Garfield Wilson is no stranger to the silver screen. In fact, he’s been a fixture in Hollywood for quite some time now. Having bagged several roles in shows such as The Bletchley Circle: San Francisco, TNT’s Snowpiercer, and The Astronauts, he has proved to be diverse in his roles and has always been ready to take on the challenges of portraying a new character with fevered gusto.
An example of this is in Lorne Michaels’s Schimigadoon, an upcoming musical comedy series that revolves around a couple that stumbles upon a magical town living in a 1940s musical; wherein Wilson stars as Henry, opposite comedic greats such as Keegan-Michael Key, Cecily Strong, Fred Armisen, and Kristin Chenoweth.
We at British Thoughts Magazine are lucky enough to chat with Garfield Wilson on acting, life, and his thoughts on diversity for the New Hollywood.
Do you remember the first acting gig you got? How was it?
My first acting gig was in a TV movie called “The Inspectors 2: A Shred of Evidence” starring Louis Gossette Jr., Jonathan Silverman, and Michael Madson back in 2000 playing a “Letter Carrier.” I remember being very nervous and stoked to meet Louis Gossette Jr (I was a huge fan of his character in “An Officer and a Gentleman”).
What was the most memorable role you’ve undertaken in your career? Could you tell us what it was like?
There are three:
“Come To Daddy” opposite Elijah Wood. So gratifying to have the opportunity to create a character from scratch and to have such a wonderful scene opposite Elijah Wood in such an incredible film. Huge thanks to our director Ant Timpson and writer Toby Harvard!
“Love You To Death” opposite Marcia Gay Harden and Emily Skeggs. It was my first supporting lead role. I loved that character, the story, our amazing director Alex Kalymnios and to work opposite Academy Award winner, Marcia Gay Harden was truly a gift!
The feature film I’ve been working on since April 1st and will wrap at the end of July. Absolutely the biggest project I’ve ever been a part of, and I can’t wait to share. But, unfortunately, I can’t… Yet!
What’s your process like when it comes to character preparation?
My first step is to discover what it is about the character that is similar to me and what is opposite. Then I explore all the available information in the breakdown; relationships, location, work, time period, and then I start piecing it all together.
You’ve starred in some amazing shows such as Bletchley Circle, Snowpiercer, Virgin River, and now The Astronauts. As an experienced actor, what would you say are the core lessons you’ve learned when working in the TV and Film Industry?
All of those projects were incredible experiences and very different at the same time. So I think the biggest lesson personally and professionally is to do as much work as possible before my first day on set but leave plenty of room for play, creativity, and collaboration between my fellow actors and the director.
Speaking of which, if you were given a chance to play an idol of yours, who would it be and why?
I would love to play James Baldwin. He is someone who inspires me in ways I can’t properly convey. He was brilliant, poetic, brave beyond measure, and an icon who was ahead of his time in so many ways,
In the world we live in now, do you think that Hollywood is becoming more diverse and equal? How do you think that initiatives such as the BLM movement impacted how the industry works?
I believe that Hollywood is becoming more diverse. I’m not quite sure about the equal part, truth be told. We still have a long way to go in terms of how POC are seen, represented, and paid in Hollywood. That being said, I think that the year 2020 and the BLM movement shined a much-needed spotlight on the need to look at diversity and equality not only in Hollywood but in all facets of our society.
Where do you think the future of the entertainment industry will head to?
There are voices and allies in places of influence that will one day breed a future rich with diversity in every facet of the entertainment industry. Again, I pray that I am alive to bear witness.
Lastly, How do you keep your focus and creativity flowing? Despite the overall mood of 2021?
I am, to a fault, very optimistic by nature, and I gather tremendous inspiration from my children and fiancé.