Ahead of tomorrow evening's premier of the movie Home Again, which stars Jamaican-born actor Lyriq Bent, SO plays catch up.
Lyriq Bent is eager to sink his teeth into a Julie mango. Little wonder, really, as it's been some eight years since his last visit to the land of his birth. "I was here eight years ago for a wedding. My busy schedule has kept me away," he explains. Understandable, when one reflects on his impressive résumé. Bent, whose birth certificate actually reads Martin Lyriq Bent, was born in Kingston and raised in Clarendon. He migrated at the age of six to Canada, where he completed high school and, later, college. The nostalgia is immediately evident as he reflects on those early days in Clarendon and what's obviously a lasting memory. "Playing in the yard after a torrential downpour in the clay dirt and making whatever out of the mud... Jamaica remains special to me. I've travelled to many islands but there truly is no other place as unique as our country."
The Rock's unique flavour has no doubt helped Bent, who left college after completing studies in computer graphics and then worked as a technician. Later, he found employment as a door-to-door-salesman where he was forced to step out of his comfort zone as he dealt with complete strangers.
"I was fortunate. People were very kind and nobody slammed the door in my face," he shares. Indeed, a co-worker who had aspirations of his own to become an actor encouraged Bent to take up acting. A bet was wagered and the rest, as they say...
"My first acting role was an African Bush Guard in Relic Hunter," he recalls. Bent is quick to point out that the role was far from stereotypical. "At the audition I spoke in the broadest Jamaica patois imaginable and got the role! I had actually turned down three roles as they were stereotypical and I didn't want to fall into that mode and become 'cheap labour'...
"I'm in it to win it and had a big-picture plan. That plan is to be constantly working in an industry that I can grow characters from project to project. I always push myself to the limit with characters to make them as complex as possible,"
His plan seems to be working thus far: Lieutenant David Rigg in Lionsgate's horror movie franchise Saw - which has raked in over a billion dollars in ticket sales overall- in Saw II, III and IV, guest appearances in TV shows like CSI Miami alongside David Caruso, UPN's Kevin Hill with Taye Diggs and USA's Kojak opposite Ving Rhames. Bent currently stars as police officer Frank Best in the hit E1/ABC TV series Rookie Blue, on which he has appeared since 2010.
Add to that, starring opposite heavyweights Mark Wahlberg and André 3000 in John Singleton's mega-successful film, Four Brothers. His stocks are certainly up there and his fans can look forward to his latest project A Day Late and a Dollar Short, starring Academy-Award winner Whoopi Goldberg, to be aired on Lifetime next year. "It's a film adaptation of the best-selling novel by Terry McMillan," he shares.
Until then his local fans - of which there are many - can look forward to seeing Lyriq Bent in the Sudz Sutherland-directed film Home Again alongside Tatyana Ali, CCH Pounder, Fefe Dobson and Stephan James. "I want the film to be well received... I'm honoured and humbled to be part of this amazing story". The buzz in Kingston since Bent's arrival last Wednesday evening is palpable and based on the many blushes from the ladies at Thursday night's dinner we reckon the movie might be in rotation for many, many weeks.
— As told to NMW
With fashion taking centre stage this month and our own Jamaica Observer Takes Style Out, we naturally had to speak about style and celeb crush with Lyriq Bent.
Lyriq Bent describes his style as conservative chic.
His favourite colognes are from the Mont Blanc collection.
He likes a good suit and a few of his favourite designers are: Ozwald Boateng, Armani and Tom Ford.
He relishes the idea of playing alongside Denzel Washington.
He'd love to star alongside Kerry Washington in a steamy, passionate love scene.
He doesn't eat pork and his favourite non-alcoholic drink is coconut water.
Oxtail is his favourite dish and he thoroughly enjoyed Jacqui Tyson's oxtail and beans.
He's mum on his relationship status... great news based on the blushes around the room