By: Melody Charles
Let’s face it; with over 20 years experience in acting and over two dozen theatre, film and TV roles (The Temptations, Above The Rim, Get Rich Or Die Tryin‘, Waiting to Exhale, Three Ways to Get a Husband, to name a few) to his credit, Manhattan-born sexy as hell actor Leon doesn’t have to appear in socially-conscious projects for minimum pay, but he did for his director Bill Dukes in “Cover” featuring Vivica A. Fox, Aunjanue Ellis, Lou Gossett Jr. and Paula Jai Parker.
The murder mystery COVER speaks to infidelity, undercover brothers and the explosive subject that’s close to his heart, the alarming spread of HIV. Barely able to contain his enthusiasm, Leon shares his view on all of the above in an exclusive chat with Unsigned….
Leon: Cover is a murder mystery. The reason why a lot of us got together to do this, and we didn’t get a lot of money to make this movie, is because it’s about an important issue, not just for people, but for people of color. 70% of new HIV cases are sisters. As far as I’m concerned, that’s an epidemic, and we’re not even talking about it. Are we (as a society) gonna continue to let this happen?
Charles: A lot’s been said in cinema, books, and in popular culture about relationships between African-American men and women. How does this movie touch on some of those issues?
Leon: From my point of view, there are men that are leading double lives. If you’re married to a man, had children with him and everything else, and he’s interested in men, you have a right to know and make a decision for yourself. They say that 70% of women that found out about their men creeping on them with other men still stay with the men. Let’s be realistic; we’re not kids anymore, it’s not just about who we’re sleeping with. Sometimes we’ve built foundations, businesses, lives and children with this person, that we truly do love. And to walk away from that is not that easy, especially when you’re 40 or 50 years old—you’re not trying to go to the club and meet anybody, you know? That’s what some of these women are faced with.
Charles: What inspired director Bill Dukes to make this particular type of film?
Leon: The reality of it is, this is something that needed to be addressed and it’s something that happened to Bill in his life personally , in his family, and he said he felt like, ‘either I need to kill somebody or I need to make a movie about this,’ and he did. It’s a strong movie, and I’m encouraging people to go see it, especially women.
Charles: What do you believe you personally got out of being part of this film?
Leon: I was on the set with Vivica Fox and we were both saying how we do movies for entertainment, but it’s nice to do it for a cause. The movie doesn’t take sides; the movie enlightens you and lets you see things from both perspectives and how it can tear apart a life or society. It’s not condemning anyone because both are due compassion.