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Lofty ambitions of 6 ft. 6 in. actor Quinton Aaron

TOWERING: Quinton Aaron says he would like to produce more films after the success of his most recent project, 'Halfway'

IT’S HARD to miss an actor like Quinton Aaron. Standing at a towering 6ft. 6in; the 32-year old New York thespian has an imposing presence and even larger personality.

“I want to show my range and ability to do different films, and Halfway allowed me to express that,” he said.

Halfway, an independent movie from first-time feature film director Ben Caird, stars Aaron, who also served as an executive producer of the project.

“It was pretty cool to have that accolade, and really to just to support the team however I could,” said the Bronx native.

Halfway focuses on the life of Byron, a recently released convict who now faces the conflict of maintaining a relationship with his old gang world, while struggling to adapt to a life on probation as the only black man in a conservative white midwestern town.

The film deals with various themes, from race to community integration, but one of the key struggles acknowledged in this movie is the rehabilitation of former convicts re-entering society.

“Unfortunately, opportunities are practically slim to none for people who are released from prison,” shares Aaron.

“It’s sad because once someone gets out of prison, it’s almost like they still aren’t free.

“They’re criticised, they’re judged. I’m a Christian, I believe that no man should judge another man, but we know that’s not really how the world works.”

Aaron’s beliefs are reflected in his view of the purpose of the film, stating that the aim of the story is to show the importance of redemption.

“Halfway is about second chances, and Byron [his character] took advantage of his second chance and became a better person by doing so,” Aaron says.

“I know people who have been locked-up and got out, and they weren’t bad but got caught up in situations.

“But we all make mistakes, no-one is perfect and that’s what I want people to take away from this film.

HIGH HOPES: Quinton Aaron

“Whether you’re a convict or an upstanding citizen, you’re still a human being and we all make mistakes and should all be accepted with open arms.”

Aaron’s optimistic outlook can be seen in his thoughts regarding the representation of ethnic minorities in film and TV, as he focuses on the positive changes that have been made over the years.

“I do feel like there has been opportunities that have expanded in the past couple years for African-Americans and minorities in film and TV,” says Aaron.

“And I love that, because it shows that there’s hope and work out there.

“But at the same time, I do what I do because I love it. I don’t feel like I personally need to be praised for it.

“If I ever received an Oscar that’d be great, but if I didn’t, I’m doing what I love.

“God has blessed me with the ability to act, which is something I’ve always wanted to do, and I’m living out my dreams, so that’s enough for me.”

EMERGING: Left to right - Sean Tuohy Jr; Sean Tuohy, Leigh Anne Tuohy, Collins Tuohy and Quinton Aaron at the premiere of The Blind Side in New York, 2009

With an increase in diversity across film and TV, Aaron feels independent projects like Halfway help aid in that representation.

“It only took around six weeks to film Halfway, one week of rehearsal, four weeks of filming,” he reveals.

“But that’s the great thing about independent projects. You can film a full 90-page movie script in as little as 12 days, and I like the variety and the ability to create projects that Hollywood may never cast me in because of my size and stuff like that.

“But that’s the reason why we create; to show that there is more to us, and that we can do things just as good as the rest.”

The future for the talented actor is pretty bright, as he announces he’s working on a few projects and has a budding interest in more producing.

“I’m definitely into producing more, and I’m writing a couple things at the moment, so it’s all pretty exciting,” says Aaron.

Alongside these projects, Halfway continues to make its rounds across the festival circuits and has garnered favourable reviews – but with one criticism. Critics have complained that Aaron’s character is being portrayed from a white perspective – an opinion that the actor doesn’t agree with.

“I feel like sometimes people have a tendency to read too much into a situation,” he says.

“At the end of the day, we want to tell stories that matter to today’s society and so in telling this story – regardless if it came from a white person or from a black person – the focus should not be on who told the story, but what the story is saying.

“I feel like if you want to be entertained, and see stories which inspire you and make you feel
good, the message should be the focus and not the messenger, and that’s what Halfway is all about.”

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