“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (In Romans 3:23 New King James Version)
Award-winning actor Clifton Powell is among the stars of “Sinners Wanted,” debuting on TV One TODAY, Sunday, April 5, at 4pm ET.
At the heart of the film is young minister Leo Shepherd (Kenneth Wayne) who left his small hometown of Macon, Georgia for an opportunity to lead a church in Washington, D.C. On his first day as a pastor, he allows Gigi, (Ashley Rios), a street prostitute who comes through the church doors in her full working girl attire, to stay inside. This after one of the church officials told her to leave. Powell believes the movie is about redemption.
“I think this movie is about redemption and forgiveness. The pastor is doing in his mind what the spirit is calling him to do. Open up his arms to someone who is in need. That person happens to be a prostitute,” Powell told EURweb.com.
But the plot thickens. Powell questions Rev. Shephard’s benevolence toward the prostitute. Is he doing the right thing for the wrong reason? As famous 13th-century Italian theologian St. Thomas Aquinas wrote the sin of lust is “voluptuous emotions.”
“Is he doing this in a selfish way or is he caught up in the flesh? Is he really about trying to save her soul and turn her life around?” Powell ponders.
His character One Eye, aptly named because of a patch over one of his eyes, is a deep thinker. One Eye has street smarts.
“He’s a cat who turns his life around with the help of the church. He’s been a member of the church for 25 years. People come and go. He’s seen a lot. He knows who’s telling the truth and who’s lying.” he said.
Powell is an NAACP Image Award winner garnered for “Ray” playing Jeff Brown, Ray Charles road manager. He has appeared in more than 100 films and scores of recurring roles on television since he started acting in 1981.
The graduate of the Duke Ellington School of the Arts in his hometown of Washington, DC says he is a method actor. The style was culled from a system developed in the early 1900s by Russian actor and director Konstantin Stanislavski.
“I was the worst actor in my program. At first, I didn’t get it. But, once I got it, I began to study the Stanislavski system. What we call method acting. The same way that (actors) Robert De Niro was trained or Al Pacino, or Meryl Streep or Viola Davis, Angela Bassett, Samuel Jackson. It’s not so much about the character you are playing, as the life and true underlying meaning of the character,” Powell, the voice of Big Smoke on the video game Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, said.
Powell recalled wanting to be a football player growing up. Now his touchdowns are on the big and small screen. Who could forget when he played the Jheri Curl wearing Pinky in “Next Friday?” We see tough guy Pinky waving a gun in the face of Ice Cube’s character, then when he loses the gun, Pinky bursts into tears.
“When Pinky had to cry it could have been a fake caricature cry or I could have cried for real. Me crying for real gives Pinky that extra dimension of this crazy guy who owned the record shop. Pulled a gun on somebody. Next thing you know he’s crying. Every character I play I think how can I make this character real,” Powell revealed.
His plans to begin filming season five of Bounce TV’s Saints and Sinners are on hold because shooting has stopped due to the coronavirus/COVID19 pandemic.
Powell is heeding directions from health experts regarding coronavirus/COVID19 – such things as social distancing and recommendations about washing your hands. He also says he has a healthy regimen …
“I take a plethora of herbs and vitamins. I encourage everyone to continue to be vigilant and listen to health experts and take care of yourself and your family.” He hasn’t forgotten the less fortunate. “We have to be wary about people who are not as well off as we are. I called some friends and made sure they had food. If I need to send them money I will. We’re all in this together.”
It’s his hope that “Sinners Wanted” will become a series on TV One.
“It will be a dream come true to be part of it as a director. Maybe do some cameos,” Clifton Powell gushed.
“Sinners Wanted” also stars Lamman Rucker, directed by Jimmy and Joshua Jenkins, and produced by Tressa Smallwood.
“Sinners Wanted,” debuts TODAY on TV One TODAY, Sunday, April 5, at 4pm ET.
Story by Tené Croom