Written By Matt Molina
Photos By Mansoor
From starring and producing his own film on Amazon to singing in front of thousands of people, Elijah Boothe can do it all. Elijah got his first big break featuring on Netflix’s “Luke Cage”. He recently got another big break in the film industry with his own Amazon film “Pink Opaque”. Not only is Elijah rising in the film industry, but he is beginning to make his way into the music industry. Growing up in the church singing gospel, Elijah has an ear and passion for music. With his first EP coming out soon, Elijah is an upcoming star.
So you have definitely been making your way into the entertainment industry appearing on multiple shows and feature films, can you tell me what got you into acting?
Absolutely, I first got bit by the entertainment bug when I was 10 years old. I grew up in the church so I was always singing gospel and involved in the arts of some sort through the church. When I was very young my mom heard about auditions for the Lion King on Broadway. I went to the audition and I didn’t get the role of Simba, however, the opportunity itself jump started my career and led me to other auditions for anything like commercials, films, etc. Eventually, things worked out and I’ve been doing it ever since.
Starting super young really led you to many opportunities today. One of your biggest roles so far was playing “Cottonmouth” on Marvel’s “Luke Cage”, can you tell me about that?
That was such a blessing. It was my first Netflix television series and such a mind-boggling experience because prior to auditioning for the project I had no idea that it was going to be to that magnitude and be the fifth highest-rated Netflix series ever. They said once the show premiered it broke Netflix because there were too many people trying to stream the show. The show actually started out extremely confidential so no one knew it would blow up like it did. I’m super blessed that I was in the mix and working with these pioneers such as Mahershala Ali, Rosario Dawson, Mike Colter, and many more. They all taught me the ins and outs of what it’s like to be at that level and it truly changed my life.
Was it intimidating working with people at that higher level?
You know what, you would totally think it would be but honestly everybody made it such a safe and comfortable place. I felt so welcomed into the team. When I went to the first table read everybody was coming up to me and introducing themselves making me feel very comfortable. Nobody set a notion or perspective on what Cottonmouth is supposed to be like. They really let me build this character and not feel any pressure by any pre-existing characteristics in the comics. Being able to take this character by the horns creatively and have people gravitate to it was such a dream come true and I never would’ve thought id get love from all over the world for this character. I would definitely consider young Cottonmouth to be my breakout role.
Anything Marvel is a huge role, how did you get that gig?
I got the audition from my agency and was told it’s a super confidential project so I had no idea I was going for “Luke Cage”. The audition was under a different name, I believe it was named “Tierra”. So I went in thinking I was auditioning for that. It was only one audition and I didn’t hear back for about two weeks. Next thing I know I got a phone call from them asking for my availability. I really had no idea how blessed I was until I actually stepped on set and I was able to look around at all these amazing people that I had the pleasure to work with.
That’s an awesome start to a promising career. You’re also in the new Amazon Prime film “Pink Opaque” playing as Travis Wolfe, can you tell me about that role?
Oh absolutely. I can definitely say this role was a dream come true. I thought this dream would come later on in my career because I also signed on as a producer. From working on another film a couple of years back, one of the producers recommended me for the role of Travis on Pink Opaque. They immediately sent me the script and after reading about 10 pages I knew I had to do this movie. I’m really big on taking projects that align with my overall vision which is always creating art in an effort to inspire that next creative or individual who might need motivation. Pink Opaque is a full-length feature that really is all about pushing individuals to continue to chase their dreams. It’s a movie that really reminds people that we all go through obstacles and we all have flaws but the key is to always keep going and understand that those trials are only temporary. I was able to help produce this film alongside the director Derrick Perry and Dave Ragsdale. They really made it a safe space for me to make Travis my own. I got to work alongside an amazing new actress named Ruby Park who plays my love interest in the film. We’ve won 12 awards and I personally won four best actor awards across different film festivals. In over 10 years of being in this industry, these are my first awards so It has been such a blessing.
With this being your first time co-producing a film, what kind of challenges did you face?
The first challenge for me was learning to balance the two art forms because producing is also an art. Merging that with also being camera-ready for 16 hour days 16 days straight was a bit of a challenge but once you get in the groove it becomes second nature. I think that was really it for me, I’m a quick learner so if there’s something I don’t know that I wanna know I’m definitely going to learn it within a couple of days.
These films you’ve been in are potentially leading to many opportunities in the acting world, what’re you looking to accomplish in the future of your acting career?
I’m looking forward to producing more content. Content that highlights diversity and representation and stories that really matter and are important. I’m definitely looking forward to being in front of the camera but I wanna keep pushing things behind the camera as well. I actually just got done producing another feature film that hasn’t been announced yet, but I will tell you that Erick Roberts is a part of the project who is a legendary actor that is super talented and a blast to work with but I say that because I want to keep being a part of those rooms pushing diversity.
