Ready for the world


Ready for the world

Shevardo Oliver racks up the acting credits

By Brian Bonitto
Assocate Editor —
Auto & Entertainment

Sunday, January 12, 2020

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SHEVRADO Oliver is one of the new vanguard of male actors aiming to be the next breakout star.

He has landed a role as lead in Yardie, an eight episode series produced by Florida-based production company 3Pyramids Film and Entertainment. An audio book is also in the works.

“I have already read David G Heron's Yardie memoir a few times and have now moved on to the screenplays for the episodes that have been sent to me. I speak regularly with him in aid to get more information on his thought processes [how] back then, how he lived and what he dealt with the transition to the US. I have to find all his idiosyncrasies and bring them to life as best as possible where applicable to arrive at his truth,” the 31-year-old told the Jamaica Observer.

Oliver will tackle the role of Jamaican-born parole officer David G Heron in the television series based on Yardie. It chronicles his travels to the United States of America in the early 70s as an immigrant and how he acclimatises to a different culture.

“It's a heart-warming story. It is humbling to be given such an opportunity to bring David's story to life. Fleshing out a biopic is always difficult, especially when it is a period piece dating back almost 50 years ago in some scenes. I have to employ various acting techniques to create not only a three dimensional character but to present the authenticity that should exist along the character's arc. It will resonate with Jamaicans across the Diaspora,” he said.

According to Oliver, he was invited to audition for the role by Maya Hall, founder of 3Pyramids Film and Entertainment. He said she discovered his profile posted on Imdb. After acing the video auditions, he was also given the nod by Heron.

Shooting begins in the summer and several scenes will be shot in Jamaica. After completion, the series will be shopped to streaming platforms and syndicated networks.

The fledgling actor said he is not formally trained, but reads and researches constantly.

“I have read Stella Alder and other acting techniques, done self-tape workshops, and constantly in research mode,” he said.

He believes Yardie presents a big opportunity for the island and, by extension, its film industry.

“They are going to hire local cast and crew while filming in Jamaica. Jamaica will get exposure and people will be making an income from it. This is great as Jamaica is an excellent location,” he said. “The film industry is at the cusp of something extremely great. We have a pool of talent to catapult us forward.”

For the role, Oliver said he has to immerse himself into Heron's character.

“With every role comes a degree of growth. This would help me grow as an actor. The responsibility I have is to tell his story to the best of my ability,” he told the Observer.

Born in St Ann, the former Ferncourt High School student always harboured dreams of becoming an actor. He has appeared in several theatre productions including David Tulloch's Actor Boy Award-winning play Jamaica Sweet, Douglas Prout's Marriage Business, and Marlon Brown's Just Like Girls.

Actor Boy Awards recognises excellence in Jamaican theatre.

Oliver has also landed lead roles in Cherish Moment by Creative Production & Training Centre, Shadow in the Dark (directed by Dario Shields), Strange Horizons Surviving Esperance (Henry Slater of First Fiction Films), and Behind Closed Door (produced by Yaadbooiz Films/Exec Productions/Czenzi Studios).

Behind Closed Door is expected to be released this year.

“The need for me to be acting is just as important as the need to breathe. This is one thing I can say I'll be doing for the rest of my life,” he added.

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