Empire star gushes about SA actors

2016-12-18 18:01

Johannesburg - American actor Morocco Omari, who stars in the popular drama series Empire, says he would love to work with talented South African actors.

Omari, 41, who plays FBI agent Tariq Cousins on the hit TV series, told City Press this week how he fell in love with Oscar-winning film Tsotsi the first time he watched it.

“It is one of my favourite movies and I loved the whole cast, but my favourite actors were Terry Pheto and Presley Chweneyagae. I would love to someday work with the two – they are amazing actors,” he said.

He said another South African actress who caught his eye was Pearl Thusi, who is currently playing the character of Dayana Mampasi in US TV series Quantico.

“I was visiting a friend who is an artist when I saw a portrait of her, and when I told him how much I liked it, he mentioned that it was of Pearl,” he said.

He only later found out that she was a South African actress making headway in the US.

“I’m currently writing an epic that I’ll call Black 300 or Black Gladiator, which will feature African warriors from different African regions,” he said.

Asked what he thought of the skills of South African actors, he said: “There is no big difference between acting in South Africa and in the US. There are many great actors out there. All they need is an opportunity.”

It’s not the first time Omari has visited the continent.

“The first time I visited Africa was in 2006, when I came to Kenya and Tanzania. After that I just really had to see every inch of Africa. Now the goal is to see all 54 countries on the continent. My guilty pleasure is travelling,” he said.

“I’m learning about different dances, ethnicities and traditions; this is how I can incorporate them in my TV show. When I travel, I learn, observe and write. I’m a nomadic person sometimes.”

He may not be that well known now, but when his character starts to dominate the show – his role is the villain in the series – TV viewers everywhere will get to know who he is.

Omari has paid much attention to detail to bring his character to life, going so far as to create his own back story.

“I did a lot of research on my character, because as an actor, you’re almost like a palaeontologist. You need to unearth the character, take the script, break it down, rebuild, shift it and make it your own,” he said.

#empireseason3 #tariqcousins #tariqthefreak

A photo posted by Morocco Omari (@morocco.omari.official) on

Omari is planning a southern African Christmas and New Year.

After spending some time in Johannesburg, he is hoping to travel to Mozambique for Christmas and then touch down in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, for a music festival on New Year’s Eve.


A photo posted by Morocco Omari (@morocco.omari.official) on

Asked what inspires him, Omari said: “Life inspires me. I believe that you have one life to live and you have to live life and not just exist by going about life routinely.”

Omari’s hero is the now late US champion boxer Muhammad Ali. “Even when he had Parkinson’s disease, he was still out there signing autographs, talking and meeting with his fans.

“You need to be kind and optimistic. When I go through challenges, I think what doesn’t kill you makes you a warrior. My ancestors went through far more than I did.

“Whenever I put them on a scale, I realise that my issues are nothing in comparison.”

Omari has many projects in store for 2017, including a TV show that he is currently pitching, as well as several films.

The first part of Empire season three ends on Wednesday at 21:00 and it will be back again in March next year.

Read more on:    tv  |  celebrities

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.