You have a lot on your plate as it is, but aside from acting you also make music and sing. Can you go into more detail about when you got into music?
Yeah most definitely. I grew up in the church and that definitely inspired the music influence. I also come from a very musical family. My mom would sing at church in the choir and my older brother is actually a producer who won a grammy for producing on Kendrick Lamar’s “To Pimp a Butterfly”. Just being around my family made me get into music but music has always hit me differently than acting. I think music heals people in a much different way because it’s so powerful. I started singing before acting and acting took off faster but now I’m just excited to be honing back into my music. I have been working on my debut EP that is set to drop in March 2021 and I officially just confirmed my title which I haven’t told anyone yet, but it’s going to be self-titled “Eli” which is one of my nicknames and I just think the overall project encompasses me for once because for 14 years I have had the privilege to play other characters and tell other stories through acting so now I’m glad that through the song I am able to tell my story. My older brother Knxwledge is executive producing this EP and I am also working with a couple more producers like SeeDee who is based in Paris, Sum Comfort who is a production duo based in Sweden and they produced my last two singles “All My Lovin” and “Eyes On Me”. So I’m really excited about the EP.
Do you do any producing or songwriting for other artists?
I definitely write all my own stuff but I have been wanting to start writing for other artists at some point. Im just trying to secure my own project and make sure that’s a hit before I write hits for other people.
Absolutely. Would you want to make a career out of music?
Most definitely, it really already is a career for me. It’s just about consistency, discipline, and being persistent with it. A lot of people don’t realize I have been acting for 14 years and this is really the first year I’ve been giving music all the attention. I really wanna have a consistent flow of creative options. I wanna be able to do a TV show, then go on tour, and then after the tour, being able to do Broadway. I’m so multi-hyphenate and I don’t think I’ll ever be content in one area because I do so many things.
You’re definitely very busy satisfying multiple art forms. I saw that you performed at the House of Parliament and also sang in front of 25,000 people, can you tell me what that was like for you?
Yes, that was such a blessing. Singing at the House of Parliament was my first time performing in London and it was such a blast. Singing in front of 25,000 people at Arthur Ashe Stadium for the US Open was insane. That stadium was completely full and looking at that crowd made me realize this is exactly where I want to see myself in the future. I’ve been working my ass off nonstop just to get back there but next time I want to perform my own music.
That must’ve been very nerve-racking. So you’re already added a lot to your resume for music. You also worked with Radio Disney?
Yeah, so when I was younger I also had the chance to do a performance in Jersey. They did a Jersey Shore live event and they asked me to perform so I sang “Burnin Up” by the Jonas Brothers which had just come out at the time. So with how big that song was back then there were a lot of kids going crazy in the crowd. It was a really fun experience for me.
What is working with Disney like?
It’s a dream come true. I’m really humbled and grateful to be able to work with these production companies that give you the tools to be great and help you succeed. It also took me a minute to realize Marvel is now owned by Disney so I’ve been working with Disney for a while now which is such a blessing.
So from our discussion so far you have shown how talented you are in multiple aspects. I also understand you are very into fashion. Have you always had a passion for fashion?
I’ve always been very intrigued by fashion but I wouldn’t say I found my style identity until I started a menswear blog with my brother who used to be a celebrity stylist. He’s had the chance to work with so many people and he’s taught me a lot. I always stayed myself stylistically and always make strong style choices. I really try to not get influenced by fast trends and I think its all helped me find my style identity.
Is fashion something you want to be more involved with?
Absolutely. I really want to do it all because I think there is a story in all of this. You’ll see when the EP comes out I have been blessed to express my art and I also have trained in dance which we’ll be shown in my music videos soon to come. When it comes to fashion I hope to partner up with some brands and maybe start my own collection someday. I most definitely plan to do more fashion because you guys haven’t seen anything yet.
Where do you see yourself in the future?
I hope to be nominated for a grammy within the next five years. I want to manifest that and work towards it. I also really hope to produce a lot more and to get back on TV within the next year just to get back on the acting flow. Im really big on longevity and consistency. I really hope to top myself every year so if one year I produce one film, the next I hope to produce three. Im really excited to see where I grow in these next couple of months because from where I started this EP to where I’m at now, Ive grown so much and this EP is me. When you’re an actor you spend hours playing someone else but now I’m playing the character of myself through art and cinema.
Congratulations on everything you’re working on. I can’t wait to see more about you in the near future.
Thank you so much! I’m looking forward to everything.