Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Exclusive Interview With Actor, Danny Williams

Casting for the film adaptation of Fifty Shades of Grey is the single hottest topic around Hollywood. Worldwide, the excitement is spreading like wildfire through the media outlets.. While the roles of Christian and Ana are naturally receiving the most attention, there are a few supporting roles that are just as pivotal in bringing the story to life on the big screen.

One of those supporting roles is the part of Jose Rodriguez, who is Anastasia Steele’s best friend. We think we found a guy who would be perfect for the part. Danny Williams, is a twenty-two year old actor, who wants the role. After interviewing him, we are convinced he’d be great..

Last month, Danny talked to Fifty Shades Film in an exclusive interview, to discuss his career and his desire to bring the Jose to life in the film adaptation of Fifty Shades of Grey.

Currently residing in Atlanta, Georgia, Danny is busy utilizing his talents across a wide range of activities. He is an actor, a stunt double and a college student. And, as if that’s not enough, he’s also an on-air personality for The Ken Coleman Show, a popular Atlanta based radio show that was recently in the news after the President of Chick-fil-A made controversial statements.

You've seen Danny on the very popular BET show, ‘The Game’ and in episodes of the hit series, ‘Supernatural’. He’s been in several independent films, in multiple commercials and was a stunt double on the set of The Vampire Diaries. Most recently, he had a role in the blockbuster movie, ‘Trouble with the Curve’

He was born in the Dominican Republic to an American father and a Dominican mother. Both of his parents are educators, his father has his doctorate and his mother is currently working on getting hers. Quitting college to focus on his acting career probably wasn't their ideal path for him, but at the young age of twenty-two, he's quite accomplished. Recently he decided to go back to college, adding a few classes into his already overwhelming schedule. We were very fortunate that he was able to fit an hour in to talk to us about his career and his desire to play Jose, in the film adaptation of Fifty Shades of Grey

The day we talked to Danny, he had just finished an audition for a commercial. Of course, he had no idea of what the outcome of his morning audition would be, but he was extremely hopeful and in great spirits. His upbeat, carefree personality, positive outlook and humor are absolutely infectious. Always the entertainer, Danny was ‘on’ from the moment we started the interview to the moment we ended .. With his witty animated answers, even serenading us with his Mariachi rendition of the Twilight song Flightless Bird, he had us laughing through the entire interview.

How did he audition go, Danny?

“I nailed it,’ he boomed, with comfortable ease and confident laughter. “Really, you never know with these things,” he answered slightly more serious. ”It’s call backs and wait and see in the business,” his answer is laced with experience and a grin that we can practically see beaming through the phone.

How did your parents feel about you quitting college to go pursue an acting career?

“They are supportive, but they want me to do both.”
You actually went back to school though, correct?

“Yes, it’s going to be tough, but I’ll fit it in somewhere. My dad has his doctorate and my mom is working on hers. They are Nazis Gestapo’s about my education,” Danny jokes as he explains. “My father always told me, ‘no one can take a diploma away from you’. My father is a Professor. He was a Spanish teacher at the high school I went to, he was always there, making sure I did well. My mother is an educator as well, they have strong feelings about getting an education, but they are always supportive. I played baseball in high school. I’ve been playing baseball since I could walk. They thought I’d be a baseball player.” 

What position did you play?

“Second base and shortstop,” he answers, the love of the game evident in his voice. “Baseball’s big in the Dominican Republic. I played in the summer leagues that draft to Major League Baseball. Everyone thought I would be a baseball player. My friends were all baseball players, my best friend plays for the Tampa Bay Rays. It’s funny because he can speak almost as much Spanish as me, being around all of the Dominican players.”

When did you decide you wanted to become an actor instead of a baseball player or an educator like your parents?

“I don’t want to say it was rebellion but…” he hesitates. “I was looking for my purpose in life, what I was supposed to do, who I should be. I got on my knees and starting praying asking God to show me the man I’m supposed to be,” he says candidly.

