NEXT JENERATION NOW:
BY: Kayla Reyes
Edited By: Tai Perkins
PHOTOS BY: Jennifer Le
“I was just like God if you give me this I’ll never ask for anything again.”
Being versatile and multi-talented in any industry is definitely possible but also very impressive! Aml Ameen represents just that for the new Jeneration. From his charisma to his incredible acting skills, Aml Ameen is the talk of the town. Born and raised in North London by his Jamaican parents, Aml knew since he was a young boy he wanted to become an actor. He followed his dream and soon burst into the film industry both in the UK and the U.S. Known for his killer performance in Kidulthood, Aml is now working with some of the biggest names such as Idris Elba and is recognized for his great energy, dedication and hard work.
Although this is the first time Next Jeneration has met with Aml Ameen, his humbleness and enthusiasm brightens up the room in just seconds!
Next Jeneration: First off congratulations on Yardie!
Aml Ameen: Thank you!
Next Jeneration: So, tell me a little bit more about yourself. I know you starting acting when you were younger, what age did you start?
Aml Ameen: I went to a stage school called Barbara Speake when I was six years old. It was the same stage school Naomi Campbell went to and Phil Collins. I kind of just fell in love with acting and entertainment growing up cause I used to watch a lot of 1940s movies with my mom - Ginger Rogers, Fred Astaire. I was definitely into Home Alone as a kid, I loved Home Alone. I just grew up doing it - stage, musicals, working with different artist and then when I left school - six to sixteen - I went to normal college and said alright it’s time to go into serious acting.
Next Jeneration: So, that's when you knew you wanted to take acting serious?
Aml Ameen: I knew from way back, but I was like okay now I need a job. The first one I did that was my break out film is a film called Kidulthood and its really big in the UK. It's kind of like Larry Clarks’ Kids meets Boyz In The Hood meets Sea of Gods it's like a classic alone. So I did that and that was it man.
Next Jeneration: That is amazing - to know what you wanted at such a young age. We know you started working with Michael Jackson at age 11 how was that working with the King?
Aml Ameen: Working with the King of Pop! I remember being in this big building and there must've been like 500 people there. He was doing the Earth song and so we were doing this whole thing where we were singing and dancing. His producers were trying to pick out who would be the people in the Earth song, it was a very multicultural thing. I was just like God if you give me this I’ll never ask for anything again. It was a great experience just to be able to have say that I worked with Michael Jackson and it was such a big moment in my British history.
Aside from acting at a young age, and working with Michael Jackson- Ameen is also working with Idris Elba. This is Idris Elba's directorial debut. Idris Elba is multi talented and has his hands in acting, music, producing and directing.
Next Jeneration: You were working with Michael Jackson at 11 and now you’re working with Idris Elba. What can you say about working with him knowing that this is his first time directing a film?
Aml Ameen: What I can say is he’s a very grounded guy. A very good man. He’s very clear on what he wants. He set the parameters of how he wanted the film to go, how he wanted me to approach as an actor. A lot of fun. He’s a very fun guy and just has crazy amounts of energy! He’s does DJ'ing producing, directing, writing. He’s a force to be reckoned with.
Next Jeneration: Were you able to keep up with him?
Aml Ameen: [Laughs] I am to a degree
and that degree is, he can go from being
on set to going to his studio producing
some music, going and djing then going
back to the studio and writing some
more music. I was like no.
Next Jeneration: The music life is different.
Aml Ameen: Yeah it is. I was like 'yo this is
a different life.' My younger brother is
a music artist and their lifestyle is
definitely different than a writer and actor.
Next Jeneration: Tell us more about your
character D. I know you went to Jamaica
to work on your accent. How was that?
Aml Ameen: I loved it. I love going to
Jamaica and reconnecting with my
family out there. Everybody took
custodian over my whole performance.
From the actors that were in it to my
aunties and uncles, they all kind of
gathered around and said alright let's help make sure we’re in the ballpark. Anybody that knows Cool Runnings or any of them films, Jamaicans will be like ‘come on man that was terrible’
Next Jeneration: They know the difference especially when it comes to the accents.
Aml Ameen: They know the difference and I at least wanted to get in the ballpark of the accent in the world. It quite changed for me being able to go to all the places my family would have grown up at and having that personal experience. As well as it being a job that I love, it was also a very personal cathartic experience for me.
Next Jeneration: Definitely! That must’ve been a wonderful experience to be there and have the help of your family. When it comes to Yardie, do you think you can relate to your character D in any way?
Aml Ameen: Yeah. We all can relate to the idea of trauma. Everybody’s had a young childhood life and in some way things stick and they dictate the behavior we have today. So, I relate to that element of trauma to a degree. Mine was vastly different from D, thankfully. Mine might be my parents got divorce when I was fifteen. That shifts and changes a person, so all of those things are stuff I can relate to. I feel like everybody can relate to when it comes to this movie.
Next Jeneration: I agree. So, now that you’re done with Yardie what are you working on next? Anything we should look forward to?
Aml Ameen: Yeah. I just finished the sequel to Inside Man which was the Denzel Washington, Spike Lee film. That is coming out on Netflix in September. I just did a film with Blumhouse called Run Sweetheart Run and they are the same people who did Get Out. That is coming out next January. I am also moving towards my own directorial debut.
Aml Ameen: The business is quite nonsensical. Your work effort will not necessarily go on the exact results. You guys know me now but I’ve been doing this forever and a day at a quite strong level. So, you can't necessarily weigh the two up. But if you focus on your passion and the artistry, and staying inspired and away from the b*llshit I think you’ll do alright.
Next Jeneration: You have to really be focused.
Aml Ameen: Seriously. It does take a laser focus because especially during this day and age you have Instagram for example, as amazing it is social media in general can be a cause for mental illness because you start comparing your life to other peoples’. People are snap-shotting their best things. So, I feel like laser focus is a great commodity in this day and age.
Next Jeneration: Definitely! I can agree with that 100 percent. Well, Aml thank you so much. I appreciate your time and again congratulations!
The conversations with Aml were endless. He reminds Next Jeneration and everyone how important is it to stay active in the industry and continue to go out to the movies to see new and current films.
Aml remains his true self and continues to pave the way for upcoming actors. Next Jeneration looks forward to keeping up with Aml Ameen's success.