Recently, TheRichest had the pleasure of speaking exclusively with Page Kennedy, actor and rapper who has starred on several TV shows including his role of Radon Randell in the Spike sports comedy series, Blue Mountain State, U-Turn in the Showtime series, Weeds, and the part of Gerald in Rush Hour. He also starred in several movies such as See Dick Run and S.W.A.T. Kennedy, a former Vine superstar, released his first full-length rap album titled Torn Pages last year which features rappers Royce Da 5'9, Crooked I, Trick Trick and more.
We were excited to talk to Kennedy about what it's like to have dual careers in the entertainment industry as well as his upcoming sci-fi/fantasy Warner Bros. movie, The Meg which will hit theaters on Aug. 10, 2018.
TheRichest: You’re starring in the new sci-fi/fantasy film The Meg which has a star-studded cast with actors like Ruby Rose, Jason Statham, and Rainn Wilson. As we understand it, the movie is about a 75-foot-long prehistoric shark known as “The Megalodon” who wreaks havoc on a deep-sea crew, trapping them below the water’s surface. Can you tell us more about the movie?
Page Kennedy: It’s a movie that is based on a book, a trilogy by Steve Alten and it’s a look into somewhere we haven’t been very often. It’s an underlayer of the ocean floor where there is different aquatic life that resides there that we don’t know about, The Meg being one of them, and through certain circumstances, The Meg was able to come to our atmosphere and basically, it’s the story of a team of workers who study aquatic life. A billionaire has put together this facility and we’re all observing the animals and when we encounter The Meg, that’s when everything goes awry.
TR: How did you find out about this role? What drew you to the script?
PK: The audition came down the pipe as they so often do. I actually wrote a song about it on my album, I have an album that comes out the same day as the movie and the song is called “The Audition Part II: The Meg” where I detail exactly what happened. Basically, I found out about the audition from my agent and ironically enough, when I went to audition, I saw Rainn Wilson’s name there which is a friendly face to me because two years prior to that, I starred in a TV show called Backstrom with him on Fox. So I was happy to see him there and the director happened to be the pilot director of Rush Hour, the TV show that I had just done the year before that. I waited for three months and then I got the part at the last minute.
TR: You are an actor and a rapper. Do you find that these two creative outlets go hand in hand at times? Does working on one craft help you with the other craft?
PK: I think so for me because a lot of my acting is represented in my music because I’m a really good storyteller when it comes to rapping. I feel like that’s my strong suit and because I’m so in love with Shakespeare and because I love words so much, that goes hand in hand with rapping. Shakespeare was the first rapper. I think they wash each other’s hands and the colors that I have in my music come directly from my ability to be able to entertain as an actor.
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TR: How important is it for someone to follow your passions in their career?
PK: You can pray, you can hope, you can wish, you can put all of your energy into something but until you actually go out and attempt to make it happen yourself, it will never transpire. I feel like going after your dreams is a must.
TR: We heard that you snuck onto Sony’s studios as a messenger in order to hand deliver your headshot and resume to the right hands which ultimately led to your audition and the role that you won as Roger on the 2001 comedy movie, The Kennedys. Can you tell us about that experience?
PK: I got the idea from Don McKay. Don McKay is an actor who I worked with in the Shakespeare festival and he told me that if I ever wanted to come to Los Angeles to hit him up and he would show the ropes. So he knew about this audition and he saw that they were looking for an inspiring DJ… the irony of that. I thought I’m a rapper so this is right up my alley. He told me where the audition was and I had never done this before. I only got to Los Angeles a month earlier from graduate school and he said to pretend like I was making a delivery. And I was like, how do I do that? I don’t even have a car. So basically, my friend drove me to the studio, and this was pre-9/11, grant you, so it wasn’t as difficult as it would be now, so I told them I was making a delivery. I don’t know what courier would need two people to make a delivery but they let me in. I got the casting director’s assistant. She saw that I didn’t have any representation and that I didn’t actually have an audition but she saw that I had a lot of theater training, 25 theater credits, and called me a week later… the rest is history. Deborah Barylski was the casting director at the time.
TR: Obviously this was a huge risk for you. How important is it to take calculated risks in your career?
PK: It’s very important because had I not taken that risk, who knows where I would be right now? I could possibly be like a lot of the actors that came from my theater program who are great actors but just couldn’t get the right agent for real opportunities. Sneaking into that audition got me an agent and that’s how it started, going out for real stuff. It’s a very tough game that they play out there. In order to get a good agent, you need to have credits but in order to get credits, you need to have an agent. So without me taking that risk, who knows the direction that my life would have taken?
