We know him as the comical lead actor Romie in the film Payday. But who really is the man behind the character? Andrew NRG Franklin is a down-to-earth radio deejay who never imagined that his life would be on this current path. He recently won Best Actor for his role in the film at the inaugural Barbados Visual Media Awards.
“It’s still unbelievable. I didn’t expect to win,” he told Bajan Vibes.
The 27-year-old recounted how he came to play the role of Romie in the film written by Shakirah Bourne and directed by Selwyne Browne and Ricky Redman.
“My first participation in Payday was through Shakirah, Selwyne and Ricky. They contacted Snappah [co-star Damien Gibson] and I. I was just trying to do something different and it actually worked out in my favour.
“Selwyne was basically looking for character roles. The initial Romie character that I played, I don’t think that was the role for us in the film; he just wanted actors but when we went to the sitting he just saw the interaction between Snappah and I and he realized it was a good back and forth. So he asked us what we thought about these two roles and we said ‘yes’, not knowing that they were the starring roles in the movie,” he said.
Andrew admitted that he was anxious in the initial stages, but quickly warmed up to the idea of being an actor.
“I was nervous when I first started to do it. When I met people who have been doing it for quite a while I was kind of overwhelmed because they had raw talent,” he said.
“It was kind of difficult for me to make that transition into character . . . It was hard for me to be two people. But when I met those people, they made it easier for me in the way they talked to me. I can now say I like the whole idea of being an actor . . . It’s a different and enjoyable experience so far,” the former Foundation School student said.
Telling jokes – which he did at intervals during the interview with Bajan Vibes – came like second nature to the charming, youthful actor.
However, he said many people were surprised that he actually did the movie since he never liked a lot of talking, even though he is a deejay.
“I wouldn’t say I’m quiet, but that would be just my opinion. I started deejaying from when I was 21. I’m not an announcer though, I just play the music. That’s why it was a different transition for me to go from never talking on radio to actually seeing and hearing me on film,” the Slam deejay said.
Andrew was quick to point out that there is a vast difference between him and the character he portrayed
“The only similarity I would say is that Romie is a go-getter and that’s basically me. I try to achieve goals at any cost. Personality wise, I would not say he is like me. I’m definitely a lot quieter. The interaction with Snappah [Pack in the movie] and I is quite close to the interaction we have now,” he said.
As for which profession he will pursue – acting or deejaying – Andrew says he plans to stick with both.
“I would do [acting] along with my deejaying. I’m definitely interested in having it as a career path. The crowds and the interaction I make with people is why I love deejaying and acting. I get to see how the world works. Since I’ve been in film too, I have been open to a lot more networking. I’ve learnt a lot so far,” he said.
He is now looking forward to the Next Payday which comes out in November and “anything else after that”.
“And I know that they have all types of ideas for other films. I’m excited.
“I believe that whatever you put in is what you will receive, so I work hard towards my dreams, goals and whatever I have my mind set on. I won’t let anyone push it back. We always pray for rain, but we never expect the mud, so you shouldn’t let anyone rain on your parade,” he told Bajan Vibes.
Andrew is very impressed with the film industry in Barbados at present and hopes to see it continue to grow.
“I think it has been a huge success so far. It’s my first time in it, so I honestly don’t know everything about it, but I believe it is profitable as long as you go with the right steps and you follow through; people would be willing to fund and help. Although the film network is considered to be in its embryonic stage I personally think that it has reached far in its one year,” he said.
With regard to his journey so far, he described it as “awesome”.
“It was fun, but awesome is the right word. I met people I never thought I could have that type of interaction with – guys like Simon [Alleyne] from Laff It Off, in my eyes he’s a big one. Meeting him and those types of guys they help you a lot and are really down-to-earth. He gave me a lot of tips to improve and I like it,” he said with a smile.
So look out world, Andrew is far from finished in the acting arena. In fact, he doesn’t intend to stop until he becomes a household name.
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