“My friends were always telling me I was funny, and that I should be an actor. Like I could cry at chick-flicks and stuff… not that I was just going around crying all the time with my boys,” he laughs. “But I could do it, whenever I wanted. People just kept coming up to me telling me I should do it, be an actor. When you pray on something, things just start turning your way. I looked back on what I was asking God, and the things I was talking to myself about and I decided to go for it.”

"I went to one of those big churches, like the really big ones, with over ten thousand people. I went to audition for the churches actor’s team. I felt it would be somewhere to start. Little did I know that hundreds came out but they choose twelve and I was blessed to be one of them. After being on the team, I made connections with the best in town, who were represented by a fantastic agent, Joy Pervis. He is recognized in the film and TV industry for discovering, representing, and/or bringing to the forefront, some of today’s top stars; Dakota Fanning, Raven Symone, Maggie and Elizabeth Jones, Elle Fanning, Kyle Massey, and Lucas Till to name a few. In this scenario why shoot for the stars when there are foot prints on the moon? So I went for the best and they loved my Latino American heritage. It just took off. Right after I decided I wanted to become an actor, they started filming ‘The Vampire Diaries’ here. Since then, every single production is here now. ‘The Hunger Games’ filmed right by my house, arrows were practically flying into my backyard,’ he teases. “It’s been amazing and it’s been a journey. I've been very blessed. Next up, Jose in Fifty Shades!” 

How did you end up going from wanting to be an actor to becoming a radio personality with Ken Coleman? And so quickly, since you’re only twenty-two years old?

“I can’t put into words how blessed I am.” The earnestness in his voice makes us believe he’s sincere. “I was Ken Coleman’s assistant. He is an A-list interviewer and I was traveling with him. He told me I should intern so I did. I do social media for the show, and worked up to becoming a co-host. It’s been so great.”

In the weeks leading up to this interview, we asked our Twitter and Facebook followers to send in their questions for Danny.

“Bring it on, what do you have for me?” he asks, giving us the sense he truly enjoys a challenge.

Amanda from Texas asked, “How did you hear about Fifty Shades of Grey? Did you hear about book first and decide you wanted the role, or did you hear about the role, and then read the books?”

“I was driving back from the beach with my girlfriend and she was talking to me about this new book Fifty Shades of Grey. I told her to just read it to me. She started reading it to me on the eight hour drive home. I wanted to just keep driving to keep hearing the rest of the book. I would have kept driving around the world to hear more. When I heard about Jose, I really wanted to know about him. My girlfriend kept trying to read, but I was like, ‘wait go back to the part about Jose. What color are his eyes, his hair, how tall is he, what’s his background, is he Latino?’ When we got home . I was stealing her Nook to keep reading it. I finally went to Barnes and Noble and bought my own books. I knew they would make a movie because they were that great. Everyone on the block was saying ‘Laters Baby’ and I thought, ‘who is this baby guy?’ When I read about the part of Jose, I just knew… this is me. He even says ‘dios mio’, just like me! I’ve been saying that since I was in the crib.”

@MediaSageJen from New Hampshire asked, “ In Fifty Shades of Grey, Jose loves Ana but will never be anymore than a friend to her. Has this ever happened to you in your life?”

“Actually with the current girl I’m with now, she never wanted to be more than friends. But I had more swag than Jose and I got the girl,” Danny says proudly.” If I was Jose, I would have made it work with Ana. I’m a Latin lover. I’d do it the Menudo way, speak Spanish to her. I use Spanish soap operas to get my Rico Suave down,” he says in a dramatic Latin accent. “I’d cook for her, make her some rice and beans, have sex on the beach… but not with all those chains, and whips and stuff,” he laughs. “No, really if you love her you’re going to get her.”
@IamHeatherlewis from Louisiana wants to know,”Who do you see playing the role of Ana since Jose has such a big crush on her? Also who would he like to see play Christian?”

