*Comedian Jay Pharoah steps into the 70s for his role as record executive Cecil Holmes in the true-life music industry-based film, “Spinning Gold.” The film tells the story of one of the biggest independent record labels that came of age during the disco explosion of the 70s.
Pharoah plays the right-hand man of Neil Bogart (Jeremy Jordan). Bogart founded Casablanca records, responsible for introducing fans to Donna Summer, Kiss, and The Village People. The 70s were the era of sex, drugs, and rock and roll; for Pharaoh, the opportunity to play a real-life character from this period attracted him to the role.
“It was a crazy time in the 70s; it was sex, drugs, rock, and roll. Everything was happening. Nobody was sensitive. It was a different time. So when I first heard that, that Tim (Bogart, the film’s director and Neil’s oldest son) wanted me to play a character from that era, I said, ‘hell yes, let’s do it.’ It’s something I’ve never been able to do before. But with Cecil Holmes, I connected to him because Cecil is also a man of God, which I am, too. I curse a lot. I’m trying to stop, but it’s a struggle. I might need rehab for it. There are a lot of words, but it’s nothing. But it can be accomplished if you put your mind to it,” Pharoah explained.
Pharaoh said that’s the same type of narrative for this movie, “put your mind to it, and bet on yourself, no matter who doesn’t believe in you. He also shared, “the story of Casablanca records and Buddha records is to keep faking it until you make it and always have people on your side that ride with you till the end. Because that’s what Cecil Holmes was doing for Neil, he was riding with him until the end. There’s one part where he says, ” Listen, I don’t even see how this will go. And I’ve been with you for everything, every crazy, every calamitous situation, that you have wanted me to be there when I have been there with you. But how in the heck are we going to get through this one? So to be able to play that role was beautiful. Because I have a few people in my circle, I would say, who are really close to me. And I’m like; I would not let anything happen to them. So taking this character on, I applied that personality to Cecil Holmes, and I think it came on screen perfectly.”
Jay Pharaoh as Cecil homes in “Spinning Gold”
Pharoah adds that the other thing he thought was great about the character was that for the period, he was a Black man in the music industry but not just R&B and soul music; he was working on Kiss and giving input on artists from all different genres. “That was a testament to Cecil’s value at the company,” he shared.
“Spinning Gold” features some of today’s hottest music stars playing the icons who inspired them and performing some of their most famous songs, including Grammy and Golden Globe nominee Wiz Khalifa as George Clinton, Jason Derulo as Ron Isley of the Isley Brothers, Pink Sweat$ as Bill Withers, Grammy Award nominee Tayla Parx as Donna Summer and multi-Grammy winner Ledisi as Gladys Knight.
“Spinning Gold” is only in theatres on March 31.
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