Brian Tyree Henry is taking Hollywood by storm and by gosh, the brotha can act! From his role as a super-powered godlike being in Marvel’s Eternals to his comedic charm in the action-comedy film Bullet Train, Henry has already proven he belongs. The young, talented actor recently sat down with Keith Murphy and our partners over at Cassius to talk about his life and career as a Hollywood star. The Morehouse grad revealed that at one point he didn’t even believe he could be an actor.
I thought either you had it or you don’t, and that primarily meant being white, pretty, thin and all that shit,” he told Cassius. “I did theater for fun… I did it for escapism, honestly.”
For many young Black men, certain dreams may seem unattainable. Hollywood has never felt like a place Black folks can flourish. Almost every year #OscarsSoWhite trends on social and were left with questions of inclusion. But Henry hasn’t let those stigmas stop him from achieving. His breakout role in FX’s hit comedy-drama series Atlanta was just the beginning and the future looks bright.
In his recent film Bullet Train, the young Black actor plays alongside Brad Pitt and the two share a riveting fight scene.
Learning fight choreography with Brad Pitt can be an article all by itself. Here’s what Henry had to say about the bucket lister of an accomplishment.
“So Brad and I are trying to figure out how to do all of this different fight choreography where we have to be quiet,” Henry reveals. “At one point [during the scene], I told him, ‘You look like every homeless white man I’ve ever seen. You are going to sit in front of me wearing a bucket hat? Oh, fantastic.’ I just said, ‘Let’s go in, man.’ And Brad had a great time with that. I’ve been fortunate enough to been on this leg of the Brad Pitt Fun Tour.”
As much fun as we know Brian Tyree Henry is having morphing into a household name, he never seems to forget his humble beginnings and how his story can inspire young people to find their way into an industry that needs more of us.
“I grew up as most of us Black men and Black women in a society hearing what we can’t be,” said Henry. “We’ve been told, no, you can’t aspire to be that. Make sure that you push everything down and don’t feel anything. So what I’ve had the absolute honor and grace of being able to discover in acting is it gave me an outlet. It gave me an opportunity to play several different layers and several different sides of who a Black man can be in this world. I just want to constantly do this as a reminder that you can do anything.”
Read more from Cassius’ profile cover story on the inspiring journey of Brian Tyree Henry here.