‘A Madea Homecoming’: Isha Blaaker brings the drama

Photo Credit: Greg Vaughan

Isha Blaaker is an international multi hyphenate talent-to-watch and you can catch his feature film debut in Tyler Perrry’s A Madea Homecoming.

“A Madea Homecoming” is the latest film in the Madea franchise and continues to follow the journey of Perry’s infamous femme senior character, Madea, as she prepares to welcome her family who have all come into town to celebrate her great-grandson’s graduation from college, when some hidden secrets threaten to destroy the joyous family homecoming. The film features all-stars of the Made franchise, including Tamela Mann (Cora), David Mann (Mr. Brown), Cassi Davis Patton (Aunt Bam) as well as a guest appearance from iconic Irish actor Brendan O’Carroll, who matches Madea’s comedic prowess as Agnes Brown.

Before landing the role of Davi in A Madea Homecoming, Isha had a handful of recurring appearances in television, appearing on the Emmy-nominated HBOMax series, “The Flight Attendant,” opposite Kaley Cuoco, as well as Violet Hour Media’s horror-thriller series, “Red Riding Hoods,” and a SBS6 action series, “DNA” in the Netherlands. Isha also has a flourishing modeling career but credits acting as his true passion and a daily commitment next to modeling. 

Check out my interview with Isha!

A Madea Homecoming is your debut leading role. How does it feel?

Isha: It was an experience. Even the speed of the project, I got the audition at, I think, 6pm and it was due the next day. It was nine pages and I had to get an Irish accent and I couldn’t do that, I could do a British accent. I pulled an all nighter and got it done. A month later, I got the call and they said, ‘hey, we want you,’ and then I had a week to prepare. They changed the accent to a Dutch accent, and I’m from the Netherlands, but I haven’t spoken like that in five years. I’d learned to speak in an American accent. So, I had to go find all of that back. Buy, yeah, it’s a leading role, so there’s a lot of text and scenes that I have to get down as well. It was an amazing experience and I grew a lot as an actor and I’m very thankful to have been a part of it.

What kind of things did you do to kind of get your accent back?

Isha: I remembered I had one old video of me speaking in that accent. I was super surprised because I thought I had almost no accent and when I heard it, I was like, ‘Oh, wow.’ It must’ve been when I first got to America. I kind of know the Dutch accent, so I just made sure that I was constantly in it. I didn’t leave that accent until we wrapped filming. And all my friends were like, ‘What are you doing?’ I’m like, ‘I just got to do this, I gotta stay in this accent.’ And even after the movie, funnily enough, it inspired me to really get my British accent down. I started working with a speech coach. Audrey LeCrone and we’ve been working on my British accent ever since So, it was inspiring for future work as well.

Were you a Madea fan before auditioning for the movie?

Isha: I had actually never seen a Madea movie before. I knew it was a comedy, even though my scenes were mostly dramatic. I had to really find that, kind of that nature of where it’s at. Every set that you come on, every project that you do has its own thing. This one’s was the comedy and the improv. Funnily enough, though, there was a similar character back home in the Netherlands, so I kind of knew the things that she would bring to set but that’s all I could go off.

Photo Credit: Greg Vaughan
This franchise has been around for years, what was it like kind of being the new kid coming into it?

Isha: Honest confession, I was really nervous. For the first three days, I think I was super nervous and then I just worked through it. Luckily, he shoots from a lot of different angles and shoots scenes quite a few times. We shot certain scenes multiple times, so I got to do scenes over when I felt nervous. But yeah, you know, you’re on set with heavy hitters, people who’ve done the movies12 times already and then they’ve done the play for years. So, I just tried to stay open as an actor and learn the things that were new to me like comedy and improv. But yeah, that and staying humble. That was the biggest one.

What was it like to work with Tyler Perry not just as your director but also as a co-star?

Isha: He’s a force. That’s one thing you know, I’d heard before, that, you know, when you’re on set with certain actors and you see a character that’s hashed out, played for years and the actor knows it back and forth, it’s a force to be reckoned with. And then to be on set with him, you feel that presence immediately, not just as a director, but also as a character. And you know, you have to give back, you have to play, you have to give back even though, maybe, you’re the new guy on set. But you have to give, and I did everything that I could to do that.

In regard to your character, Davi, what was your reaction to his storyline and all of the drama?

Isha: Yeah, I don’t know. I think Brandon’s (Black) character, Tim, was very forgiving. I don’t know how forgiving I would have been if I found out my best friend had done that. Thank god that it’s a positive movie with a positive ending and everybody ends on a happy note.

Honestly, I did not expect that at all.

Isha: That’s funny. I had a friend who watched it together and she was like, ‘Oh, I saw that!’ and then the rest was like, ‘Oh, I didn’t know! You had me in suspense the whole movie.’ So that was fun. It’s fun to see other people’s reactions, you know, while I’m just sitting down minute to minute just really assessing how I did and how I do in the next minute and bla bla bla and other people actually get to enjoy the movie. 

Photo Credit: Greg Vaughan
What was your favorite part of filming this movie?

Isha: Letting go and just playing. Once I got that this was about the improv, this was about the jokes, that’s when it became fun and when I realized that Tyler Perry actually gives you a lot of freedom and you should take that, you know, within the confines. But yeah, that was actually the most fun part of it. That and actually making friends. Brandon Black and I still hang out. We still talk and we had every scene together. It was our first feature film together. It was cool making a friend. And Candace Maxwell, we still talk when we can and we hang out. Yeah, just to be along for this ride from start to end, it was like a whirlwind and now with the premiere as well, there’s so much coming at me- so many interviews and all these preparations. I’m taking my mom there. It’s just one big beautiful experience and I’m along for the ride. All my agents and managers are helping out and I’m just thankful to be here.  

What are you most excited for people to see when they watch the movie?

Isha: I haven’t watched a lot of comedies and when I watched the movie, I was like, ‘oh yeah, movies are supposed to be fun and entertaining. Take your analytical mind out of it.’ And I think it’s a good thing to put a good, positive movie out and to make people laugh and smile. I saw my friends and family smile when we watched it together and that’s a good thing. It’s good to put positivity out in the world. And even with a good message because my friends afterwards started this whole discussion about what it’s like to be a black man in America or a black man from Europe, which is what Davi is and what I am and I thought well, that’s perfect. You get the best of both sides.

Thank you so much for chatting with me, is there anything else that you’d like to add about A Madea Homecoming?

Isha: Just go watch it. Tune in, enjoy, and have fun. I think the world could use a lot of positivity. Mr. Perry said that when we started and I definitely want to reiterate that. 

Tyler Perry’s A Madea Homecoming is now streaming on Netflix!