Hello and welcome to the Scene 2 Seen podcast, and I am your host, Valerie Complex. Sorry for not posting last week, but the Sundance Film Festival was brutal and couldn’t get an episode out in time.
Today’s guest is Till star Jalyn Hall.
At 15 years old, Hall has already developed a following as fan favorite on the uber-popular CW series All American, where he has played Dillon James since 2018. Segueing into film, he turned in a groundbreaking performance portraying civil rights icon Emmett Till in MGM/Orion Pictures’ Till, which hit theaters in October. The film, an biographical drama written and directed by Chinonye Chukwu, also stars Danielle Deadwyler and Whoopi Goldberg, who also produced the film. It tells the real-life story of Mamie Till-Mobley (Deadwyler), an educator and activist who pursues justice after the 1955 lynching of her 14-year-old son Emmett.
In addition to Till, Hall recently wrapped production on the new Disney+ series The Crossover. Based on the bestselling Newbery Award-winning novel-in-verse by author, poet and educator Kwame Alexander, the drama tells the story of 14-year-old basketball phenom brothers, Josh (Hall) and JB (Amir O’Neil) Bell. The boys come of age on and off the court as their former pro-baller father adjusts to life after basketball and matriarch mother finally gets to pursue dreams of her own. This aspirational and emotional family drama is narrated entirely by Josh through his lyrical poetry. Alexander, Damani Johnson and Dee Johnson executive produce with George Tillman Jr, Bob Teitel and Jay Marcus via State Street Pictures (Barbershop, Soul Food), and LeBron James is also an executive producer.
Hall knew at age 4 he wanted to entertain and act. He didn’t know what it was called, he just knew he wanted to do it! His mom noticed that he was serious about it and decided to enroll him in actors’ workshops in Atlanta where they are from. Hall remembers being so excited to wake up and go to class, and couldn’t wait to learn new techniques and hone his skills. It was after a few years that his current agent discovered him at one of the workshop’s talent showcases, and the rest is history.
On this episode, Hall and I discusses learning about Emmett Till and how he crafted the character, working with Deadwyler and Goldberg, and how he stays grounded in success.
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