You have to persist
QUESTIONS & ANSWERS | OMAR MILLER
You have to persist
He may be experiencing a new measure of fame for his role on “Ballers,” but the HBO hit is far from Omar Miller’s first time in the spotlight. From “8 Mile” and “Get Rich or Die Tryin’” to “CSI: Miami” and “Law & Order,” he’s been a steady presence on screens large and small for the better part of a decade. Miller sat down with Las Vegas Black Image Magazine to give us a glimpse into his dreams and the secrets to his success.
What can we expect from the new season of Ballers?
The new season of “Ballers” — in my opinion — is better than the first season. We have all found our footing with the show, as far as the performers, writers, and the director. We really know what people responded to from the first season. So now, the story lines delve deeper into the psyche of these characters — who are like modern-day gladiators, and have to navigate their lives like everyone else. The show goes deep into the world of sports and the aspects of finance and management that surround sports figures. Honestly, I am very excited about the new season.
Was it a conscious decision to show the athletes on “Ballers” as empowered?
I think what happens is that whenever you introduce a brand-new show concept with new characters, you have to throw in the glitz and glamour to catch people’s attention. Then, after you gain their attention, you can go deeper into the storylines and the characters. In my personal opinion, since last summer the episodes of “Ballers” have gotten stronger and stronger — because our show is part-fantasy, part-reality. “Ballers” takes real headlines in the news, about the most popular athletes, and puts a fictional twist on it. The things that happen to real professional athletes are completely incredible. Their day-to-day routine is something to marvel at, it’s so interesting — and that is why people love our show. It is an element of fantasy that people don’t usually experience. I am blessed to play the character on “Ballers” that the viewing audience can most identify with. For example, everyone can identify with losing their way in life and making a transition in their career, and having their wife or husband nag you about not getting certain things done. Or having their wife or husband support them to get their life back on track. I feel good that the show trusts me with the most relatable character, and I think people are going to like this new season of “Ballers.”
What is your weekly podcast, O-ZONE, about?
My O-ZONE is a brand new video and audio podcast showcasing the opinions of celebrities and regular fans on all things sports and controversy. I am a sports junkie and so are most of the people in my family. So, I want to bring people the opportunity to hear us talk about sports and other celebrities like people talk in their living rooms — having sports conversations in plain talk.
How is it working with “The Rock” Dwayne Johnson on “Ballers”?
It couldn’t be better. This guy is as cool as he comes across on camera. He is even cooler in real life. I think he is a cool dude and I really enjoy working with him. He sets the tone on the show because he is such a hard worker.
Many are unaware that your castmate, John David Washington, is Denzel Washington’s son.
Yes, he has a heavy cross to bear being constantly identified as Denzel’s son. He is an excellent actor in his own right. It seems like it would be better if people didn’t know that Denzel is his father, because that seems to be what everyone wants to talk about.
Is there an acting role that you would like to play?
Yes, there are a lot of roles I would like to play — but they have yet to be greenlit or yet to be written. The key is to take the lead in creating our own content and telling our own stories. Realistically, the role I would like to play is to create a collective of ethnic people interested in investing and making films that are about us and our experiences from our perspective.
Do people in Hollywood agree there should be more African- American stories?
I think numbers don’t lie and the most diverse storytelling seems to consistently pay off the most. This is in movies and television. So, as long as that continues, Hollywood will inevitably wake up — because at the end of the day, Hollywood is about dollars and cents.
What would be your advice to young black actors who would like to get into the industry?
Just persist. You have to continue to work hard and make your own good fortune in this industry. It’s not similar to going to school to become a doctor or a lawyer. You won’t be able to take a test and you are in. It’s not like that. This is an industry that requires everything you have. You have to persist and the ball sometimes bounces in or out of your court. You have to love acting. So, if someone wants to pursue it, they have to put their whole heart into the craft — because there are people all around the world who are dedicating their lives to doing exactly that.