From “How To Get Away With Murder” To “Madea”—Why Rome Flynn Is One To Watch

Photo Credit: ABC/Richard Cartwright

Rome Flynn is a VIP. Seriously, although he’s a relative newbie on ABC’s “How To Get Away With Murder,” his character arc is pivotal—his character, Gabriel Maddox, was revealed to be the biological son of Sam Keating (Tom Verica), deceased husband to protagonist Annalise Keating (Viola Davis).  The smash series’ fifth season, which returned on January 17th, will focus heavily on the relationship between Gabriel and Annalise, so expect to see a lot more of this former soap star on the small screen. Coincidentally, he’ll also be appearing on the big screen on March 1 in Tyler Perrys “A Madea Family Funeral.” We chatted with Flynn about his silver screen debut, working with Viola Davis and how “Murder” inspired the next phase of his career.

Photo Credit: ABC/Eric McCandless

What can we expect from the coming season specifically? What will Gabriel’s struggle be?

I think that the next half of the season is, as far as Gabriel, trying to figure out what he can about his father. The dynamic between Annalise and Gabriel is a big factor for the season. She found out that he is the son of her ex-husband and we will venture into what that relationship is now and what is on the table.

Has Viola Davis given you any advice?

She hasn’t given me specific advice but being able to watch how she approaches a scene and how she finds the greatness within it has taught me so much over the last few months. It has been a great learning experience being able to work so closely with her.

Tell us about your part in the “Madea” franchise. How did you wow Tyler Perry at your audition?

I went in for an audition and they gave no information about the part or what the movie was called. All they told me what the Tyler Perry was involved. That was obviously something I would like to do as an actor. He is a genius and I wanted to check working with him off of my bucket list. I actually booked a role that I didn’t audition for. When I got the material, I didn’t know who the character even was.

Jesse is a young husband who got married at a young age because he wants to prove to his family and late father that he can be a good man. Everyone else in the family kind of has something that they call their own. He wanted to marry someone so that he could feel like he was progressing in the same way his brother and sisters were. He may learn that his wife may not be the one and we explore that through watching the interactions with the family and Madea.

Flynn and Jessica Marie Garcia in “How to Get Away With Murder”

Photo Credit: ABC/Richard Cartwright

How has your career in soaps prepared you for Hollywood?

Being in a soap taught me a lot of tangibles that I would not be able to learn if not for being there. “The Bold and the Beautiful” is very big internationally so I felt a lot of pressure to be accepted on a global scale. Since the show aired a new episode every day, I was able to watch myself constantly. I got to see my mistakes and pick apart my performance in these episodes. It also helped me be more grounded in other things I have been working on.

You turned down a college basketball scholarship to pursue acting. What prompted that decision? Have you ever regretted doing so?

What prompted that decision was that I wanted to create a future for myself that would outlast my physical capabilities. I could play basketball for X amount of years but acting has more longevity. Acting fulfilled me in a way that basketball and nothing else really has. I can still play basketball and am able to do both. The free education part was difficult because I was always told that I needed a degree to be successful. Now it is a different time and people are able to create their own realities and are able to make their own lives more original.

Even though you turned down said scholarship, you seem to be very into fitness? What are a few of your fitness/health hacks?

I have been training for about a year with my trainer, Amoila Cesar. We train about four or five times a week. I also play basketball four or five times a week for about two hours. I do intermediate fasting where I eat between 4:00pm and 10:00pm, three days out of the week.