“Uhh, it’s … uh… wow, this is hard to say because no matter what I say someone will want someone else to be Ana, or someone else to be Christian, you know? It’s hard.”
Yes, we know, we interjected, sympathizing with him. It’s very difficult. As a fansite, people ask us this questions everyday.

“Exactly, I don’t want to say anyone, because I don’t want people to think ‘oh, he doesn't want that guy… ,” he tries to explain. “But, honestly I think probably Ian Somerhalder, because I know the guy from Vampire Diaries. I think he’d be the best bet. One, because I have a semi-connection to him, since I met him… and two, he’s a sexy guy,’ he laughs. “I was doing stunts for Tyler [on the TVD set], because we’re the same height and everything. Ian walks in the room and I’m like, ‘oh my god, like I’m a dude, and I’m straight, and I’m looking at this guy like, ‘Whoa, the guy is hot’, and I’m sweatin’!” he exclaims animatedly, laughter erupting throughout the room from all of us at Danny’s joke. 

“But the same thing with Henry Cavill, I mean you look at Henry and he’s Superman, in this huge role… he’s an attractive guy, but the question is, will he drop your jaw when he walks in the room? Like Matt Bomer would, for sure, for sure,” Danny adds. “I like him as well, but I think Ian has this suave and swoon, and he can be cold. But really, I want whoever is more true to the books, whether it’s a celebrity or not a celebrity. It has to stay true to E.L. James. It won’t do it justice. For the true Fifty Fans, it has to be perfect. I feel like the majority of the fans have read the book with whoever they want in mind. Obviously, when I read Jose, I was picturing me. I was getting shut down and denied like, ‘dang it, Ana dumped me again, what the crap?! It’s the same with these girls reading the book like ‘OMG Ian… or Matt… or Chris …or whoever. Some girls might even picture Edward Cullen, you never know.” 


You never know! Did you talk to Ian about the role of Christian Grey at all? 

‘It’s funny because he isn’t talking a lot about that. I didn’t ask him about it, but I when I was with on set with him it was pre-Fifty, well not really before Fifty, but before it was this. I’m sure his agent is calling him, talking about it but nothing’s really set in stone unless there is a contract. Like Christian says,” Danny teases, “Gotta’ sign the contract… yeahhh!”

Did you mention to him that you wanted the role of Jose?

“No, I mean, I joked with him like, “hey, you’re looking at Jose,” but he didn’t say anything about it, he’s keeping it under wraps. He’s real cool but he doesn’t know what’s going to happen. I mean you guys know how it is, they might not even go with a celebrity. Right now, it’s all just buzz, just like… ‘Hey, Miley Cyrus just got her hair cut today’. Cool! All just buzz.”

As in it’s all just rumors? Like people saying it’s going to be Ian, Ryan, Matt… ? But on a personal level, you want Ian for the role?

“Sure, but I mean that’s just off meeting him, and knowing he’s a cool guy. Who knows, I mean, if I never met him, who knows maybe not but… just after meeting him and knowing that he’s…“ Danny stammers for the right words.

Because he’s so hot? We ask, seizing the opportunity to tease Danny about his admitted fanboy moment with the ‘hot, sweat inducing’, Ian.

“Yeah, exactly!” Danny laughs, getting the joke. “I dropped like ten calories just looking at the dude,” he embellishes, a true entertainer, putting on a show for our benefit. 

Jamie from Facebook asked,”Is there anything the fans of Vampire Diaries would be shocked to know about the set or what happens behind the scenes?”

"I don’t know. They were all really nice. When I was on set, I was up for a role on Season 4 but they went with someone from L.A.. But when I was on set, last season, doing stunts and doubling up and stuff, hanging out with the cast, they were all really nice. They were all just phenomenal. I met all of the producers. They have evolving directors, but I talked to Julie Plec. She actually auditioned me for the role but… hey, maybe I should get an L.A. address for this Jose role,” Danny teases.
Tami from Oregon asked, “What did you think of the books overall? Did he think it was more 'mummy porn' or romance?”

