One-On-One With Rising Star Jovan Adepo On Past, Current And Future Projects

Jovan_Adepo_by_Sandro_Baebler_1417 copyPhoto Credit: Sandro Baebler

Jovan Adepo is making waves in Hollywood at a rapid pace. Starring in countless critically-acclaimed projects and even more on the horizon, Adepo is emerging as one of Hollywood’s most prominent rising stars. And as he moves forward, he does so with grace, humility and a deep appreciation for how far he’s come and where he’s heading to next. As we chat with the star, he’s currently in Vancouver where he’s shooting Stephen King’s The Stand mini-series, opposite A-listers including James Marsden, Amber Herd and Whoopi Goldberg for CBS All Acces.

Earlier this year, Adepo and fellow castmates Jharrel Jerome, Chris Chalk, Freddy Miyares and Justin Cunningham took the world by storm as acclaimed filmmaker Ava DuVernay’s “When They See Us,” hit Netflix, bringing the story of the exonerated Central Park 5 to screen. Battling topics of racial profiling, systematic errors and racism, Adepo and his castmates each gave riveting performances that brought tears to the eyes of viewers. The mini-series proved a massive success, garnering an astounding 23 million viewers, and also leading the way for 11 Emmy Nominations for the 2019 Awards, of which his castmate Jharrel Jerome took home Best Lead Actor in a Limited Series. The series also won for Best Casting in a Limited Series.

That wasn’t all the action at the Emmy’s—Adepo also was part of the winning cast of Live in Front of a Studio Audience: Norman Lear’s All in the Family and The Jefferson’s—which was conceptualized and hosted by Jimmy Kimmel. The rest of the heavy star-studded cast included Norman Lear, Anthony Anderson, Ike Barinholtz, Fran Bennett, Will Ferrell, Jamie Foxx, Kerry Washington and many more. The pair of television specials aired on ABC on May 22, 2019, recreating the original episodes from 1973 and 1975. The team took home the Emmy for Outstanding Variety Special (Live).

Aside from that, Adepo also debuted two new series of his hit shows, Season 2 of Amazon’s Jack Ryan starring John Krasinski, and the second season of Facebook series, Sorry for Your Loss, where he stars opposite Elizabeth Olsen, both to much acclaim.

On Sunday, November 24th, Adepo made his debut in a secret episode of the HBO original series, The Watchmen, where he made history playing a lead role in the episode as Luis Gosset Jr as a young man. Taking place in the 1930s, Jovan’s character serves as the first gay, African-American superhero, making for an iconic television appearance.

It’s clear that Adepo is a star on the rise and he’s not slowing down anytime soon. Here, Haute Living sits down with the actor to discuss life post-Emmys and his new star power following When They See UsJack Ryan, Sorry For Your Loss and more, plus life in L.A. and what the future holds for him.

HL: As we’re in the post-Emmy season, how does it feel to be coming off of it, looking back on playing your role of Antron McCray in this series and the positive feedback you received?

JA: It feels really great. It’s kind of the feeling we had when the show first released—that feeling of watching it catch on with audiences like wildfire and just hitting in a major way. That momentum doesn’t really die down. The award season was so exciting for us and everyone who was involved in it was so proud of the work we had done because we all worked so hard with Ava [DuVernay] to bring something to audiences that was so authentic and sincere.

HL: What’s been the most rewarding aspect of this all for you, thinking back on when it was released until now?

JA: For me, it was just having the approval of Antron. When I’m playing a character, I always want to give a performance that’s honest and real, but I also felt a huge obligation toward him to tell his story properly. It’s a huge responsibility when you’re playing a real person in a true story, and you have to handle it with care. From meeting him before I even filmed any scenes, I tried to really understand his experience and him as a person. Being able to hear that he was truly proud and honored to have me be involved in telling his story is one of the greatest feelings that I have difficulty putting into words.

HL: Moving past that, I know you are also in the midst of debuting the new season of Sorry for Your Loss. What can we expect from your character, Danny?

