Elijah Kelley made quite the splash as Seaweed in 2007’s Hairspray, but the triple threat opted to put two of his talents aside for the sake of history.
Kelley stars as Samuel ‘Joker’ George in the upcoming film Red Tails. Inspired by true events, the film focuses on the Tuskegee Airmen, a group of African American pilots segregated to their own airbase during WWII. Despite Joker and his buddies’ ability in the air, the army refuses to let them act as bomber escorts, assigning them to merely pick off ground targets. However, when Col. A.J. Bullard (Terrence Howard) steps up on their behalf, the boys get their opportunity to fight and they certainly don’t take it for granted.
Red Tails was quite the undertaking for Kelley on a number of fronts. Having grown up in a town right near Tuskegee, the story really hit home for Kelley and he was absolutely determined to get a role in the film. Even though the actor claims to have bombed his audition, fate intervened and he got the part. However, that was only the beginning. From there it was off to boot camp training and then to the set to bring the Airmen’s story back to life.
Check out what Kelley had to say about the experience in the video interview below and catch Red Tails when it hits theaters on January 20th.
Click here to watch the interview.