The creative minds of Lena Waithe, Halle Berry and Ben Cory Jones have joined forces to bring back the classic 1992 film, Boomerang, which starred Eddie Murphy, Halle Berry and Robin Givens, as a series. The film extends the classic and makes the film relevant to a new generation without spoiling a good thing by making it over. We had a chance to talk to one of the shows actors, Leland B. Martin who plays the role of Ari; a handsome, charming man, who is a struggling web-series director who exudes a confident, strong masculine energy.
Launching his career in acting, a short time ago, Leland Martin is already on the rise and with the help of ‘Boomerang‘ the series, he will quickly be a name to be on the look-out for.
Check out our full interview with Leland Martin below:
Parlé Mag: Do you know how this whole project to bring ‘Boomerang‘ to television came about?
Leland B. Martin: From what I understand, Paramount wanted to pull Boomerang out of the vault and asked Lena Waithe to jump on board. A few strings were pulled and then came Halle Berry on board, too. They didn’t want to remake the actual film, instead, Lena wanted to extend the story.
Parlé Mag: So we’re picking up where it left off, basically?
Leland B. Martin: Yes! We picked the show up exactly where the movie left off. It follows children of the iconic characters Marcus and Angela (played by Eddie Murphy and Halle Berry) and their friends, twenty six years later.
Parlé Mag: You started your career in finance, right?
Leland B. Martin: Yes!
Parlé Mag: So, how did we get here?
Leland B. Martin: Long story short, I knew that 9 to 5 life was not for me. We only have one life to live, as far as I know anyway! I wanted to make the most of it. With that 9 to 5 life, I saw my family members doing it and initially, I didn’t see a way out. I was working at a huge financial institution and one day I went to have lunch. Well, across from the place I was having lunch there was a talent agency that peaked my interest. The lady inside represented actors, models, what have you and she said she couldn’t do anything for me at that point. But, she offered to give me acting lessons if I came back. I went back, had a lesson and fell in love with acting. At that point, I never looked back and that was seven years ago.
Parlé Mag: It’s clearly working out for you! I love success stories. Awesome.
Switching gears a bit, Ari, your character in the series, tell us more about him.
Leland B. Martin: Ari is multifaceted. He says what’s on his mind, he’s ambitious, he’s a goes for it. But also, he’s challenged with people who don’t believe in him or take him seriously because he is so funny, with a huge sense of humor. The show itself, is a romantic comedy. There’s so many different elements to it. The element that my character brings the most is comedy-it’s straight hilarious!
Parlé Mag: Outside of the comedic aspect, can you relate to your character in any way, personally?
Leland B. Martin: Oh, absolutely! Ari is unapologetic. He’s not into labels and more of a free spirited individual; things of that nature. As far as myself, being able to speak my mind as well as being confident in who I am as a person, so is Ari.
Parlé Mag: Do you reference the original movie in any way in the making of the show?
Leland B. Martin: We actually paid homage to the film in so many ways. As you’re watching, you’ll hear lines from the original movie that comes out in the series. If you’re a fan of the film, you’ll see how we wove those things into the show. We didn’t use the same script but you will see the similarities and where we paid homage to this classic film. We didn’t do away with anything, we just continued the story.
Parlé Mag: This is exciting because the original film is such a true classic as you just mentioned so I’m looking forward to re-watching it then jumping into this premiere. I know it will be amazing and something to look forward to week after week. Switching gears a bit, I’m interested to know what it was like, for you, to have the experience of working with legendary and talented people like Lena Waithe, Ben Cory Jones and Halle Berry?
Leland B. Martin: You described it perfectly. They are geniuses, in my opinion. I was a fan of their work before I was a part of the cast. This, for me, was a dream come true. Boomerang was one of my favorite movies growing up. I watched it heavily in college, especially. When I didn’t have anything else to do, pop in Boomerang! And Coming to America! I watched those religiously. I was already a fan of the franchise. Halle Berry, I was a huge fan of hers because she is that super A-lister. I became a fan of Lena’s when she hit the scene with ‘Master of None‘. Then to follow Ben Cory Jones from his work on ‘Insecure‘. I was energized just being able to work with these people. As I began working with them, I saw that their reputations were definitely earned because they are geniuses in their own right. As you watch the series, their genius will be reflected in the way they have woven the story together to both pull at your heart strings and be hilarious at the same time. It’s amazing. I was nervous to meet them. They are my idols and I didn’t want to be let down, but that was not the case at all with any of them. Ben and Lena, are the type of people that would give the shirts off their backs. They were very forgiving and caring and listened to us as actors. I just loved the entire experience to be honest with you.
Parlé Mag: That’s incredible! You’ve acted in a few movies, was it any difference in being on set for a movie versus a television show?
Leland B. Martin: Um…no. The whole process is pretty much the same. A lot of hurry up and wait. Every set is different because of the personalities. I was blessed to be on the set with such amazing personalities. But each day there’s a set schedule to abide by, the set reads for the day with who you’ll be working with. It pretty much all works the same way.
Parlé Mag: And you, yourself aspire to write, produce, direct and then star in a film that you hope to be Oscar nominated. That’s a lofty goal. Is there any particular genre you’re leaning towards?
Leland B. Martin: Not in particular. I am multifaceted in my writing, because there’s a wide variety of things that I like. The same goes for my acting career, I have done a little bit of everything.
Parlé Mag: I also love that you are actively still giving back to your community. Would you care to share your experience working with the Penny Lane Foundation?
Leland B. Martin: Sure! We work with juveniles, attempting to rehabilitate them by giving them the resources and education to change their lives and become productive members of society. This is a last ditch effort for a lot of them, so we are truly trying to change the trajectory of their lives. And we do!
Parlé Mag: That’s impressive. And amazing! Anything else you want to share with us about what you’re working on or what we can expect from you?
Leland B. Martin: Just stay tuned!
‘Boomerang’ is based on the 1992 film of the same title. Also starring Tetona Jackson, Tequan Richmond and Lala Milan, ‘Boomerang‘ premiered with two episodes on BET on February 12th.
Image Credit: Leo Marshall
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