GL CUTIE: Interview With Elijah Kelley!
We are SO excited to bring to you exclusive interviews with the cast of the up-and-coming film Hairspray! The lovely Kelly White got the opportunity to talk one-on-one with some of our favorite stars from the movie. Read below to get the 411 on the super talented Elijah Kelley!
Kelly White: Hi Elijah! How excited were you when you found out that you got the part?
Elijah Kelley: I was extremely excited when I got the part. I was with a group of friends and we were chilling at one of my friend’s apartment at about 12 or 1 in the afternoon. And I had got some bad news, I think that morning and I talked to my mom right after that. She was like, “Everything’s gonna be fine. You know things are gonna come around.” And like literally and hour after that, I got the call that I booked the movie.
Kelly: So did you celebrate?
Elijah Kelley: I did. I celebrated a lot. I went bowling and we were very, very happy, all my friends.
Kelly: Now you are multitalented, I was reading your bio and you act, you sing, you write music.
Elijah Kelley: Yeah.
Kelly: Do you play any instruments?
Elijah Kelley: I’ve been playing the drums since I was three years old.
Kelly: What about dancing?
Elijah Kelley: I can dance – I can dance a little bit. I can move. I don’t – I’m not a – I don’t proclaim to be a dancer but I can move. But instruments, playing the drums, I probably play the drums better than I walk, better than I do anything.
Kelly: Are you in a band?
Elijah Kelley: No I’m not in a band but I had aspirations when I was younger not even to be like you know, a big actor at one point. I just wanted to play drums. I grew up in church so I wanted to play the drums behind the biggest gospel artist – gospel acts that were around at that time so it’s really funny how the tides change.
Kelly: Elijah, how old are you?
Elijah Kelley: I’m 20.
Kelly: Now how did you know when the acting bug bit? Because I understand you knew from an early age that you wanted to act.
Elijah Kelley: Yeah, I used to watch people like Raven-Symone and you know, the Olsens at a young age, and Will Smith, and people like that and just looking at them at a young age on TV. And just thinking to my self, I can do that, and questioning why I wasn’t there.
And my mom basically said, you know, there’s no reason why you’re not there. You know you can do anything that you wanna do. I think that bug bit me very, very early. And when I found that out, I just started doing plays in elementary school and stuff like that. And it just grew to – to what we have now, today.
Kelly: And about how old were you when you told your mom that?
Elijah Kelley: I was probably about like eight. Like seven or eight.
Kelly: And apparently they were very supportive because you moved – your whole family moved right?
Elijah Kelley: Yeah, my mom and dad, they – I was a senior in high school and it was graduation time and everybody was looking around like, “Hey buddy, what ya gonna do?” And I mean I had all the credentials and the tools to pretty much get into whatever college that I wanted to and I just didn’t feel that was the way to go at that time.
You know, I’m all for higher education but it wasn’t my calling at that particular point and I told my mom and dad – I was like, “I wanna pursue my acting career.” And literally two weeks later, I graduated May 21, June 14 we were on a plane to California with clothes and faith. And I’m here on the phone with you.
Kelly: Wow. Well how were your parents able to pick up and move like that? What – did they leave their jobs and everything?
Elijah Kelley: Yeah, they left their jobs. My mom was a paraprofessional in the schooling – in the school district and my dad worked for Wal-Mart. He worked for the distribution department of Wal-Mart so he had like a corporate job, my mom was in the school system and it was – it was a big deal. It was a big situation.
Kelly: That’s what I call supportive.
Elijah Kelley: Yeah, yeah. I’m a very, very fortunate blessed guy. So I’m basically trying to pay them back. I don’t think I could ever repay ‘em but I’m gonna do my best to.
Kelly: So how do you like LA?
Elijah Kelley: You know I like LA. I like LA for what it’s – for what it’s worth. It’s a great place, you know, to be. I’m a Georgia boy so it’s very, very different from where I come from.
Kelly: Yeah, any culture shock?
Elijah Kelley: Yeah, yeah. It’s a lot different. But any place you can come and just thrive and just have fun and you know, I don’t care if it’s the North Pole if I could have fun there.
Kelly: You get to go back and visit your friends?
Elijah Kelley: Actually I’m going back next month. I’m going back for, you know, I’ve got a couple cousins that are graduating from my alma mater, Troupe High School, back there in Georgia, so.
Kelly: What would you say is the biggest difference between LA and your hometown in Georgia?
Elijah Kelley: The biggest difference between LA and my hometown in Georgia, is when Georgia goes to sleep, LA wakes up. So like in LaGrange when people are going to sleep at 10,11 to get up in the morning, we’re just getting dressed to go out.
Kelly: What would be your dream role?
Elijah Kelley: My dream role? I think to play Sammy Davis Jr. and his life story.
Kelly: That’s a good one. Good answer!
Elijah Kelley: So between now and then, I’ll be doin what I’m doin. I’m working on a album right now. I’m a writer and producer. I have a production company. I’m partnered with some of the best young producers in the music industry Jukebox and DaRula, the Phoenix.
Kelly: When is your album coming out?
Elijah Kelley: Probably mid-2007 or late-2007.
Kelly: And what kind of music is it?
Elijah Kelley: We call it pop soul. It’s a mixture between, you know, just like a John Legend feel and Usher feel. If you could match them up then you can get me.
Kelly: Where do you get most of your inspiration for your music?
Elijah Kelley: Gospel music, acoustic music, acoustic soul. I like Amy Winehouse, I like John Mayer, I like the Chris Browns, I like your Justins, your Ushers, your Christina Aguileras, Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye especially, and a lot of other groups that your probably never heard of.
Kelly: Okay do you have a dream leading lady?
Elijah Kelley: Yeah. I have a friend and her name is Jurnee Smollett. She's a wonderful girl, she’s a wonderful actress. She just got the lead in movie called, Great Debaters with Denzel Washington and Forrest Whitaker and I think playing beside her would be a really good experience. And she’s gonna be one to watch for. She’s really gonna be the leading lady in Hollywood in the next four or five years, so I would say that.
Kelly: Where do you know her from?
Elijah Kelley: She did a film with one of my friends called Role Balance and she did films in her younger days like Ease by You and she was Eve on The Cosby Show.
Kelly: Okay one more question. When will you turn 21?
Elijah Kelley: August 1.
Kelly: All right! Thanks!
STAY TUNED: All of this week and part of next we will have interviews from 6 castmates from the upcoming smash hit Hairspray, releasing THIS Friday, July 20th! Don't forget to hit up your local theatre and get retro with this dance and song filled flick!