Actor Laz Alonso reunites with Paula Patton from their 2011 film, Jumping the Broom, where the pair top billed the romantic flick of two polar opposite families coming together in the name of love, for their new thriller Traffik. More than just adrenaline inducing action and sharp cinematography, Traffik, written and directed by Deon Taylor (Meet the Blacks,) also lends it’s platform to a much distressing issue, sex trafficking.
The Avatar actor plays Darren, friends of John and Brea, played by Almost Christmas veteran Omar Epps and Patton, the cocky sports agent who lends the pair his isolated estate for Brea’s birthday weekend. Their visitation takes a menacing sharp turn when Brea, a news reporter, discovers a harrowing secret leading the group to the deadliest challenge of their lives.
We caught up with the Washington D.C. native as he give us insight on his character, the diversity topic in Hollywood and more.
The Source: Tell us about your character Darren.
Laz Alonso: “Everybody has this friend- whether male or female, that you got to work yourself up when it’s time to hang with them because it can be a lot to handle and deal with. That’s him. He definitely doesn’t muffle his words. He’s going to tell you what’s on his mind and you won’t have to figure him out. At the end of the day he’s a typical person trying to mask his insecurities with his successes and his ego by trying to distract you with all the great things he’s done, like a humble bragger.
What’s interesting about Darren in this movie is to get to see both things- you get to see him at his highs and his lows.”
Can you relate to him in anyway?
“I think we all have a bit of Darren in us at different times. The problem with Darren is that his [ego] is his suit of armor, he wears that 24/7. He doesn’t understand how to get out that mode. He feels like his mouth is his super power and he doesn’t understand sometimes you just got to be still. This movie shows a lot of that; everybody has something to hide and everybody gets exposed, and at the moment when you try to be still, everything goes crazy.”
It’s all about balance!
“We have this sense of entitled security. We think we live in a safe place and it isn’t until something drastic happens that we’re reminded that we’re not safe, and no one has our back. Some of us get reminded of that more than others unfortunately, but we have to remember we are not living in the utopia of safety. Just going to your car, something can happen. You always have to be aware.
That’s something else this movie did for me- it removed the veil. I used to think sex trafficking only happened overseas, or that little side shop there, something shady is probably happening, but I’m not going in there. But there could be someone’s daughter in there. Or that moving truck going down the street may be filled with people and not furniture. That’s what makes you think.”
Diversity is the hot topic – six months from now we’ll be done with it?
“I don’t ever want that conversation to stop. We have to keep talking about diversity. We have a long way to go. Just because a couple people get a few Oscars- doesn’t mean we’ve arrived. As long as we as a society is integrated with blacks, whites, Latinos, Asians, Middle Eastern- every race, as long as they make up our audience, those same people should also make up the people who make the films, behind the cameras and the executive suites. Producing, writing, editing and sound design- everything!
Diversity could never not be a topic because the idea that, ‘I got a permanent seat at the table’ I think we’ve come to realize that does not exist. We all have to do our part so that it’s something we don’t overlook.”
I see you got the NBA playoffs on, who’s your team?
“My Wizards! I’m from Washington, D.C.”
Nice! I’m from Cleveland. Do you think LeBron James is staying next year or moving to another team?
“That’s a tough one- I don’t know because it’s so hard to predict with LeBron because he can do whatever he wants. Anything that happens, I wouldn’t be surprised; if he stays, I wouldn’t be surprised or if he leaves I wouldn’t be surprised.”
Traffik opens in theaters nation wide today!