Award-Winning Actor and Executive Producer, Omari Washington, Fighting for the “Gracefully Broken”
By Jules Lavallee
Omari Washington is an award-winning Actor and Executive Producer of “Gracefully Broken,” a film about a guy who feels depressed when his world comes crashing down. While he’s on the verge of contemplating suicide he crosses paths with a woman that could his saving grace. The film has won 2 awards for Best Drama short and BestI Indie short alongside Omari’s 2 Best Actor awards. He dedicates all of the awards that “Gracefully Broken” wins to his friend Matthew that recently passed from suicide and also other victims of depression and suicide. Only time can tell what’s in store for this rising star.
When you started out acting, what intrigued you?
When I started acting, what intrigued me the most was the fact that I could transform myself into another person and live their life for a certain amount of time. I thought that was the coolest thing ever as a kid, to me it was like being a superhero but in a different way.
You played a lead role as “Mack” in the feature film “Assassin’s Game” alongside Tom Sizemore and Vivica A. Fox. Tell us about your role, how did it stretch your acting abilities?
My role as Mack was a turning point for me in my acting career. Before booking this role I didn’t do much acting due to my work situation so I felt a little discouraged about my acting career at the time so this opportunity inspired me to be hopeful again. I originally auditioned for a role that had one line. After a few weeks, I didn’t hear anything back so I thought I didn’t book it then out of nowhere I got a phone call from the Director asking if I can meet with him and the Executive Producer regarding the role I auditioned for. In my mind, I was thinking why would they want to meet with me for a small role. When I got there they got straight to it and offered me one of the lead roles in the film. I was honored, to say the least. I felt like my life started again and I could prove my worth in the industry. This role stretched my acting ability in so many ways. For example, this was my first feature film as one of the leads and before this opportunity, I performed in short films no longer than 15 minutes so I was a little intimidated by this opportunity at first. I wasn’t sure what to expect my first day on set but I went with the flow and stayed ready. After I did my first scene which was with Tom Sizemore I felt more confident in my ability, maybe it was because he said “good job kid”. Working alongside greatness for this film pushed me to grow in so many ways. It helped me step out of my comfort zone and trust myself and my ability a lot more.
What has been your favorite role? Why?
My favorite role would have to be when I played the role of gang banger #1 in episode 218 of “Lethal Weapon”. This role was my favorite because this was a BIG break moment in my career, it was my very first co-star role on a national network, I received my very first trailer and I got to work alongside Damon Wayans, which was the icing on the cake. This role also led me to other break out roles as well.
What advice would you give your younger self about acting?
I would tell my younger self not to rush or force anything. Everything will pan out the way it’s supposed to. Also, never doubt yourself or your ability because you clearly have what it takes to be the greatest of all time.
Describe your acting style. What makes you stand out?
My acting style is more like method acting. I approach every role as if it were me in the shoes of the character and also fuse my perspective with the character’s perspective. I feel like what makes me stand out is my hunger for success and my drive for greatness. I’m willing to put in overtime every day to get to the top. I feel like what makes me stand out the most is my ability to market myself effectively to get my name out there and also my ability to create opportunities for myself and others as well.
In “Bunnyman Vengeance” you played “Carl.” What intrigued you about this character?
What intrigued me the most about playing the role of Carl was how much of a psycho/loving person Carl was. He was the mediator between all the brothers one second, then the next second he’s torturing a victim with real tarantula’s. By the way, holding the tarantula’s was frightening at first but once I got over my fear I was able to have fun with them in my scene.
You are an Executive Producer of several award-winning films including “Gracefully Broken.” Tell us about the film and what inspired you to write it.
Gracefully Broken is a story about a guy who’s about to lose everything he worked hard for, which triggers his depression. While on the verge of having suicidal thoughts he crosses paths with a woman who can potentially be his saving grace. What inspired me to write this story is, about a year ago I was down and out on my luck not booking any acting gigs for a while, which eventually triggered my depression. When I was depressed I used to listen to gospel and one morning a song titled “Gracefully Broken” came on and I broke down in tears because I felt Gracefully broken by God at that point. After that moment I felt in my heart and spirit that I should write a story about being broken. Ultimately I wrote this story to raise awareness for depression and suicide. I feel like there are a lot of suffering people in the world that don’t know how to open up about personal traumatic issues on a deeper level because of the fear of people knowing and judging. I wanna be the connector for those people to receive the proper resources to help them through those tough times. As a survivor of depression and suicide, I want to encourage people to keep fighting the good fight and hold on to the strength within them. This film means a lot to me because right before the final edit of the film I lost a really close friend to suicide. In his honor, I dedicate every award Gracefully Broken wins to my friend Matthew Okaro. May he rest in peace.
How have you evolved as an Actor?
I feel like I’ve evolved as an actor in so many ways. For example, when I first started acting at the age of 12 I only knew how to act in the theater world, fast forward 18 years later I’m acting in TV shows and movies alongside legendary actors. I feel like the beginning of my acting journey was rocky because I didn’t know who I was but now that I know who I am and know what I want, my journey has gotten a lot smoother. All the no’s I ever heard in my career prepared me for the success I’m experiencing at the moment in my career because without the no’s I wouldn’t know how to appreciate yes’s when they do come.
What projects are coming up for you?
At the moment I’m preparing to shoot a pilot my friend Mir Najibi and I wrote titled “Sous Chef”. It’s about a talented sous chef who aspires to be the next Yum Network star but the Executive Chef at his job doesn’t believe he has what it takes. We plan on releasing the pilot on Amazon Prime by July 2021.