Stephanie R. Green
The highly-touted “Four Brothers” hits the screens earlier this month, and while it is not your typical “family” film, John Singleton, behind the scenes, was comfortable in the paternal role of director.
In the film, adopted brothers of different ethnicities (Black and White), reunite as a family to avenge the murder of their adoptive, loving mother, the link that held the young together. Mark Walberg stars as “hot-headed” Johnny Mercer; Andre Benjamin is family and businessman Jeremiah Mercer”, Tyrese Gibson as “ladies man Angel Mercer” and Garrett Hedlund as “hard-rocking Jack Mercer”. Beyond the vigilante theme of the film, there is also the notion of how a crisis can help forge new and stronger relationships, and give new meaning to family.
In the acting world. John Singleton is known for nurturing young aspiring actors, and, especially, for taking hip-hop artists to the next level. He jumped at the opportunity to work with his real-life buddy-brother Wahlberg, a musician and established Hollywood star, who already had been signed to the film.
Also, Singleton also could not pass up the opportunity to coach and work with rising and emerging acting stars: Sofia Vergara, an Hispanic actress who will star in the coveted role of a New York realtor in the ABC sitcom “Hot Properties” which broadcasts Fridays at 9pm on ABC; Andre Benjamin, who is getting his acting feet wet and who had a few unwarranted trepidations about taking on the role of Jeremiah and Garrett Hedlund, who took on a complex character, one he had never played before.
During our brief interview, Singleton revealed the technique he uses to get believable performances from beginning actors – musicians, in particular. He makes them “rough it.” It’s all about tough love., he said. While he encourages all of his actors to take acting seriously, he actually takes them through a kind of boot camp process, where they are constantly drilled on the rudiments of acting.
This kind of drill system was in place years ago when John first broke into the business, now it doesn’t exist for filmmakers, he said. This is why so many “brothers . and sisters” of all ethnicities like working with “godfather” Singleton.
In his latest “Four Brothers” project, audiences will get to see Singleton’s singular “process” in action.