SHEEN Magazine sat down with the very handsome actor Kenneth Wayne in his recent lead role in TV One’s Sinners Wanted.
Sinners Wanted is anything but ordinary. It is the depicted Bible story of the Prophet Hosea and his decision to marry Gomer, a known prostitute. The movie modernizes these events and chronicles the journey of a young pastor chosen to lead a prominent church in DC.
Pastor Shepard (Kenneth Wayne) is unconventional and believes all are welcome in God’s House. He not only opens the doors to the church, but the doors of his heart swing open falling for Gigi (Asley Rios) a prostitute with a salacious past. Church leaders catch wind of the love soiree and heads roll urging the pastor to choose between winning souls or following church protocol.
Written and directed by Joshua Jenkins and Jimmy Jenkins, find out how it all goes down. Sinners Wanted stars Lamman Rucker, Clifton Powell, Kenneth Wayne, Traci Braxton, Ashley Rios, Tasha Cobbs-Leonard, Roland Martin and Anthony Brown and airs on TV ONE on Saturday, April 11, at 12pm EST and on Sunday, April 12 at 4pm EST.
What initially attracted you to this role?
Well for me it was the opportunity to work with my friends again—Jimmy, Josh and Ashley. Ashley and I worked on a play together about six months prior to Sinners Wanted. And the chemistry from there made me really excited to work with everyone again.
How did you prepare for this role? Did you watch other pastors to get the dynamics of preaching?
So here’s the crazy thing, I did not really grow up in the church. And people are usually shocked by that. So whenever I attended church as a kid, I took a game board with me and I didn’t pay attention (laughing). So going into it, I had to find some inspiration. I then reached out to Pastor Jenkins and I sat in on a bunch on his sermons just to see what it was like for him to interact with the community and the people of the church, and what it is to be an over all pastor. And that really helped with my performance in terms of my sermons and how to treat the congregation, as well as the message we wanted to send.
This role has lots of twists and turns. Please talk about how you fell for Gigi who was a known prostitute.
So a lot of people are not familiar that this story is a modern adaptation of Gomer and Hosea in the Bible. What I really learned from this is when you really love someone, it has to be unconditionally. There has to be no fear, no walls and no judgment. And I personally feel like that’s how God loves us and so who are we to really deny that type of love to another human being? That was my personification through this role and responding to the Elders and the backlash from the congregation.
Please share what it was like working with the veteran actors like Lamman Rucker and Clifton Powell.
Oh my goodness, it was great. I was really nervous and I had very bad anxiety. So when they told me I would have an actual scene with them, I was not sure and all of my preparation went out of the window. Clifton was great. His dressing room was right next to mine. So we were going over a few scenes one day on and we went over to knock on Clifton’s door and the first thing that went through my head on repeat is—do not bring up Pinky from Friday (laughing). I feel he gets a lot of that. But he opened the door and he was the coolest person ever. He was so inviting and calm and that made me relax and be more comfortable going through the scenes.
Did any of them share any pointers with you?
Oh absolutely. Lamman was really like a teacher on set. That was the first thing we went over in between shots. We talked about how to find my mark and my way through a scene via different avenues so that I’m not just giving the same thing over and over. We talked about giving different emotions to the camera. I did not expect to get that from them and I had never worked with anyone who’s had that type of success in their careers.
Why do you think this film is so applicable today and what’s the message you hope people take away?
I think it’s just about unconditional love. You don’t hear of a pastor marrying a prostitute every day. When you find someone and you know it’s real, you have to love them with no barriers and with full transparency or it’s not going to work. That’s the same love we receive from God and that’s what you have to move forward with in your own relationship.
Did you ever improvise during this film?
I probably did. I usually do that whether it’s certain movements or my facial reactions.
Let’s switch gears a bit. There’s lots of women who want to know what kind of lady captures your heart.
I’m into a strong woman. A woman who knows what she wants. I was raised by a strong woman. And this is not to compare mom because I know women do not like that. However, that’s the kind of example I had and I really loved that.
In the film you had a very gentle heart. Is that you in real life?
Oh one hundred percent. That is me in real life. I try to be the kindest person. I feel like if you’re kind to people you get the best out of them which actually brings out the best out you. I put that as my first step forward when I interact with people.
Outside of acting, what are you into?
I just started writing. So I am adapting a short film right now that revolves around the stigma of black people going to therapy. That is something again, dealing with my own anxiety struggles. That was a big inspiration for me trying to write it. I’m hoping that I can get it done during this quarantine.
Speaking of this quarantine and anxiety, what would you say to people who suffer with it and how do manage stress?
Personally, I find peace in knowing that everything is going to be okay. I try to not be influenced by what the media is saying. You have to be safe and be sure of yourself. Find your routine. Get up and read a poem. I read and memorize a poem every week to get my mental state sharp. Meditation and yoga also works.
Featured Image obtained from IMDB