Exclusive Interview: American Actor Samuel Lee Fudge, Bringing Marcus Garvey to Life in 'Mosiah'
Updated: Oct 17
Heroes' Day Special - Actor-Director's Portraying the Jamaican Revolutionary in a Distinctive Film: "I even cut my hair to match his. I ate the same foods as he once did and read the same books"
Samuel Lee Fudge Embracing the Role of Marcus Garvey
Jamaica's Heroes Day is celebrated today, and one of the nation's heroes is the revolutionary Marcus Garvey. Before Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Garvey was the leader of Pan-Africanism, with a nationalist ideology that aimed to unite people of African descent worldwide. Through his teachings, Garvey also promoted self-reliance and economic independence, earning praise from Martin Luther King himself.
While there have been previous documentaries about Marcus Garvey, this film first narrative piece to exclusively delve into his life. This film is titled 'Mosiah.' This film is a production by the American actor and writer, Samuel Lee Fudge which was directed by Jirard. It made its debut at the Detroit Film Festival in the United States on September 27 and is scheduled for screenings in Negril, Jamaica, from October 6 to 7, followed by another screening in Kingston, Jamaica in the near future.
In an interview with Kaboom magazine, the director-actor shared his experiences during the production process, his approach to learning about the character, and more.
"I first learned about Marcus Garvey when I was around 9 or 10. By that time, I already had a strong admiration for black leaders and activism, and Marcus Garvey was always my favorite. What intrigued me most about Marcus Garvey was his strong advocacy for Pan-Africanism and Black empowerment. Garvey's approach to uniting black people was unique and far different from other activists," he honestly explained. "The social issues I experienced in my own community allowed me to relate and connect with Garvey in ways that were incomparable. My connection to Garvey led me to study his legacy beyond my youth," Fudge added.
The American actor understood that he was embarking on a mission and taking on a significant responsibility when portraying the character of Garvey. "I knew I only had one shot to get it right. I strongly feel that the responsibility of representing Marcus Garvey was bestowed upon me. In playing Garvey, the responsibility of honoring his legacy was significant to me. I worked diligently to ensure I portrayed him in the best, most honest, and genuine way possible. This approach allowed me to breathe new life into Marcus Garvey for a modern audience. It became my personal goal to deliver a stellar performance that future generations can study forever," Fudge fervently explained.
He describes his intense preparation for portraying Marcus Garvey in a film.
"I engaged in copious amounts of praying and libations. Frequently, while on set, I called upon the spirit of Marcus Garvey to guide me in my portrayal of him. I also fasted several times leading up to production. I made a conscious decision to free my mind and spirit so that Marcus Garvey could take over, which he did. Actors like to 'become' the character when acting, and this was definitely the case for me," he said about the challenging process of embodying the character. "I wasn't just Marcus Garvey on screen; I was also him in my daily life. While on set and in my personal life, I made sure people recognized me as Marcus Garvey. I dressed as he did in pictures, even cutting my hair and facial hair to match his. I ate the same foods as he once did and read the same books. I knew it was necessary to completely change my lifestyle to accurately portray the esteemed Marcus Garvey. I did whatever it took to get there," he explained.
"Some production members even shed tears in between takes because the speeches were so powerful"
Fudge cites Garvey's fearlessness as an inspiring aspect of portraying the character and explains what he took away from the performance. "I gained a stronger desire to pursue entrepreneurship, self-reliance, and true self-reliability. Garvey's legacy proved that black businesses could indeed be prosperous if nurtured by black individuals."
"There were moments on set when people would approach me and express their gratitude for my portrayal of Marcus Garvey," Samuel shared his experiences during the production process. "My performance had inspired them to learn more about Garvey and study his contributions as an activist. These people were of different ages and ethnicities, which was beautiful to me," he further added.
"I also recall scenes when I had to deliver Garvey's speeches. Castmates and extras who acted as audience members were moved and emotional upon hearing Garvey's words. Some production members even shed tears in between takes because the speeches were so powerful," he revealed.
TheAfrican American actor has high expectations for the film. "I aimed to depict Garvey as a personable man. I foresee my performance as Marcus Garvey being a powerful force in igniting social change. Once given the proper platform, this film has the potential to influence millions," he emphasized.
"Once given the proper platform, this film has the potential to influence millions"
These days, you can catch him in the TV series "Genius Season 4," produced by Disney Plus and the National Geographic Channel. "This season centers around the lives of Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X in the 1960s. I play the role of Robert Walker, a Memphis, Tennessee sanitation worker who was accidentally killed while working during a rainstorm. Walker's death led to the 1968 Memphis sanitation strike, which ultimately brought Dr. King to Memphis, where he was ultimately assassinated," the American actor shared, expressing his dedication to using acting as a platform for activism. "I consider myself a performing activist and will continue to play influential and conscious roles like Marcus Garvey to raise awareness of injustices harmful not only to my country but to others around the world," he concluded.