Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, Lunden De’Leon has seen first-hand the great lengths the film industry has had to go through to keep moving. This includes keeping a six-foot safety distance, wearing masks on set, actors bringing their own costumes and outfits, and using alternate camera angles to enable greater distances between actors. Filming of her latest job has completely halted.
In this interview, Lunden shares how she started a career in acting, and how this has evolved over the years.
- What is your earliest memory of enjoying acting?
As a teenager, I worked a part time job at Burger King in South Carolina. I went to school during the day and worked at night to save up enough money for a one way bus ticket to Hollywood. Finally, I got the ticket and headed out west.
At first, things went well. But, before long, I ran out of money.
I found myself sleeping on a friend’s couch in her studio apartment. She was a struggling actress and asked me to come with her to a movie audition. I had nothing to lose so I went.
I auditioned for the role of a nurse and got the part. I soon signed with her agent and went on to book a number of other acting roles. Going from broke to blessed overnight is most memorable.
- What inspired you to embark on a career on screen?
I stumbled into acting. Growing up, my dad was in a gospel band. I thought music would be my calling. However, after my first acting gig, I knew acting was my purpose.
- What does it mean to you to be a woman of colour on screen?
It means a lot to me. I have other black women standing on my shoulders. As much as I hate to admit it, there’s not enough roles for black women in Hollywood. Be that as it may, instead of waiting for that next “meaty” role, I also write, produce and direct my own projects. That way I can give myself and other women of color an opportunity in this industry.
- Are there other women of colour who you aspire to be like?
Actress Cicely Tyson is God! She’s been acting for decades and plays very strong women. She’s my idol.
- How have you had to make changes in your career during the coronavirus pandemic?
I was in the middle of filming a movie entitled “Payne” right before the outbreak. We had to cancel filming and we’re now waiting to restart production. In the meantime, I’m taking acting classes online and working out at my home gym to stay sharp and fit.
- What is your message to other actors struggling at the moment?
Stay positive. We’ll get through. While waiting for the industry to get “back to norm” look for acting classes online or watch broadway plays via YouTube. It’ll keep your creative juices flowing.
About the expert
Recently nominated “Best Leading Actress” for her role as a high powered attorney in the film “Pure Justice,” actress Lunden De’Leon is no newcomer to television and film.
“There’s nothing more exciting than developing a strong character and taking her from script to screen,” says De’Leon. “I’ve had the opportunity to portray some very powerful women throughout my career and for that I am grateful.”
Having starred in over fifty movies and television shows, De’Leon has worked alongside some of the biggest names in Hollywood. Her list of credits includes the blockbuster comedy “We’re the Millers,” Bravo Television’s “True Fiction”, “Sweet Home Carolina,” “Somebody’s Child” and just recently, the Netflix drama “Blackbear” as well as the thriller “Broken Halos.”
Image description: Headshot of a women with dark skin, eyes and hair. Her hair is long and curly, and falls to the side in front of her shoulder. She wears red lipstick and a black leather jacket. She looks strong and determined.