When I think of Marques Houston, I immediately think of my younger sister’s childhood obsession with the late 1990’s boy group Immature. My sister had posters, she went to their concerts, and was especially obsessed with Marques.
Fast forward to today, and my sister’s childhood crush has grown up and can be seen as the leading man in Chris Stokes’s feature film, “Battleground America.”
Shadow and Act caught up with Marques last week to learn more about this project and his views on the films theme of mentorship.
S&A: What can our readers expect when they see “Battleground America”?
Marques Houston: One thing you can expect is me (laughter). I’m just playing. When people see this film one thing that they are not going to expect is a great story. When people think of dance films, they don’t really think of good stories. This film can be seen as a father and son relationship film. The dancing in the film is just the topping.
S&A: When I watched the film, I did not expect to see its family slant.
MH: Yes, it is a family-orientated film. It teaches you that you don’t have to be the most talented competitor. It’s not all about talent; it’s about believing in yourself and knowing what you are capable of, and really understanding that. It’s not about individuality, it’s about team work. Even a family needs to work as a team.
S&A: Can you tell us about your character Sean Lewis?
MH: Sean Lewis is very shallow. He thinks that he is deep, but he isn’t. He’s a jerk. What he doesn’t realize is that he doesn’t have any substance. He has no core. He grew up rough, but he forgot where he came from, in order to get t where he is today. This kid Eric in the film helps remind him of where he comes from.
S&A: How was it working with Chris Stokes? What type of director is he?
MH: He is very hand on. When he has something in his mind, he knows exactly how to get it. Chris believes in the actors being great in order to make the project great.
S&A: How was it working with the children on set?
MH: It was amazing to see them so focused, and dialed into their lines and routines.
S&A: Mentoring youth is a major theme throughout the film. Do you mentor youth?
MH: Yes, I do. God has allowed me to communicate well with people who are younger than me.
S&A: Who are your mentors?
MH: God has been my number one inspiration. I also look up to Will Smith and Jamie Fox who are also personal friends of mine. They give me great career advice. I would also include Chris Stokes, as a filmmaker and music producer. I’ve been working with him since I was eight.