Birmingham, U.K.-born Ezra has worked on quite a few TV series across the pond, including crime thrillers “Prey” and “Prime Suspect 1973,” but now he’s the leading man in “All-American,” inspired by pro linebacker Spencer Paysinger.
Despite not having grown up with American football, Ezra found a lot to relate to in his character, a high school athlete from a lower-income neighborhood who gets the opportunity to play for a school in a higher-income district.
“I know what it is to be faced with a decision that could mean everything changes, but it doesn’t make it any easier,” Ezra says. “I related to Spencer in how much he wanted it, but also what it means to leave his mom behind — to leave his community and family behind — to go and chase something you want.”
Although Ezra’s father is a fitness coach, and he’s used to going to the gym regularly, he admits he has to take his routine “to another level…not just for the part, but to survive the shoot” now. After all, American series have more episodes and therefore longer production schedules than his past U.K. projects.
Ezra, who considers Denzel Washington “probably the closest thing to an acting hero” that he has, also wants to be known for what he’s doing onscreen (and on stage), rather than his personal life. But what he is passionate about in both has collided on “All- American,” which explores issues of race, class and inclusion.
“It’s nice to be in a show that I feel like is going to be in that conversation and will hopefully help move the conversation forward,” Ezra says. “We’ve just got a really exciting story to tell that couldn’t be more relevant.”
Agency: Curtis Brown Group
Legal: Peikoff Mahan