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Haitian actor, Tony Delerme talks about African movies, his career and more

Miami-based actor, Tony Delerme is considered more than just a sex symbol in his home country of Haiti; he is a man of many talents, diverse knowledge and with a bright future in film not only as an actor but also as director.  Born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Tony was faced with several challenges when he […]

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Miami-based actor, Tony Delerme is considered more than just a sex symbol in his home country of Haiti; he is a man of many talents, diverse knowledge and with a bright future in film not only as an actor but also as director.  Born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Tony was faced with several challenges when he moved to US in pursuit of his dreams but never relented on his determination to succeed.

Although Tony has succeeded in various disciplines including sports and modeling, he gravitates towards his first love – acting – rather naturally. Whether as a heartbreaking playboy or vengeful assassin, he always executes his role with near perfection.  I caught up with the actor to find out more about his second movie as a director, ‘Miami Hound Dog’; his journey into acting; the way forward for Haitian movie; his aspirations and more.
Ameyaw Debrah: How was growing up for you?

Growing up for me was a little difficult because I was being raised by a single parent who had migrated to a new land. My mom worked hard to raise us right. Being from Haiti wasn’t the easiest because people in the States didn’t really like Haitians at the time so I got into a lot of fights.
Ameyaw Debrah: So when did you start acting?
I started acting as a child in Haiti. Doing plays and I used to film soap operas that me and my sisters would come up with. Then in high school I quit football to join theatre and TV production. The coaches were not too happy about that.

Ameyaw Debrah: And what inspired you to get into acting?
I think it’s something that was always in me. I always felt lost before I realized my passion for acting and film making. After high school I went to college for Electrical Engineering which I did well with, but hated very much. Then one day, just a day after watching ‘Pulp Fiction’ I fell in love with film and decided to change my major to film production.

Ameyaw Debrah: What have been some of your roles so far?

I played a play boy in ‘Lamoure et Lamitie’ (Love and friendship). In ‘Where’s The Justice’ I was an emotionally disturbed man who was robbed at gunpoint in his own home and soon realizes the lack of police justice in a black neighbourhood. He is now cornered and has to take things into his own hands. I also played an ex military officer in search of revenge for his son who was murdered by the Haitian mafia in ‘The Birth of an Assassin’.

Ameyaw Debrah: When did you get you breakthrough role?

My breakthrough role had to be in ‘Lamoure et Lamitie’. It appealed to a lot of women because I played a smooth character and a lot of guys liked it because the story was about young Haitians living in America.

Ameyaw Debrah: Are you currently working on any project?

I am right now working on ‘Miami Hound Dogs’. This is my second project as a writer, producer, and director. It’s a dating comedy based on three guys and there experiences with the opposite sex. Things never seem to go their way. I play Cairo, a mid 20’s guy in search for his place in life, while encountering different woman that don’t really help his situation. He is kind of an airhead and always seems to end up in bad situations.

Ameyaw Debrah: What has been your favourite role so far?

I would say Cairo on Miami Hound Dogs because he is really off the wall and he says the craziest things. He is somewhat a space cadet. I like cocky characters.

Ameyaw Debrah: What has been the most challenging role so far?

My most challenging role would have to be the character I played in ‘Where’s The Justice’. It was hard to play someone that was cornered, afraid and somewhat antisocial because all that is the opposite of me.

Ameyaw Debrah: What have been the challenges of your journey so far?
The challenges of my journey has just been staying busy and getting to the next level. I would like to do film all across the globe and it takes time to build that name so I can be able to do so. Another big challenge would have to be that a lot of times other filmmakers make themselves believe that I’m just a good looking dude and I don’ have substance. I prove them wrong every time.

Ameyaw Debrah: What have been some of the highlights for you so far?
The Highlights of my career is whenever a fan comes up to me and tells me how much they enjoyed my performance and how they believed in my character. At the end of the day that is really important to me. I would also have to say that doing this interview is one of my highlights as well because this means that I have crossed to another market. I like that.

Ameyaw Debrah: How big is the movie industry in Haiti?

Haitian films sell through out the world. Now if you ask me if we are reaping those rewards I would tell you no. The bootleggers are killing us.

Ameyaw Debrah: As a film maker, how can the situation improve?

I think it could improve and grow by creating the art for the whole world and not just Haitians. Art is meant for everyone to appreciate.

Ameyaw Debrah: Do you have any role models in the industry?

To be honest with you I admire Will Smith, Brad Pitt, Denzel Washington and Johnny Depp.  When it comes to directors I have go crazy for Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez films. They made me want to be in film.

Ameyaw Debrah: What is your dream movie role?

Every chance I get to act is like a dream to me. It’s an opportunity that not too many people get.

Ameyaw Debrah: Is there any role that you wouldn’t ever play on the screen?

I would play any role that I feel would help me grow as an artist. I would not play in a film which has actors placed in it because of their star-power and not their talent. It is important to have a film with serious actors that fit the role. And no films with titles like ‘the hair salon’, ‘barbershop’, ‘barbeque’ or any of those other ghetto names for me.

Ameyaw Debrah: How did the earthquake in Haiti impact on you and the movie industry there?
I think the earthquake impacted my value on life, because I realized how quickly you can loose everything. It motivated me to work hard and attempt to be more successful so I can give back to my people.

Ameyaw Debrah: Do you see yourself succeeding in Hollywood?

I think hard work is the way to make it to Hollywood. I’m preparing ‘Miami Hound Dogs’ specifically for that. I think my way is through the major film festival. Cannes, Sundance, Tribecca, Toronto. That way I can show Hollywood what I have to offer.

Ameyaw Debrah: You look fit, have you ever been a model?
I have done some runway modeling. I’m too muscular for ads.

Ameyaw Debrah: What are your tips for staying fit?
I don’t think people should follow my workout routine because it is insane with a lot of heavy weight. I go to the gym everyday and I go hard. I don’t eat junk food and never eat after 8 pm. The best advice I could give is when you hit the gym, hit it hard. It is not socializing hour it is time to take care of yourself.

Ameyaw Debrah: Do you watch African movies?

I love African movies. It is a way for me to see the motherland and experience some of their issues. I love Desmond Elliot’s work in ‘Reloaded’. He is a top-notched dude. I like the fact that he creates his own content and it is different from anyone else’s work. We have a lot in common.

Ameyaw Debrah: Would you like to star in a Nollywood film?

I love Nollywood. I like the fact that Africa is creating its own films. It’s a beautiful thing. I would love to do a Nollywood film. It would be a great experience and I get to show the people what I have to offer.

Ameyaw Debrah: What would you like to achieve in your career say in the next 5 years?

My dream is to be a household name in the next 5 years.

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