The Reel Black List: Harold Dennis, Actor

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Harold Dennis

Harold Dennis

Harold Dennis is an American actor with twenty years in the business and over one hundred and fifty film credits. Dennis enjoys playing complex characters with a myriad of conflicts and realizes how fortunate he is to do it.

Here are five films you can watch right now on YouTube: Hellraiser: What’s Your Pleasure, The Judas Run, Englewood: The Growing Pains of Chicago, Glorifying The Gray, and Dark and Quiet: The Execution of Trayvon Martin.

Harold has eighteen years of training, spending the last fourteen working weekly with his coach Ted Sarantos. He conducts two to three acting workshops a year and is inspiring a generation of new actors.

What was your first break?

My first big break in the industry as an actor was being cast in the film “Pieces Of A Dream.” I went into the audition in 2004, thinking I would be happy to just be a cast member in the film. I was cast in the title character role, Father Sheppard Flockings. That role was originally offered to Kanye. I asked the writer why I got that role and his response was I reminded him of Forrest Whitaker.

 
Worst thing that ever happened to you to remind you that you are Black?

The first thing that comes to mind that was the worst thing to ever happen to me to remind me that I’m black happened in kindergarten. I was in the south and during recess two little boys were playing by a fence. I walked over and started running with them. The blond kid stopped and looked at me and said sternly and with a frown, “You can’t play with us.” Even at the innocent age of four I was intuitive and fully aware of racism and it being passed on to children. Prior to that I remember sitting on the couch with my mother watching Dr. King delivering his “I Have A Dream” speech and I asked her if he was the President. Her response was yes he is in a way.

 
Best thing to ever happen to you to remind you that you are Black?

The best thing to ever happen to me to remind me that I’m black is tough to answer. Many of the thoughts I’m having could happen to me at any color. Well I was cast as Joseph Asagai in “A Raisin In the Sun” at Actors Theatre. That was a great moment to be me.

 
Work you are most proud of?

I have too many projects that I’m most proud of. Bastard Son of a Thousand Fathers received five nominations at the 2016 (MPAH) Motion Picture Association of Haiti Awards and we took home three statues. “Pronouns” screened at Tribeca, Chicago International, and the Midwest Independent Film Festival and is currently playing on United Airlines. I’m looking forward to Paradigm Grey, Mollywood, and American Fumble to be released.

 
How has the business changed since you broke in?

It seems to me that the way the business has changed since my arrival twenty years ago is that great equipment is easily accessible now. More and more film school graduates can now afford great equipment to shoot brilliant work. Which means more work for the industry more today than ever before.

 
Trapped on an island what are the creative essentials you must have?

If I were trapped on an island the creative essentials that I would most like to have would be a laptop with internet access. A Red camera and connectors and all cables , editing software, lights, pens and paper, sound equipment, boom and lavaliers, plenty of batteries, an endless supply of electricity, screen writing books and a working 50’ television to watch my work on. I’d create my own castaway movies.

 
If you had a time machine, what would you say to your past self?

If I had a time machine I would say to my past self to continue learning what you’re learning because you will use it in the future and start acting classes.

 
If you could have a one-on-one with anyone who would it be? And why?

If I could have a one-on-one with anyone it would be Daniel Day-Lewis. I want to follow him from receiving a script to wrapping on the film to learn what his secrets are.

 
To learn more about The Reel Chicago Black List, click here.

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BackTalk
  • Jn

    Reel Chicago: Thank-You for highlighting the path of this Chicago actor’s path from stage to screen. Of note are the festivals which support the independent productions Harold has been cast in. As a proud South Sider, I am enjoy viewing Chicagoa talent on the stage, big and small screens. Congrats to Harold, and actors like him. Looking for more!