas where I finished a film called “211” with Nicholas Cage. It’s a great cop film. I worked on that for three months.  Right after that, I went to Puerto Rico for four months to shoot a television series called “The Oath”.

LAS:  “The Oath” received a 10-episode order and will appear on Crackle, which is Sony Pictures Television Networks’ free, ad-supported streaming network.  It’s produced by Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson and his hardworking G-Unit Film & Television Inc.  Talk about a hustler who has Hollywood and street game.  “50 Cent” is killing it.

CH: (Laughing) The very same. [“The Oath”] It’s a great cast and it is a great cop drama about this underworld of crime and violence. It explores the world of gangs made up of those sworn to protect and defend. It also a family story and it sheds light on corrupt secret societies that are nearly impossible to join—like only a select few make the cut–but once inside, members will do what they must to protect each other from enemies on the outside and from within their own ranks.

Cory Hardrict (“Sheed”) (Photo Courtesy: XLrator Media)

LAS: Word?! That sounds dope and very much like something to come out of “50 Cent”’s camp. Who was the show runner?

CH: Joe Halpin (“Hawaii Five-0’). The cast is really amazing.  Hopefully, this will be as successful as [ “50 Cent”] his other show “Power” because the work is there.  I am very thankful for the opportunity.

LAS: What do you love about living in Los Angeles?

CH: So many things. It never gets cold. I’m from Chicago; so, the winters are pretty frozen.

LAS: True or False. When you arrived in L.A. with a one-way ticket, you slept on a friends’ couch.

CH: True. You know what I really love about L.A., it’s the city of hopes and dreams.

LAS: True that …

CH: (Laughing) You know your life can change with a phone call or an audition. You know what I’m saying? This city keeps me dreaming and inspired; I’m grateful to be living in LA.

LAS: Why did you become an actor?  What other dreams did you have when you were a little kid?

CH: Oh wow. As a kid, I loved sports. I dreamed of going to the NBA. That was my first dream but I hurt my knee in high school. Those dreams went away quickly and [then] I just played for fun.  Let me think …  That’s a good question. To be honest, I don’t know what I would be doing if I were not a working actor.

Wait. I know this, it would be a profession where I would be helping people. [Maybe] I would work in a shelter and just help the less fortunate and feed the homeless. That’s what I really love to do. To give back. I love to service other people who don’t have.

LAS: Are you a devout Christian?  It is very rare that I hear an actor express a desire to serve people who are in need.

CH: I go to church.  I’m a spiritual person. I love GOD. I trust GOD and I know why I am here [on earth] and it’s because of GOD. He’s the reason that I have a beautiful family and He’s the center of my life. I do have faith and love and trust, and I know that there is a GOD.  Giving to others is motivated by my heart … just wanting to help people.

Jesse Metcalfe, Producer Tommy Oliver, Director Qasim Basir, Mo McRae, La La Anthony, Hill Harper, Cory Hardrict, Margot Bingham. (Photo Courtesy: XLrator Media)

LAS: What type of films do you really want to do?

CH: Wow. I’ve never thought about this. What I want to do is to participate in more films that have a strong human storyline.

Films that are more relatable. In short: I want to save all the Black communities in America.

LAS: Repeat, please, the last thing that you just said, slowly.  This might be the very moment that I become an official fan Mr. Cory Hardrict.

CH: (laughing). I want to save all the Black communities in America. That’s what I want to do. I want to do that though emotions, through passion and being a part of human stories. If I can do that first, that would be my dream role, to save every African American community, not just in America either actually the whole entire world.

I want to play that character. I don’t know who that character is yet.

Director Qasim Basir and Cory Hardrict (Photo Courtesy: XLrator Media)

LAS: Heavy and wonderful stuff all rolled together.  You talk about L.A. being the city of dreams, how a single phone call or an audition can change a person’s fate;  can you share the three directors that are on your wish list?

CH:  Well I would love to work with Ryan Coogler. He certainly brings a lot of emotion and great passion in his movies.  He’s one of the best young directors in the game today. I also love the work of Oscar winner Barry Jenkins. I’m also a passionate admirer of Steven Spielberg and Denzel Washington.  I’ve not been in the room to read (auditions) for any of these guys yet.

LAS: Yet is the keyword.

CH: Yet. If Ryan Coogler is hearing me. I would love to just read for him, one day and hopefully have him direct some of my movies or I can [act] be in some of his.  That’s a guaranteed Oscar right there. Me and Ryan Coogler.

LAS: Cory, please repeat the last thing that you said.

CH: Me and Ryan Coogler together, is a guaranteed Oscar win.

LAS: How can anyone not root for the man that wants to save every Black community in the world? I am on team Cory Hardrict.

“Destined” is currently playing in select theaters in Los Angeles.  The award-winning independent film will be available on VOD in January 2018.

Twitter: Cory Hardrict —@coryhardrict

Twitter: Destined The Movie —@DestinedMovie

Twitter:  Qasim Basir — @Qasimb

Trailer:  https://vimeo.com/238690974

Facebook: facebook.com/destinedmovie

Twitter: twitter.com/destinedmovie

Instagram:instagram.com/destinedfilm

Categories: Entertainment | Movies
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