Yesterday I blogged about my five favorite chick flicks, and jokingly included the classic Friday the 13th: Part VIIIâ€”Jason Takes Manhattan. I mentioned a scene midway through the film, where the token black character (aka Julius) is killed by Jason when his head is knocked off his shoulders while boxing. The scene boasts all the black tokenism Hollywood can musterâ€”the black character is wearing a jogging suit; he utters things like “What’s up?” quite often; and, of course, he’s the athletic one. (heaven forbid the token black character have, oh, smarts).
Anyhow, I did a tad more digging, and it turns out the token black character was played by Vincent Craig Dupree, an veteran bit actor who has appeared in everything from Eastwick to A Different World to Martial Law.
My favorite two gigs, however, are these:
In 1991, Dupree was credited as, literally, “Black Man on Bus” in a film called “Dutch.”
In a 1995 episode of Knight Rider, he was “Gang Member #1.”
Ah, to be black and an actor …
PS: I actually found a brief interview with Dupree, where he explained the appeal of appearing in a Friday the 13th film …
Quote: “I came to Los Angeles and did what every aspiring actor does – I’d go up Hollywood Boulevard one day, down the other, dropping off pictures and resumes. And sometimes people would call back. I started working right away. Part VIII was my first starring role. From what I heard, they had been looking around at a lot of other big cities for this particular character, because they wanted someone with boxing experience and a street edge kind of thing. And I’m not a big guy – 5’10ï¿½ and like 160 pounds. So there I am in the audition with all these local boxers who were way bigger that I was. I had like four layers of sweatshirts on and was really trying to fake it. And after the reading, Rob was like, ‘Awesome! I felt the character. You nailed it. But you’re not fooling anybody. How long would it take you to get some meat on you?’ From there on out, all I did was eat until the movie started.
The funny thing, prior to Part VIII, is that I didn’t have any knowledge of the horror genre. I didn’t even know that I was going to shoot a Friday the 13th until I was at the airport. At first the movie was called ‘Burial at Sea,’ and then ‘Ashes to Ashes.’ So I was in the little first-class area waiting to board, and Kelly Hu comes up to me and says, ‘Hey, are you going up to shoot Friday the 13th?’ I said, ‘Am I what?’ That’s when I put two and two together – all I knew was that they were going to pay me to go beat up some killer.” – pg. 198, Crystal Lake Memories