In His First - OK, Second - Movie
If you have heard of Andre 3000, it is more likely that you have "heard him." Unless you're ninety years old and never watch TV, or listen to the radio, you would be hard pressed to have never heard of "Outkast."
"Outkast," you know, is a band who has won a plethora of Grammy Awards and has been lauded on national television by the Bush Twins - during the 2004 Republican National Convention.
I had the opportunity to sit with each of the "Four Brothers," recently, in New York City. (You most likely have read my interviews with the film's anchor star, Mark Walhberg and Garrett Hedlund, who plays the youngest brother.)
Andre Benjamin, who made his motion picture debut earlier this year in "Be Cool," in a supporting role, (come to think of it, most roles in "Be Cool" were supporting), was eager to find a role in a film that he could sink his teeth into, a role that he would be able to be something other than "Andre 3000."
"When I am on stage," reveals Benjamin, " I am in character. I am in makeup. I am in costume. I am not Andre Benjamin. I am a performer, entrertaining a stadium full of people that have come to see 'Outkast' perform, and who have paid a lot of money. I don't want to let them down. I want to give them what they want."
And, if you believe what you read and see, Andre 3000, nee Benjamin, delivers. He was voted Best Dressed Male by Esquire Magazine last year. And Outkast concerts consistently sell out.
Whether audiences want to see him on the big screen, though, is the big question of the moment.
What compels singers to become actors - one of the biggest cases-in-point - Mark Wahlberg?
Benjamin has the answer, "It's a natural progression. When you're on stage, you are acting. Acting in films is just the next logical step. I have acted, though, since a kid in plays. But once Outkast started making music videos, which are mini movies, I realized I wanted to act in movies longer than five minute videos."