Samuel Smith was born in Miami, Fl and now resides in New York, New York. He did his undergraduate studies at Alabama State University under the direction of Dr. Tommie Stewart, where he received his B.A. in Theatre Arts. Samuel furthered his education at Brandeis University, where he earned his M.F.A in Theatre Arts.
Shortly after graduating, he moved to New York City and started teaching Theatre Arts to school children. He loved it so much that he created a company to be able to teach on his own terms. Being in the New York school system, Samuel saw a need to be filled in the way of empowerment. So, he set aside time at the beginning of every class in order to encourage his the students. That empowerment turned into a workshop and a non-profit entitled BRIDGE BUILDER CAMP, where he does after school programs and summer enrichment geared toward empowering and educating.
As an actor Samuel has most recently been seen in the T.V. Shows: SHADES OF
BLUE, HOUSE OF CARDS, DAREDEVIL, THE INSPECTORS, THE BLACKLIST, THE
GOOD WIFE, LEFTOVERS, ELEMENTARY, PERSON OF INTEREST, the pilot UPTOWN GIRLS, and as Apokalypto on LAW AND ORDER: CI. He has done a number of theatrical plays including: THE ELABORATE ENTRANCE OF CHAD DEITY (at NY’S Second Stage), THE BROTHER SIZE, CAMP LOGAN, SASSY MAMA’S, DIARY OF BLACKMEN and AUGUST IN APRIL. He has also performed in national commercials such as McDonald’s, Nerf, Kool-Aid and Coca-Cola. He has also done modeling jobs in both print and runway. (Source: Website)
We had an opportunity to chat with Samuel. Check out the interview below.
Hello, Samuel! Thank you for granting us an interview. Let’s talk #Victoria. It’s currently in post-production. We know you can’t share much, so let’s talk about your character.
Thank you so much for having me. #Victoria was a great production to be apart of. In #Victoria I play Detective Smith. Smith and his partner was assigned to investigate some criminal activity in a neighborhood in the Bronx. This was only after we were asked to deliver the bad news to a young lady that her father was found dead.
You’re also starring in Shades of Blue. You play Wallace Tufo. Tell us about your character.
Yes, I’ve been on Shades of blue this season as Wallace Tufo (#WallaceTufo, #IdigbigTufo). Wallace is a young man who spent a lot of time in jail and was recently released. He made a lot of bad decisions in life and now he’s trying desperately to become the man that he knows that he can be. (Sometimes we make bad decisions for the right reasons.) That goal always comes with struggle. There’s a constant want and need to be better and to do what’s right while a strong tug of obligation seems to pull you in the opposite direction. Wallace loves his family though and right now all he has is his younger brother Marcus played by the talented Hampton Fluker.
We see you will be starring in a drama called Miranda. We know you can’t say much, so let’s talk about the audition process.
I’ve been working with the director and writer of Miranda for about 10 years on a few of his projects. Miranda is one of the projects that came from the need to get this story out of his head. It’s actually a true story about a relationship that he was in. After working with Kent Sutton on the movie for as long as we have, he said that he couldn’t see anyone else playing Jamie but me. Now, that didn’t stop him from making me do multiple reads of it and learn to play the drums. He still made me work for the role. He believes in the idea of “if it’s worth having is worth working for”.
Tell us why you decided to become an actor. What inspired you?
When I was young my mom made sure that she put my sister and myself in front of the congregation at our church to break us from being shy. My mom was shy as a young lady and she didn’t want that for her children. We would perform speeches at our church and went on to participate in church plays. Then I started seeing other young men and women on TV doing things that I know I could do. It inspired me to work harder at our church and then in school doing oratorical contests and trying to be in every show or play possible. There is just something about being in front of people who really understood and support what you are doing. I was inspired by the people around me that believed in me.
Great mom! Many people experience shyness. Thank you for sharing your story. Let’s talk about set life. Many people do not know all the work that is involved. Walk us through a typical day of filming.