“Definitely romance. The words ‘mommy porn’ doesn’t do it justice, it’s a disgrace. It is a romance. There is more than just the sex and the Red Room of Pain. There is a romantic side to Christian. As the character Jose, I don’t like the guy, I’m not supposed to,” he jokes. “But as a reader and as the audience you see a romantic side to him. You follow him from the beginning with this microscopic lens, and you’re like ‘what’s up with this dude, ok I don’t like him, he’s weird, whatever. But then you’re like, but you know he really likes this girl. I can appeal to that because I like and I love, I can feel for him. As an audience member, the romance is definitely appealing, it connects well. But as a character goes, I don’t like the guy, he took my girl,” Danny exclaims, totally in character as Jose. “It’s sort of like Edward Cullen, and Jacob, ya’ know?” he laughs. 

Are you saying the bad boy always gets the girl?

“Well, yeah,” he answers, his laughter building. “The overly pale guys get the girl, I guess. The tan dudes always get shafted. I might have to become a recluse to get a girl now. I will have to put fifty shades up all over my in my house, literally, shades, not let any light in to get so I can girls,” he teases.

@JillShipley1 tweeted us and wants to know,”How you would handle playing an important supporting role with the emotional connection to Jose and Ana's friendship, with Jose wanting to be with Ana. Also, how will you bring the vitality and intenseness without stomping on, or overshadowing, the character of Christian Grey?”

“I would say as an actor, I use different methods. There is a method called Stanislovski, where you pull a prior experience for a present emotion. I would use that a lot in this film. I would be your best bet, because I would stay true to who he is. I would be so protective over Ana, you know because I like her and she is a friend, she has been there always for me, and I’ve been there for her. I’m like an artsy creative guy, I’m kind of like emotional too, … I guess what I’m trying to say is, she is just always on my mind or always in my heart, she’s always somewhere on me. I wouldn’t overshadow him because she obviously has a heart for him and over time he takes the bigger place in her heart, but I’m in there as well. I would understand it. I would establish a deep connection with whoever plays Ana and say, look you’re my best friend but I also like you, I’m not going to like this but I have to deal with this. Just like in life, its how you have to deal with things.” 

@VPhoenixRisingV from Twitter asked, “What do you think of Jose as a character?” 

“He was me when I opened the book. I knew I cold play the role and do it however [E.L. James] envisioned him. I feel like I could do it better than anyone else… better than the other seven million, or however many Latino actors are out there.

@IanForChristian from Twitter, wants to know “What do you think you can bring to the character of Jose?" 

“The most energy and…and the most…” Danny searches for the right words to describe his passion this role. “I would bring the exact vision E L James had for Jose, to bring him to life on screen. That’s ultimately what it boils down to, hey, we stick to the book. Because without that, it’s like… I don’t even know. Its McDonald’s without the fries! I’m terrible at analogies but all these books that made up E.L. James’ vision is what’s most important. I would be, to the best of my ability, what she had in mind for Jose. If I fit the physical characteristics and attributes, then I would sit down with her, and talk to her, to be able to align our vision perfectly so Jose could be portrayed in the best way possible.” 

The hour we spent chatting with Danny flew by, leaving us completely convinced that he would be the perfect for the role of Anastasia’s best friend, Jose. We even wanted him to be our best friend by the end of this conversation. His passion for the role was so evident it left us rooting for him and praying the casting directors choose him.

Unfortunately, we don’t know who will be cast in the film, but one thing’s for sure, we will definitely be seeing more of Danny Williams. Whether it’s Jose in the Fifty Shades of Grey film, or in another blockbuster feature film, Danny’s hard work, passion and charming personality is going to take him far. We were honored to have the chance to chat with him and look forward to seeing where his promising future takes him.

Follow Danny William’s blog at and follow him on Twitter @ImDannyWilliams and on Facebook at  Official Danny Williams

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