Charles D. Clark is a man with a story as his journey as an actor, his perspective on life and his guidance that motivates him as someone who is about the craft of acting, storytelling and growth. From an extra to featured recurring, to Empire, Mr. Mercedes, The Chi, to now The Righteous Gemstones, Clark’s journey as an actor is just beginning and has quite the story that has made him the actor/storyteller he is today.
TVSeriesHub: It’s an honor to be talking with you, tell me what motivates you everyday? What’s your outlook on life?
Charles D. Clark: The honor is mine and I’m truly grateful. Well being I have a powerful testimony from losing my dad at the age of six to getting into the street life in my mid-teens that involved gang banging, selling drugs and violence which leads me to serving almost eight years in prison only for God to give me a second chance at life to empower people worldwide. I’m motivated by God’s glory and His love for me. I’m motivated by my daughter who is my everything. So my outlook on life is to remember what I’ve been through to show others that they too can win there battles in life by allowing God to show them how to win.
TSH: Tell me what was your journey as an actor?
CDC: My journey as an actor has been a rollercoaster ride with so much blood, sweat and tears. So many doubts and rejections but I realize your gonna get wounded in fighting for your purpose. Driving thousands of miles and hours, spending thousands of dollars in traveling, branding and keeping the grind alive…But it’s all paying off now. To go from a part time background actor to a full time professional SAG actor is truly a blessing.
TSH: What drove you to become an actor?
CDC: My grandmother…Months before I was released from prison my grandmother came to visit me and it was her first and last visit. My aunt told me that my grandmother had several brain tumors and dementia which influenced her mind to believe that the prison yard was a military base and she thought I was my dad who served in the military special forces. So the entire visit I had to act like my dad without confusing her or making her think otherwise. The pain I held inside was devastating but I couldn’t show it. After my grandmother left she died a couple months later. That experience showed me my destiny to act and that’s why when I do speaking engagements I always say my grandmother gave me my first audition. Her name was Lucille H. Clark and my dad was named Charlie R. Clark.
TSH: What has each role taught you, given you perspective on life, this craft and world?
CDC: Each role teaches me how to learn a different life, emotions, challenges and perspectives without paying a penalty of some sort. Acting is when you completely getting rid of the reality of who you are to become the reality of that character and it’s story. However in a lot of cases especially me being a method actor I usually find a certain truth in a character that is identical to my life in which I start my character building from there.
TSH: Do you feel you’re getting to know life through another lens and aspects of yourself
CDC: Oh most definitely because some roles you have to go to dark places or challenging pleases just to ignite the starting of role preparation. Life as an actor is very relevant in many of lives that is layered worldwide.
TSH: You’ve worked on Empire, House of Cards, The Chi, Mr Mercedes, now on The Righteous Gemstones with an amazing group of actors, what was that like?
CDC: It’s a dream come true, especially when many of these phenomenal talents whom are mostly legends…It’s breathtaking but I’m humbled.
TSH: With Empire airing its final season, what’s your thoughts on that and it’s legacy? You got to be part of that legacy and play with Terrance Howard, Taraji P Henson, Xzibit, of all people, how did it also advance your role as an actor?
CDC: First let me give a shout out to my two Empire family members, Sanaa Hamri and Steve D’Amato who is the reason why my acting career launched on Empire after being on there for two seasons. I’m so grateful for being a part of a legacy that will be forever remembered with an all star cast and storyline. I drove to Chicago from Virginia about seven times as an extra on Empire which is a 14-hour drive. The eighth time I drove up there is when I got upgraded as one of Shyne’s featured recurring main goons which was a dream come true. Xzibit who is not only a legend but a phenomenal actor and one of my inspirations was amazing to work with and learn from. Also Taraji (Cookie) and Terrence (Lucious) was I learned so..so much from as well as Trai Byers (Andre) whom I’m inspired by as well.
TVSeriesHub: What’s it like to be on HBO’s Righteous Gemstone? You’re getting to do it all and spread your range as an actor.
CDC: Danny McBride has always been one of my top inspirations and my daughter loves him from his Land of The Lost so we always been attached to Danny. To work with him and the entire cast is mind blowing! Especially Greg Alan Williams whom I always inspired by as well and I consider him as a mentor. I’m grateful to be on such a record breaking comedy TV series on HBO and the fact we got renewed for Season 2. I’m proud to be one of the main recurring Gemstone Deacon’s. Shout out to phenomenal casting director Tona Dahlquist!
TSH: What projects do you go for, Is there a criteria? I know Taraji has stated the role of Cookie Lyon scared her because of its honesty, boldness and nothing ever seen on TV before.
CDC: I agree with Taraji’s method because roles that challenges you will make you a better actor with an unlimited range. For instance my character Brutus in Volkov (Elysium Productions on Amazon Prime.) Brutus is a heartless psychopath but a part of him deep down inside cares for a few people. My brother amazing filmmaker, director, editor and writer George Dibble pushed me to a place that was challenging but necessary for Brutus. Then my character Bishop Trinity in the upcoming Amazon Prime Original series ” Gavin Hook Series ” by my sis extraordinary filmmaker, writer and director Ton’e Brown pushed me to place that was very relevant to my past life to capture the essence of Bishop Trinity’s introduction to his character. Also when you have a well rounded cast and overall production like the projects I just mentioned along with dynamic director’s it brings everything together! Shout out to George wife, my sis Candice and bro Wes Lee who is a major part of Volkov as well.
TSH: What do you hope as an actor, a storyteller and also someone who steps back and view what’s happening in the world as an observer to see in culture, TV in the future?
CDC: I just want to be an actor that influence positive reinforcements to making this world a better place through my craft and testimony. I hope that many cultures can come together in a diverse manner and bring love, peace and harmony in Hollywood to the audience worldwide. Actors or anyone in Hollywood have a much larger responsibility than in front or behind the camera. It’s also what is done off the camera that matters as well.
TSH: Currently, what’s peaking your interest from TV to films or music or anyone your following?
CDC: The upcoming movie Harriet I’m definitely waiting for because it’s a large piece of not just history but black history about a real superhero. My sis..the beautiful and brilliant actress Cynthia Erivo was perfect for this role and I support her fully as well as Leslie Odom, Janelle Monae who are all just inspiring and super talented to me. Last but not least Kasi Lemmons the director who is a legend and iconic. Cynthia is a phenomenal singer so I love her music. I love Neo Soul and when it comes to hip hop I’m gonna say my family and inspirations Ice T, Xzibit, James Savage and Chuck D.
TSH: What comes next for Charles D. Clark as an actor, storyteller, and person?
CDC: Whatever God has in store for me. Bigger roles, inspiring more people, winning a couple of Emmy’s and Oscar’s (laughs) I really don’t care about being famous. I just want to be a consistent respected actor who can bring some kind of good to the world while giving God the glory! I would like to give a special shout out to my spiritual dad, great friend and mentor Jeff Hoffman who is simply a phenomenal human being and is my family. Also to my other mentor and brother Dave Clarke who is amazing.
TVSeriesHub: What would you say to young actors and storytellers in being in this business and honing this craft
CDC: Always put God first…Be an actor and actress for the love of the craft and not to be famous. Be consistent and never let anyone tell you what you can or cannot do because God said it’s already done. Last but not least follow TVSeriesHub because they are phenomenal!