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Omar Gooding: On His Big Break to “Family Time”

You would think growing up as a child star that extraordinary opportunities will later be bestowed upon you as you mature and matriculate in your craft. Putting in exceptional work for x amount of years, proving your abilities based on performance and integrity to later discover that your gifts are invaluable. From Wild & Crazy Kids to Smart Guy and Hanging with Mr. Cooper, actor Omar Gooding has always been our best friend, the cool kid and the funny guy. But for this comedic actor, he knew that it would take one circumstance to change the way the world viewed him and solidify his versatility. Check out our interview with Omar as we discuss being a black male actor and how he has shaped his career over time.

As an actor, are there any signature styles or tips that you’ve leaned towards when performing or portraying a particular character?

I am definitely the type of actor that knows his strengths. I know the type of roles that I can really bring to life and put my own spin on in a creative way. So I always keep that in mind when I am choosing which roles to accept or take on.

What has been a pivotal milestone in your career that has helped shape who you are today?

I would have to say when I received a call from John Singleton to read for the role of Sweet Pea in the feature film “Baby Boy”. Up to that point, I was content with being a sitcom actor. Mainly because I wasn’t taken seriously or considered seriously for dramatic roles in feature films. John saw something that I knew I had in me but I felt I needed to prove to everyone else. So I poured myself into that role both mentally and physically. The end result not only changed the way I was perceived as an actor. But proved to myself that I indeed possessed the versatility to pull off comedy and drama.

Do you think African American male actors are subjected/typecast to certain roles?

When I began in the business, most definitely. But recently we are seeing the doors opening up. Hollywood now knows that an African American male or female LEAD can bring in big numbers in the box office as well as carry a film and be a huge success.

What is your ideal role to play both on film and television?

In film, it would have to be a timeless instant classic. Something in the world of “Ray” (Jamie Foxx) because of my musical background as well as my acting abilities. But also the telling of a story of an important African American either athlete or musician or political figure (Joe Louis, “Buddy” Bolden, MLK) and in TV. I would love to do something in the action world mixed with a sci-fi element. I read a lot of comics growing up and still do to this day. So like an X-men theme or like an “Empire” or “Power”.

Has your family upbringing helped in any way to breath life into the character Anthony Stallworth on Bounce’s Family Time?

Certainly. His comedic side from my Father who was a very lovable warm and loving man that knew how to put his foot down when needed and be a true Patriarch. But was always the most fun and funniest person in the room.

If you were to win the Mega Millions what would be the first thing you buy yourself?

A helicopter. I live in LA and this traffic will drive you nuts.

What are you hoping your audience takes away from your series Family Time?

I just hope that they tune in to laugh. A lot. We put our all into every scene to make sure that it is as fun, funny and entertaining as possible. We don’t take episodes off to talk about current events or to preach about the importance of family values and blah blah blah. We just make you LAUGH At us and with us. Sometimes people just want a break from reality or at least from their current situation. There’s nothing like a good LAUGH. That’s all I want for our audience.

Speaking of Family Time, what is something the Gooding men do together during the holiday season? 

We are all hard workers so we don’t get to spend enough time with each other during the year. So we just enjoy each others company, EAT, and laugh as we catch up on what we may have missed in each other’s lives.

Make sure to follow Omar Gooding on Instagram and check out Family Time on Bounce TV, Monday’s at 9/8c.


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