Sometimes finding the girl of your dreams can be a nightmare… Jimmy Levar finds himself in a strange dream-like reality in his new film, Finding Ophelia.
New York Advertising Executive William Edgar (Jimmy Levar) is mesmerized by a series of hypnotic dreams that blur the lines between fantasy and reality. His life is thrown into disarray when forced to choose between his career, his relationships and his romantic obsession with a mysterious woman (Christina Chu). Doing whatever it takes to find her leads him down a bizarre, dark path of signs and wonders, and William soon discovers that finding the girl of your dreams can be a nightmare.
Finding Ophelia was written and directed by Stephen Rutterford. The film also stars Alexandra Lyon, J.J. Crowne, Gabriella Whiting, and Makinley Patterson.
Check out my conversation with Jimmy!
How does it feel now that it’s all complete and people actually get to see it?
Jimmy: It feels great. Now, the world or whoever watches it can, you know, have their own feelings about it because what I like is that it gives a different feeling based off of who’s actually looking at it. But it feels great overall.
You’re a musician, a model and an actor, what art form came first?
Jimmy: The first art form was music. And then, you know, I was always being told like, ‘hey, you should try modeling, you have a nice look.’ I don’t take myself so seriously, so I just kind of always put it on the back burner, so to speak. And there was one day, I had just moved to New York and I was walking through Chinatown and somebody randomly came up to me and I guess they were from Japan and they were like, ‘hey, you have a really cool look. We would love to fly you out to Japan for fashion weekend.’ I kind of thought it was bogus. I was like, there’s no way this is actually real, but I took his number. It turned out to be super legit, and they kind of opened doors for me. Acting just kind of came along because modeling is just, you know, taking pictures and posing and I kind of just wanted to start doing more than just taking pictures all the time. I mean I enjoy it, but I just wanted to kind of just get into a field that was just a little bit more challenging for me.
As a musician, how would you describe your music style?
Jimmy: I wouldn’t say alternative, because it’s hard for me to kind of just put it in one category but it definitely gives me like alternative, electric, there is some kind of hip hop influence in there, but it’s more melodic. That’s kind of how I would explain that… But yeah, I mean, I’ve kind of been trying to figure out what my sound was for, for so long, I feel like I’m still trying to figure it out. I’ve even dabbled in some rock and roll these days.
Your music also has kind of a hypnotic sound to it that I really liked and I feel like this is a nice segue into talking about your new movie, Finding Ophelia. Can you just talk a little bit about how you became a part of this project?
Jimmy: Oh yes, absolutely. This is the cool part that brings all the different things that I love to do together because I did this modeling art project for a really, really cool designer by the name Morgan Press. She’s from London and she was actually on a plane one day and ran into Stephen Rutherford’s parents. I guess, long story short, they had this really good conversation and she found out about Stephen and his parents were pretty much trying to just get them to work together. So they eventually got back to New York, they met up, and he was telling her about this role, and he was still in the casting process, and she was like, ‘I think you should check out my friend, Jimmy. I think he’d be really good for this role.’ Long story short, he got in contact with me and he sent me the script and we met up in a park and history kind of made itself at that point. He was looking for somebody that was going to be just as dedicated to the project as him and that’s how the film came to be.
What was your first impression of the script?
Jimmy: Oh my god, I literally fell in love with the script because it wasn’t just like a typecast, you know, because I think it’s so easy to be, I’m not trying to make this like a controversial thing, but I feel like me, being like a black American, I think that it’s so easy to get thrown into like roles of like being in jail or the gangster or like a graffiti artist or just like something that’s like very typecast. And this was a role that was just like completely out of the norm. I’ve always loved things like that. I fell in love with the role, immediately.
Can you explain what’s going on in this movie?
Jimmy: Stephen is obviously disturbed. Just kidding. My character, Will, he’s pretty much as, you know he’s into advertising, that’s his job and he has his own life, he has his girlfriend, and his friends. Everything is just like what it is, and then he’s being disturbed by these dreams of, you know, this woman and he’s so engaged in finding that thing that he just has to have. It kind of reminds me of the thought process of what people go through to find love or to find something that they believe is just great. And it just kind of takes you on that journey, the intense journey, which is trying to find out what that feeling is about and why. So I think that he’s really just this guy who just wants to figure out more.
That was an awesome explanation. It’s one of those things where like you have the basic plot and like you get that, but then there’s all this stuff added on to it that you kind of almost forget the plot.
Jimmy: Yeah, yeah, absolutely. And another cool thing about it is that it’s one of those scripts and one of those movies that is just so artistic that when people watch it, everyone can grab their own meaning behind it. This was my personal meaning based on me reading the script and what I got from it, but I’ve also heard other things about how people viewed the film and what it meant to them so I think it’s also cool that people can develop their own opinion about what the film represents to them.
What was it like filming this, was it just as trippy and hypnotic behind the scenes as it was to actually view it?
Jimmy: Absolutely. There was actually at one point, someone actually, well allegedly, I mean, we’re not sure if someone actually did this, but I was doing a scene where I was throwing up and an ambulance came out of nowhere to park their car and they kind of sat there for a while. We all just kind of laughed hysterically because I was shooting the scene and we believe that somebody walked past it and really thought that something was wrong. So that was one of the craziest things that probably happened on set.
And you do some pretty crazy things, the chicken comes to mind. So, out of all the crazy things that you’ve had to do with this movie, what was the craziest?
Jimmy: It was definitely the chicken. The chicken was by far the craziest thing that I’ve ever done. I mean, to be able to beat up a chicken and not cook it or eat it is like, you know, it’s crazy. I really did enjoy that, I really did.
At the beginning of this interview, you mentioned that you wanted to go into acting for more of the challenge. Did this role meet your expectations?
Jimmy: I really believe it did. And it’s so interesting because it was so challenging and this is where it kind of goes on a twist because there were things in this script that we actually had a lot in common. And while we were closing this film, I also kind of, in a way, got closure in my own lif, based off of me doing the character, which was also hard, in a way, because it was like, wow, Will was going through this and I’m actually doing through some of this in real life. It’s kind of uncomfortable but let me actually still do it, let me acknowledge it and it was a really interesting project. It really was. They’re just difficult parts that kind of opened my mind’s eye, there’s so many similarities here, which are kind of weird for me at certain points because certain things I didn’t even notice and then I was like wow like I’m actually relating to Will on so many levels.
Was it a positive relationship between you and your character?
Jimmy: Oh, overall it was positive. Will was kind of just at a point where, you know, he was just kind of not all the way focused because he was focused on finding something, when really all along, maybe it was already there, you know? And then he finds it and whether it’s what he’s looking for or what he’s not looking for, it was more of that route, but overall it was definitely positive.
Is there anything else that you would like to add about your movie or your music?
Jimmy: I would just say that the film is releasing on Amazon Prime, June 23 and it also be on Google Play, and other movie sources where you can buy movies. As for the music, I think that if anybody wants to check out the music, they should check out Jimmy Levar on YouTube, Apple Music, Spotify, all streaming platforms.