Macklin’s no wannabe

Macklin’s no wannabe

Actress shines in flick on US riots

Saturday, April 23, 2016

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IN 1991, race riots erupted in the Crown Heights area of New York between black and Orthodox Jewish communities. It was during that time that a young Jewish man, Matthew Manson, fell for an American girl of Jamaican descent.

That true-life story forms the plot of a new film, Wannabe, written and directed by Manson. It is showing at the Tribeca Film Festival now underway in New York.

The responsibility of playing the Caribbean love interest has fallen to Chaize Macklin, a 17-year-old American actress of Jamaican stock. She is the granddaughter of veteran Jamaican musician/producer Glen Brown and therefore, sees the storyline of Wannabe as perfect for her.

Brown produced some classic works including Wicked Can’t Run Away by Glen Richards and Mr Harry Skank by Prince Jazzbo.

"I auditioned for another film and then a friend called Matthew and told him I was was perfect for his lead actress. The experience was phenomenal. Being on set with the other members of the cast and crew, it became a real family vibe. I was so excited as it is not very often that an opportunity arises for a character of Caribbean extraction, so I was able to portray what is essentially my story," Macklin told the
Jamaica Observer from the festival on Friday night.

She has an appreciation of island life having attended Prattvile Primary School in Manchester for five months. She has visited Jamaica on numerous occasions.

Macklin enters Columbia College in Hollywood, California, this summer to study acting.

"My goal as an actor is to represent Jamaica and show other teenagers in Jamaica that you can do everything you set your mind to," she added.

The director is pleased with Macklin in her debut flick.

"She is tremendous. I can’t wait to see her in the feature-length film which we will be shooting in New York later this year. I was so captured by the spirit of her entire family that I cast them in the film too," Manson told the Sunday Observer.

Wannabe also stars Malcolm-Jamal Warner who played Theo in the hit 1980s sitcom The Cosby Show. It was first written as a feature-length film, but Manson pulled some of the scenes and composed a shorter version. The script was completed in September last year and shooting began in October. The final cut was ready by December.

Both actress and director are enjoying the Tribeca experience.

"I applied to Tribeca and within two days received a call informing me I had been selected to showcase. We have had five screenings so far with three to go, and I am touched by the reaction," said Manson.

Manson’s other works include Spandex: A Father’s Tale (2005), The Hairdos (2010) and Barmageddon (2012). He is looking to bring Wannabe to the Jamaica Film Festival later this year.


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