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Omar Epps: 'Things have changed since Love & Basketball'

MAIN MAN: Actor Omar Epps

HE PLAYED the lead character in one of our favourite romantic comedies and then the loveable Dr Foreman in House, now, Hollywood actor Omar Epps is back on the silver screen in the new fantasy drama, Resurrection.

Brought up in several neighbourhoods in Brooklyn, New York, Epps found his passion for acting from an early age.
He began writing poetry, short stories and songs at the age of ten and attended the prestigious Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts.

The actor, who was raised by his mother, Bonnie Epps - a school head teacher - tells Life & Style: “My mum was definitely more into the academic side. She thought I was going be a lawyer or something like that.

“But she knew the way my life was being sculptured, she saw what my passion was and she was definitely supportive.”

Having starred in the hit medical drama, House, for eight years, Epps 41, describes what it has been like working on a new project. The actor says: “House ran its course. We had a great time doing the show and I think it ended when it should have.

“For me I like to keep myself challenged creatively. And when I read the script for Resurrection, I just felt that ‘thing’.

Resurrection, which airs exclusively on Watch in the UK, is a fantasy drama that follows a community whose lives are changed beyond measure when their deceased loved ones begin to reappear. Epps plays immigration agent J. Martin ‘Marty’ Bellamy.

The actor also says that it was a refreshing change to go from a medical drama to a supernatural series, but adds that “filming any television series is a very hard process”.

He says: “It’s a lot of work. The pacing of it is challenging. When you’re doing a feature film, you have a limited amount of time – probably a couple of months.

“But when you’re doing a television series, it can be up to six or nine months. It’s a continuum.”

TV VETERAN: Epps played Dr Foreman in House for eight years

Best known for his roles in films including Juice and The Wood - not forgetting his starring role as Quincy in Love & Basketball – the actor shares his concerns for the lack of black films in Hollywood.

“There are many different reasons – especially in America – why we aren’t seeing those kind of films anymore,” Epps admits.

“At the end of the day it comes down to business and making money. If the studios think they can’t make money, then they won’t invest in those pictures.

“However, there’s a big disconnect from what they think the audience wants to see and what the audiences actually wants to see.”

Epps also believes that the lack of opportunities is pushing actors – himself included - to pursue other avenues.

“It’s really fear-based in terms of the business in Hollywood. They don’t know. They just don’t know, and they’re scared to take chances,” he says.

“There’s a certain part that isn’t Hollywood’s fault - the whole world has changed in terms of economics and how business is done.”

The actor continues: “I think that’s why television is so great. And that’s why you see Halle Berry doing television now. That’s why myself and other actors, who may have been feature film actors, are going to television.

NEW DRAMA: Resurrection is exclusive to Watch on Mondays at 9pm

“That’s where the money is. That’s where the interesting stories are at. That’s where the interesting characters are at.”

There are not many people who can listen to Maxwell’s This Woman’s Work, without seeing Love & Basketball flashbacks of that iconic bedroom scene. How does the actor feel about being part of such a successful film that has stood the test of time?

“When I first read the script, I thought it was a really great script. I felt like it was something that would resonate – especially with females because it had that sort of fairytale picture.”

The actor says further: “Gina Prince-Bythewood who wrote the script and directed the movie did a hell of a job.

“It’s interesting actually. I see on social media, that there’s a whole new generation discovering that film and a lot of films from that time.

“It’s a testament of how good those films were because they still resonate emotionally with a whole new audience, and a whole new age bracket,” the New Yorker adds.

The 41-year-old, who has a daughter and son with his R&B singer wife Keisha Spivey and another daughter from a previous relationship, is often away from home, while working. He shares his secret to keeping a happy home.

“Balancing a career and family is a lot of sacrifice but you have to make the best of it.

“You just gotta make it work. There’s sacrifices on both ends, but I make it work.”

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