Joseph David-Jones Pushing The Boundaries
Joseph David-Jones is living his childhood dream as he stars in “The 4400.” Having been a fan of the original series, what draws him the most to the story is that it is a sci-fi that also addresses social issues we see today. Having worked hard to connect and best portray his character, the actor poured his heart and soul into this project. Also a singer, Jones is able to tap into his creative side as he writes lyrics and sings to different melodies. Joseph-David Jones is truly pushing boundaries in the entertainment industry and we can’t wait to see what else is to come!
Why were you drawn to auditioning for the upcoming series, “The 4400”?
I loved the show as a kid and when I read the script I was really impressed with their new take on the concept. The idea of taking a sci-fi genre and using it as a medium to address social issues in our world today is enlightening. This show was exactly the kind of project I wanted to lend my voice and creativity to.
What are some differences/ similarities between this one and the 2004 version?
Though the concept of this 4400 is the same as the original there are actually quite a few differences in our story. The first noticeable difference is the inclusivity. You can see how much more diverse this series is with the myriad of different groups represented in the cast, both in race and in sexual orientation. Also, our reimagining focuses more on the characters within the 4400, with each person having their own stories leading up to the event that sent them hurling into the future.
How did you prep for your role? What has it taught you about yourself?
The character I play on the show is “Jharrel Mateo”, a social worker tasked with finding out what happened to the people who vanished and reappeared while helping them reintegrate into society. To prepare for this role I spent a good amount of time talking to social workers, especially ones who specialize with children and families, as well as ones who work alongside the police to aid in the de-escalation of non-violent cases. I wanted to truly understand the weight of the job, so that I could bring that authenticity to Jharrel.
Share with us a story in which your limits were being pushed. What came out of it? How did you handle it?
Last year, after the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin, a couple of film makers and I came together to make a short film that touched on race and the current social climate in this country. This film was plagued with problems from beginning to end! We faced everything from covid restrictions, problems with locations, camera equipment breaking during scenes, and our DP quitting on us midway through the first day of shooting, forcing us to find a replacement during our lunch break. This film definitely tested my resolve not only as an actor but a filmmaker as well. However, every step of the way we pushed through the obstacles and ended up with a film that is not only extremely powerful but timely and poignant.
Growing up, who was someone who had a strong influence on who you are today?
I would say my mother and father. They were my biggest role models growing up and for very different reasons. My father taught me how to be strong and persevere even in the face of life’s most extreme obstacles. My mother taught me how to be kind and respectful, and to always see the good in people.
Was there ever a time where you felt like you couldn’t keep moving forward? How did you? Any advice you would give to others feeling the same?
I vividly remember my second year in LA. I was rooming with six people in a two bedroom, all of us struggling actors with no money and on the verge of possible eviction. Realizing this wasn’t the ideal situation to progress my career, I turned to my family, who graciously opened their doors to me which allowed me to keep at it through that trying time and allowed me to continue my journey toward a successful career. The advice I would give for someone in a similar situation is to never be embarrassed to ask the people who care about you for help.
You are also a singer! What inspired you to pursue that as well?
As an artist, there is a strong desire to express yourself creatively. However, in TV and film the final product generally ends up being a collaborative representation of a hundred different creative visions blended together into one project. Whereas with music, it’s just your creative vision released to the world. Being able to have that level of unencumbered freedom and creative expression is what drew me to pursue music.
Tell us more about your music and what it means to you. What do you hope it means to others?
This album is a compilation of all the genre influences that inspired my love of music today. It is a playlist through who I am as an artist that combines my career as an actor with my passion for music. This album means a lot to me because it gives me the outlet to express myself. I am free of any restrictions and can show the different facets of who I am as well as the different influences that inspire me artistically. Growing up, I felt like I was always placed in a box when it came to my musical preferences. I always felt embarrassed to enjoy different genres of music outside of what was expected of me. I want this album to show people that it’s cool to enjoy whatever genre of music they want to, and to not be embarrassed if they love something different than the people around them.
If you could go back in time to a specific moment (in your life or even history), which would you pick and why?
In 2014 I signed on to do the film “Allegiant,” from the Divergent series. The project was filmed over the course of two months in Atlanta. Because I was a struggling actor at the time, I didn’t have enough money to survive those 2 months while waiting for my first check from production. However, I had about 30 bitcoins in my crypto wallet from a couple years prior. So, in order to pay for my accommodations and food while shooting the movie, I decided to sell all of my bitcoins in a last-ditch effort to survive the shoot until I got paid. I ended up making roughly $30,000 on that film and today the bitcoins I sold would be worth around 1.6 million dollars. If I could go back in time, I would’ve definitely done things a bit differently.
Your next move?
So many things! Currently, I’m working on “The 4400”, my upcoming album, my own film projects, and other scripts I’m developing. My next move is to just find the balance of it all. I would love to find the best way to roll out my various projects while still finding the time to do more.
Talent JOSEPH-DAVID JONES @josephdjones
Photography STORM SANTOS @stormshoots
Grooming ANDREA SAMUELS @andreasamuels
Styling LADONNA WHITTINGHAM @Ladonnaalicia
Interview ALEXANDRA BONNET @alexbonnetwrites