JA: This series is crazy, it’s been on its way. In the first season, we got a lot of perspective from Elizabeth’s character, Leigh, and how she was experiencing a time of grief and mourning from the loss of her husband, but we’re seeing it though her eyes as she interacts with other people in her family, and now we’re showing it from the perspective of the other characters. We get to see how people deal with grief and recovery from that, and how it’s so complicated. You can have a hundred good days, but you can also have one bad day that wipes the slate clean. There’s a lot of journeys that we took the audience through as we mix in love and friendship with sadness and emotions all over the spectrum. I like that we can use Facebook for this platform and have conversations about these experiences.

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HL: What sort of character development does Danny have this season?

JA: I think, as months or weeks go by, in any of our lives, a lot of changes happen. And it could be day to day, or it could be something that is a little more drawn out, but I think every day we can see, in comparison to the first season, Danny is trying to move on from losing a brother. He’s an imperfect person and so that journey is not always for progressing. You are going to take a couple of steps back, you’re going to fall down, you’re going to waver to the side a little bit, but that’s what makes life interesting. That’s what makes stories interesting is that you can’t always predict where things are going go and you want people to be able to kind of be involved in that journey.

HL: And tell us about this season of Jack RyanWhat’s been your favorite aspect of filming this show and this season?

JA: What I really enjoyed about the first season were the different perspectives that they showcased. I think, obviously, when you’re looking at that show, people come to the show for Jack Ryan, and John Krasinski is a fantastic Jack Ryan. You want to see him do his thing. What Amazon and the showrunners have really done in a fantastic way is to provide audiences with other characters that they care about and I think that’s just master storytelling. In the first season, people were loving Jack, of course, but then they were loving the people that he was in scenes with and they wanted to see what their stories were like and introducing the people that helped Jack Ryan be Jack Ryan. It was a lot of fun to get to be in that grand puzzle of things and I’m excited to share Marcus with people and see the reception he gets.

HL: How did you originally land the role? 

JA: I was finishing the first season of Sorry For Your Loss and I had gotten a call from Carlton Cuse and Graham Roland who ran the show this season and last season, and they wanted me to come in and have a conversation about this character. And this was the character that they really felt passionate about. I think he has a story that many people can relate to. A lot of people want to root for the underdog. And I think in Marcus’ case, he’s someone who’s definitely experienced. He’s an experienced veteran of the military, but he is an underdog in his personal life. He has a lot of things that burden him, that kind of get in the way of him living his life fully and confidently. And so in order for him to be able to live life and do it in a positive way, he has to come to terms with a lot of things from his past and come to terms with a lot of things that have gone down within his family. I was immediately attracted to the character and we eventually came to an agreement that I should come on board to play him. So it was really cool, really a blessing.

HL: You’ve clearly had a whirlwind of a year and it seems you’re not slowing down anytime soon, but when you do have the moment, what do you try to do to unwind and relax from everything you have going on?

JA: I catch up with family and friends whenever I get a chance to go home. Like you said, I’ve been really busy, so I haven’t been home in a while. Most of my family is back home on the east coast. Whenever I’m in L.A. and I have some downtime, I love hanging out with friends and I’m a fan of film, so I love going to the movies. And I’m a big walker. You bet that if I’m not out and about, I’m walking around the neighborhood or walking around L.A. And I love riding my motorcycle. It’s one of my favorite things to do. I started riding motorcycles almost nine years ago. So I’ve really gotten into the habit, whenever I get some downtime, I will get a bike from Harley-Davidson. They usually let me try out some of the models and I’ll be out there on the road and really enjoy the LA weather.

HL: Is there anything else you can reveal about what we can expect from you coming in 2019/2020?

JA: I have an independent film that is in postproduction right now, The Violent Heart, that I believe should be released next year and then I have something else that I did. I worked with a friend, a dear friend of mine, that asked me to come on and do something together this year. I can’t say what it is, but it will come out later next month, I believe. There’s something to look out for still in 2019, but I can’t tell you just yet.