With a slew of strong and talented actors taking their place in the film industry today, there are oftentimes very specific ones who captivate our hearts by the phenomenal work they do. These men and women actors stand out among their peers and display sheer talent and dedication both on and off camera. Actor Johnny Ray Gill just
happens to be one of these emerging talents! From his milestone role in the 2013-14 Sundance Channel Series “Rectify” playing inmate ‘Kerwin Whitman’ to his supporting roles on HBO’s “True Blood”, “Bones”, NBC’s “Harry’s Law” and more, Johnny Ray keeps blazing the screen by bringing his characters to life in a very real and relevant way.
Kontrol Magazine recently had the privilege of interviewing Johnny Ray Gill to find out more about his upcoming projects, life and personal style. One of the latest projects that he shares with us is the upcoming WGN Series “Underground”. The show follows a group of slaves in the year 1857 who plan to escape from a Georgia Plantation by traveling 600 miles alongside a secret abolitionist couple who run a station on the Underground Railroad. Johnny Ray plays the role of “Sam” – a talented carpenter who works on the plantation with dreams of being free. When asking him what viewers can expect and in what way he feels people will be able to relate to the content, he says, “This show adds to the depth and breath of the black experience. It adds to the layers of the diaspora for black people all around the world. All too many times, I think we see the black experience for a historical experience from a very limited perspective.” Johnny Ray goes on to share how shows like this only help to further the freedom fighting message and link us all to the successes pre-laid by our ancestors.
In speaking with him further about these experiences he has had as an actor, it became very clear that Johnny Ray is intrinsically connected to the subject matter and context of the films/shows he is a part of. Not only is he connected, but passionate about it! He explains, “For me as an an actor and an artist, every character that I play is about the examination of the human experience. And if that’s not what your pursuit is, then you’re doing it for the wrong reasons.” In fact, in all of the roles he plays, he deliberately takes time out to get into character by studying their environment and learning the subculture behind the production in order to maximize his character’s role.
Along with the show “Underground” which is scheduled to air on March 9, 2016, Johnny Ray has also secured a role in the comic thriller scheduled to air this summer on CBS called “Braindead”. Playing the role of “Gustav”, this show is still in pre-production and expected to be a hit as it is written by “The Good Wife” creators Robert and Michelle King. And the experiences for this amazing actor go on and on. Along with his acting, Johnny Ray has also written, produced and directed several independent films and shares that he currently has some in the works and plans to do more in the near future. Many of his independent productions have been featured in film festivals and several have won prestigious awards.
Outside of his acting/ production ventures, Johnny Ray shares that he is currently learning Spanish to become affluent in the language, that he also loves going to the movies, cooking, hanging with his girl or shopping. When asking him what a normal day looks like for him, he states: “A normal day for me is just trying to stay prepared. A lot of these opportunities that come up are last minute; sometimes overnight. The key is being ready for them when they come!” In reference to his personal style which really stood out to me when first coming across his Instagram page, Johnny Ray says that his style is a myriad of a lot of different things depending on what he has going on. He describes his style as sort of an “artsy eccentric” – that some days he can look classic and put together, and on others, he goes for more of an urban – street style look. An avid online shopper, Johnny Ray also is fond of Zara, Diesel and Ellwood Clothing.
For more on Johnny Ray Gill, check him out via Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @johnnyraygill.