It’s an exciting time for up-and-coming actor, Cedric Dumornay. We caught up with him to talk about the highs and lows of working in the film industry, and his role on a new TV series based in London.
For those who don’t know you already, tell us a little about yourself.
I was born in Brooklyn, New York, we moved to Haiti shortly after where I was raised 16 for years – which is why I’m fluent in speaking French and Creole. My parents then moved our family to Florida when things started to get a little dangerous in Haiti, with crime, such as kidnapping becoming rife. I lived in Florida until I was around 24, then I moved to Los Angeles to kick start my career.
When did you discover your love for acting?
I was about 12 years old when I started watching Mr. Bean. I found his character hilarious, I could watch that programme over and over and it will never get old.
I found it absolutely fascinating how this character, who barely speaks a single word, could be so funny and entertaining to watch, through his facial expressions and body movements. Mr. Bean’s physicality in the show was very similar to how I was back then as a 12 year old; very silly, outgoing and making faces all the times. I used to think I was weird because everyone else acted “normal” but when I started watching Mr Bean I learnt a lot about being real with myself. The programme not only inspired me to become an actor, but also inspired me to be free with my acting style.
Tell us about your latest role.
I won’t give away too much but, in a nutshell, it’s a family sitcom and I play one of the brothers. The show will focus on the importance of family values during the good and most challenging moments that all families experience. I think a lot of families will be able to relate to the story-lines, and the messages that come out of it. That the best part, if just one person can take away something good and positive from watching the show, then it’s all worth it.
Tell us about some of the projects you’ve enjoyed working on the most?
One of my favourite projects would have to be a commercial I did with Robert Downey Jr for the phone company HTC, that guy is super talented, amazing to be around and has the coolest trainers! I guest-starred on Comedy Central‘s Tosh.O.
What’s a typical day on set like?
A typical day on set varies, it can start from 4am or 12pm, some days can be a full 12 hours and others can be 2 hours or less. There’s saying in the film industry which is “hurry up and wait”, which basically means hurry to wardrobe for clothing, then to hair and make-up, then to sound to get mic’d-up, then to props, then sit in trailer and wait for hours until you’re called to set. It can be grueling, but it’s so worth it.
What would your ideal role be and who would you be acting alongside?
My ideal role would be the underdog, the guy who doesn’t get things right, doesn’t get the girl, doesn’t get the cool job but yet, despite all the obstacles, prevails and comes up from under the rubble. I’d be acting alongside someone like Forest Whitaker or Jeffrey Wright.
Who inspires you?
I can honestly say my inspiration comes from God and my family. In the industry it would be two of my favourite actors, Forest Whitaker and Sidney Poitier.
Nowadays, there’s so much controversy about needing to ‘look good’ in the industry. How big of a role does fashion, fitness and a healthy eating regime play in your daily life?
Oh that’s a big one. Actors are in constant competition with models who want to be actors, more so now in this social media age. I have sat in meetings where producers will literally go to social media to look for people who have “the look” and the followers – versus actors with serious training. There is a lot of pressure to look physically fit and beautiful. Eating healthy and fitness for me is a part of my daily life but that’s just personal lifestyle and health goals. In terms of fashion, it’s not huge priority, I do like to bring out the nice pieces for industry events though. On a day-to-day basis I’ll usually be comfortable in sweats and a denim jacket.
Let’s be real, whilst you’re working to land the ‘big one’ what you do you to stay motivated and focused?
Staying motivated is key, the lack of which can sometimes bring actors down while waiting for the next audition or role.
I feel really blessed in the fact that I’ve got a great mentor, Irene Dreayer. I first met her after having won a Disney Channel competition that she ran when I was 19. Since then she has become a key influence in my life and a constant wealth of knowledge and learning. Often, if I’m feeling low or having a creative block, I’ll speak with Irene and she’ll give me the motivational boost I need.
I also stay motivated by writing mini projects and by focusing on lifestyle modelling. I find that traveling is also a great way to diversify myself as an actor and get inspiration for new projects!!
Next is the TV series which films in London, and I’d also love to direct a project next year. In the future, I hope to use film as a platform to reach out to young people around the world, particularly those from underdeveloped countries, like Haiti. I want to inspire young people to dream big and reach for their goals, no matter how difficult it may seem or how big the obstacles around them may be. Watch this space.