The typical day on a set will go like this. You may arrive on the set before your call time, which is usually pretty early. You find out where your trailer is. You put your things down and go to hair and makeup. After leaving hair and makeup, you try to grab a quick breakfast from the Craft Services truck. You then go back to your trailer and wait for your costumes for the day to arrive. When they do arrive you put them on. After you get into costume you typically wait to be called to come down for rehearsals. After rehearsals, you start to shoot. We will usually shoot until lunch. If you don’t have a scene you’ll just stay in your trailer until they get to your part. Sometimes that can be a long time. We break for lunch when necessary. You make it back from lunch and then it’s time to do your final checkups. Go back to set and perform after your rehearsals. And if you’re not working on your scenes you go back to your trailer and make yourself busy until it’s time for you to make your way to set. Then you either act or keep yourself busy until the end of your day. Hopefully you don’t have to go into time-and-a-half. Time and a half is when you go over the allotted hours for the day of work and they have to pay you time and a half over what you normally get.
Your career is heading in the right direction. Have you considered screenwriting or directing a film project?
I have thought about screenwriting and directing film projects. As a matter of fact, I’ve written a few screenplays and would love to be in post-production for all of them right now! But, yes, I have thought of this and I think screenwriters are great because they actually build the world of the stories, then our actors come in and they build the acting performance around the world that was constructed by the writer. I encourage all actors to try their hand at writing, that way you can always have a project to be working on!
What has been your most memorable role to date?
My most memorable role to date has got to be Wallace Tufo. Wallace is the most memorable to me because this is the first time I get the chance to create a character and build this character on screen for more than four episodes.
Editor’s Note: You can talk about the character on social media using the hashtags: #WallaceTufo and #IdigbigTufo
If there was a role you could play, what would it be and why?
My dream role would be to be able to play the legendary boxer Sugar Ray Robinson. Not only was he the pound-for-pound greatest boxer to ever live, but he was such an interesting man. He did so well that he tried to put his hands on everything around him from owning a nightclub to entertainment. It was even said that he wasn’t that great as an entertainer… but who wanted to be the one to tell him that? He fought during the time where it was expected that you would have two and three fights in a single week. Sugar Ray Robinson would be my dream role.
Thus far, what has been the best experience working in the industry?
The best experience for me working in the industry has got to be Shades of Blue. It was the first time that lead actors on the show was kind enough to invite me into their personal space. Dayo and Hampton from Shades of Blue were two of the most upstanding guys on set that I had ever met. They’re young men, very talented, and still humble enough to want to work on scenes before they were shot and before the director sees it so that it could be perfect for not only them, but for me as well. And then they would ask me out to hang with them offset. That was something they totally didn’t have to do. That made my experience on set 10 times better, because the next time I got to set I didn’t feel like an outsider trying to fit in.
That’s good to hear. Kindness goes a long way. So, what do you like to do between productions?
Between productions I like to mentor and teach young actors how they can use acting as a tool or a special skill to help them get further in life. I am quick to tell a student that you may not become an actor, but everyone is going to have to present themselves at
some point or another and you want to be ready for that. I also enjoy working with my hands. I have a leather bag company name Samuel León Leather and I love to handstitch leather bags. And when I am not mentoring or stitching leather bags I’m trying to spend as much time as possible with my family and friends.
Do you have any upcoming projects that we haven’t mentioned?
Because I like to write there’s always a project that I’m working on in between other productions that I’m doing.
Complete this sentence, if I had an opportunity to do anything I want, I would ___________.
Run for President, so that I can help to change the current morale stance of the people who are in need in this country. Politics has always been a soft spot for me because when you don’t have great leadership the country can never be prosperous for everyone. I would start by building up the parents of underprivileged children in some of the worst neighborhoods in our country. If children are taught by parents who aren’t just surviving but thriving, those children will start to believe that anything is possible with consistent great work and a great mindset.
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