‘Collateral Beauty’ Actor Jacob Latimore Talks Advice From Will Smith and ‘Sleight’

Jacob Latimore is on a creative roll: His first album, “Connection,” was released at the beginning of December, and he’s starring with Will Smith in the Warner Bros. pic “Collateral Beauty.” He also has two other films in the works: He’ll play the central role of Bo, a young street magician, in WWE Studios’ “Sleight,” scheduled to open in April, and he’s working with Kathryn Bigelow on an untitled Detroit-based project.

How was working with Will Smith?

It was incredible. He was telling me, “You gotta come at me — don’t respect me in this scene.” Because I’m the youngest in the cast, and I’m the newcomer on the block, I had to prove myself. And I had to put aside the fact that I was working with the biggest movie star in the world.

One of the greatest things he said to me was, “If we can make people laugh and cry in one scene, we’re killing it.” When I looked at the movie, I found myself crying and laughing, and I told myself, “Man, he was right.” There’s not a dry eye in the room, and there’s a smile on everyone’s face because the movie brings a beautiful energy.

Your character, Raffi, is meant to embody time. Was it difficult playing an abstract concept?

I thought too hard in the beginning, like “What is time? Where is he? Is he a young black kid like me? Does he wear Timberlands and gray hoodies?” It was important to me to truly understand time. What we do in this life is so important, because time doesn’t care — time doesn’t rewind when you want to go back and redo something. It won’t wait, and that’s why I wanted
to be so aggressive with Raffi’s tone.

Your role in “Sleight” is quite different.

I wanted to be as prepared as possible and soak up the magic world and the hard street world. I had to learn about electromagnetic stuff, because Bo takes a crazy turn with his magic.

What inspired you to get into film?

I thought music was really my thing, but I knew I had to try different things. I knew I wanted to dive in, and I started pressing people.

What you didn’t know about Jacob Latimore

AGE: 20 Birthplace: Milwaukee ACTING INSPIRATIONS: JAMIE Foxx, Shia LaBoeuf, Raven-Symoné FAVORITE SHOWS GROWING UP: “The Cosby Show,” “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” FIRST FILM: 2011’s “Vanishing on 7th Street”

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