TR: What advice can you give an aspiring actor when choosing a role?
PK: I would say that you should try to choose roles that best show off your best assets, whatever it is that you do best to allow you to shine the brightest. I would look for roles like that and that way, it lends you the opportunity to do more things that you want to do once they see that you shine and thrive.
TR: Can you tell our readers what’s coming up in your rap career? Any new albums, tours, etc…
PK: Yes, I have my second album that is coming out the same day that The Meg drops. The album is called Same Page, Different Story and it comes out Aug. 10, 2018, and it has some great songs on there. I have a song called “The Audition Part II” #TheMeg. I had a song on my first album, Torn Pages, called “The Audition” but this is Part II. It talks about the specifics about how I got this role and it gives details about the ins and outs of Hollywood that people don’t know and specifically, about this movie and what I had to go through to get the role. I think people will like it. It’s very melodic and the album has a lot of stories on it.
TR: What are some aspects of producing a rap album that fans may not truly appreciate?
PK: It’s very expensive to create because there are so many little details. One thing that people might not know about is the mixing and mastering process. So after I create a song and I go to a studio and I pay for the beat and I pay for the studio time, that’s not it. Then I have to send it out somewhere else typically to have them mix and master each song which costs more than the beat and the studio session because what they’re doing is bringing out all of the individual sounds and leveling them so it’s not just a raw voice from the studio. So that’s something that I didn’t know and maybe others don’t know about.
TR: What advice can you give to our readers who might be aspiring actors or aspiring rappers?
PK: Be real to yourself, push yourself. Be great and care about being great and care about leaving music or projects that last forever. That years later, if someone comes along, they can still be moved by your work. To me, that’s the difference between newer music today from a lot of the younger artists, they do whatever is happening right now, whatever the wave is right now. But waves come and go like trends. But if you do something from the heart and it means something and you tell stories… stories never get old. Shakespeare has taught us that. Stories will be stories no matter what time it is.
TR: Can you tell us what the process is like collaborating with other rappers?
PK: For my first album, I had built relationships over the years through social media. I have an outgoing personality so I reached out. I reached out to people I didn’t know because the worst thing they can do is either ignore you or say no but that shouldn’t stop you from trying. I’m big on shooting your shot and trying because a closed mouth doesn’t get fed.
TR: You’ve also accumulated quite the social media following, do you have any tips for growing your social media following?
PK: Consistency. That is the key. No matter what it is that you choose to do, just do it consistently. Create a schedule and work hard and whatever that is that you do, be consistent with it because people want to watch things that they know are going to be there. You know, we want to watch Modern Family because we know that on Wednesday nights at 9 o’clock, it’s going to be there. I don’t know if that’s actually the time but consistency is the key and I think that’s what worked for me when I was on Vine, we took it as a job, nine to five, Monday through Friday. We all got together and shot Vines. We had all these Vines non-stop and it came on at the same time and that’s how you grow your audience because we were constantly putting out content. It can’t grow if you’re not putting out content on a regular basis. And that’s the way that you keep your engagement up so consistency is the key. There’s no Vine anymore, but I still put up funny videos on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube.
TR: How do you balance all of your different interests?
PK: I have creative ADD so I am constantly switching gears and my brain is working in different ways and I’m also trying to figure out how do I intertwine them all and so as far as the movie… we actually shot this movie a while ago in 2016 and it’s just now coming out so last year, I was already prepared that the movie would be released in August 2018 so I planned out an album to have released [at the same time]. Because people might start checking for me now, I’m getting into doing more skits just so I can have all of my ducks in a row.
TR: Being in the ultra-competitive entertainments fields that you are in, can you tell us how you have dealt with rejection in the past? What has been the inspiration for you to keep going when situations like that arise?
PK: Rejection is something that you’re going to have to get used to because that’s going to happen 98 percent of the time. For me, I kind of tried as best I can to do the auditions and try to forget about them because if you harp on them and they linger and you think about them, that’s when you get in trouble because most of the time, you’re not going to get it. So if you do it and then you try to forget it about it and if you get it - that’s just the way that I deal with it because to do every audition, being super optimistic and hoping and praying that you get this one, that gets tiring because it’s usually no so I do the best that I can and then I move on.
TR: Page, I want to thank you so much for the time that you took out of your busy schedule today to talk to TheRichest.
PK: Thank you very much.