The multi talented Tommie Earl Jenkins has enjoyed a broad and varied career with roles in everything from blockbuster movies, to network TV shows, with exstensive musical theatre credits, as well as work as a voice over artist in one of CBeebies best loved children’s animations. 

Soon to appear alongside Ryan Phillippe in SHOOTER (USA TV), he found the time to speak to The Actors Pad as part of our 10 QUESTIONS WITH series.

When did you realise you wanted to be a professional actor? 

I think I realised I wanted to be an actor from a very young age. It all began with singing then dancing then doing shows. My first professional job was doing a show at 14, when I was old enough to understand that words had power in the way they could make you feel. The text told a story and took you on a journey, the way lyrics of a song can do. Something in me lit up and I knew this is what I wanted more than anything.

What’s your proudest career moment/Job? 

Every job I’ve done has been a proud moment in my career. It would be very hard to single out one. But currently I’m very proud of my alter ego “Ubercorn” who is the mentor to the Go Jetters on Cbeebies in the UK, a children’s animated tv series. I’d never done an animated series before and this one is great for pre-school kids. Learning about geography. Very informative. My other proud moment was getting to do Jersey Boys on Broadway! I was an original London cast member and also the Las Vegas company. I love that show.

What’s the hardest thing about working on a tv/film set? 

The hardest thing about working on a TV/Film set is the long hours and sometimes the waiting around, but ultimately it’s a job and you’re being paid to be there so make the most of it. The final product is always worth the wait. Also trying to stay away from the amazing amount of food that surrounds you. 

What’s the best piece of advice someone has ever given you? 

The best piece of advice ever given to me was to “Listen” and to be like a sponge and soak up all the information you can. Whenever it’s possible watch and learn from others, don’t be afraid to see how other people work and what their process is. It may not necessarily be right for you but you’ll at least no that for sure. Ultimately “RUN YOUR OWN RACE” and by that, I mean don’t compare your journey to others. We all achieve at different levels at different times in our lives. Accept that you are “Enough” and that no one else can be you. That’s what makes you special. 

Do you watch the work you’ve appeared in? What’s that like? 

Yes I watch my work when I can. The trick is to not over analyze your work. Somethings I like, others I don’t but if what I see is “Truth” on a screen or stage, then my job is done.

Who’s the best actor you’ve ever worked with? Why? 

I’ve had the pleasure of working with a multitude of A-list actors in the industry both on stage and screen. Colin Firth sits right up there and most recently working with Viola Davis. Both actors are incredibly gifted and humble. Watching them work is a master class in itself. Glad for my opportunities.

Follow this link to see Viola Davis talking diversity in film: Viola Davis on DIVERSITY 

Who’s the best director you’ve ever worked with? Why? 

They’ve all been great and different in their working process. I’ve learned something from them all. 

What advice would you give to your younger self? 

Don’t ever let someone tell you, you can’t do something that your heart desires or let your dreams be pushed aside. It is your birthright to dream and prosper. To have infinite amounts of abundance in your life. Stay true to yourself.

If you had to choose between Theatre or TV or Film for the rest of your life, what would you choose? Why? 

Ooh that’s very difficult. I love them all but Theatre is my first love, and the joy I get from a live audience and doing a play or musical 8 times a week for different audiences is very gratifying. The fact that I can do something different or change the way I say a line and experiment (Within reason) new choices, is not something you get to do on film or tv. Once that shoot is over and it’s in the can, there’s no changing it or thinking “I wish I could’ve done that scene differently”. Hopefully you were in the moment when you shot the scene and there is no reason to wish otherwise. Theatre gives you that opportunity to explore nightly. It’s also a lot harder than filming.

What have you got coming up? 

I’ll be appearing in the Season 2 premiere of SHOOTER with Ryan Phillippe mid July on USA Network. Also I travel back and forth from LA to London a lot at the moment. Also Series 2 of GO JETTERS the Cbeebies children’s animation is in production. So get your little ones to look our for it. My screenplay of BRONZEVILLE is still in development which is a labor of love. Still seeking funding. It’s gonna be amazing when it hits. Just putting it out there in the universe. 🙂

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