Cory Hardrict is Sheed and Rasheed in Destined
By Darlene Donloe
Director Qasim Basir’s latest film, Destined, is making the film festival circuit. It was a hit at the Los Angeles Film Festival where it had its world premiere. It also screened recently at the American Black Film Festival (ABFF) in Miami.
A drama, it tells the parallel stories of Sheed and Rasheed, portrayed by the same actor (Cory Hardrict), as both men explore the idea of destiny as well as how the smallest incident can manifest itself into a life changing event. Written and directed by Qasim Basir (Mooz-lum), Destined presents two possible outcomes, involving everything from street violence to corporate corruption.
Cory Hardrict navigates his role in each world, demonstrating that on any path, the future is ever changing and the journey toward fulfilling your destiny is never simple.
At the ABFF, Hardrict won Best Actor and Basir won Best Director for Destined. The film will screen in Los Angeles on June 25 as part of the American Black Film Festival Encore, a programming collaboration between the ABFF and BET Networks during this weekend’s BET Experience, which will culminate with the 16th annual BET Awards.
I recently caught up with Hardrict to discuss the film.
DD: Corey, you’re playing two different characters – Sheed and Rasheed. How does an actor prepare to play two roles? What is your process?
CH: This is the first time I’ve ever played two characters. What I did was I looked at the architect’s world first. I did research on the corporate world. I looked at how an architect conducts himself. The mannerisms. Let me start there and ground this character. I talked to my dad. He worked in the architect world. I brought it to life the best way I know how. Keep it real and believable. In the street world, I come from playing drug lords and big protector brothers. I’ve been accustomed to that character. I tapped into that.
DD: Tell me about each one of your characters.
CH: Rasheed is a guy in corporate America trying to find his way. He kind of treads lightly. His goal is to get in there and to learn so he can be helpful. He’s trying to get info so he can help his city. In the film he is from a specific area that was poverty stricken. He wanted to stay connected with his people. I connected with that part of the story. He has a chance in the film to stand up and do what’s right – and he does that. He’s full of purpose and humanity.
Sheed – OMG! He’s violent. He’s intense. The thing about Sheed is he wants to find a better way even though he’s into drugs. He’s always trying to find a way out. He decides he wants to leave the world behind for his family. Sometimes you get thrown in that world of corruption or selling drugs for survival. But what he did was look at it and decide that’s not who he wanted to be.
DD: What was your interest in playing Sheed and Rasheed?
CH: It was different. It’s coming from a black man’s perspective. This kind of movies was done with sliding doors a while ago. This was challenging. If a role scares me to do then its something I should be doing. This is a strong movie. I can’t wait for the world to see this movie. Destined is powerful.
DD: The popular western view is that we are in control of our lives and everything that happens to us is as a result of our own choice. On the other hand the popular eastern view is that every thing that happens to us is not under our control and we are nothing but puppets in a preordained plan. - What is your thinking on the subject?
CH: That’s tricky. I do believe everything in life is cause and effect. You are your choices. You can choose the road to go down. Sometimes, just like what happened in Orlando. Did they choose to get slaughtered and murdered. It’s a horrific act. Is that their destiny? Plane crashes – is that preordained? 911? Walking into a church and killing a congregation? Life is short and you never know. You have to have faith and love everyone. Treat it like it’s your last day. You can fall into every situation.
To answer your question, I don’t know if I believe in either one.
DD: What attracts you to do a movie?
CH: That’s easy. I look for realness, humanity and strength. It has to be relatable. Showing a strong man. A black man in power. Someone who could be strong. I don’t like playing victims.
DD: What did you expect from showbiz and what did you get?
CH: I expected a fair shake in Hollywood. Fairness of saying, ‘if you’re the most talented – that will be the end all. You will get the role and get you where you need to go.’ It doesn’t work that way. Being the best in your craft and studying hard doesn’t lead you to success. What did I get? A lot of rejection, pain, your heart and emotions wrapped up in it. But, also rewards. You can get through it. It takes time. I’m in it for the long haul. I’m blessed.
DD: Thoughts about your industry. Encouraged or discouraged?
CH: It depends who you ask. For some it’s going to be a great place. We need more stories of more heroes. I love my history and forefathers. But there are other stories. Lets move on. I want to move pass that. I don’t want to be bombarded by the slave movement. I want to move in a different direction. That to me is Destined. It’s an award-winning piece. It’s my best work ever. It’s also good for Detroit. So, let me say, I’m discouraged and encouraged.
DD: What is next for you?
CH: There’s Spectral for Universal, November Criminals for Sony. Tupac movie is going to be huge. Car Dogs with Octavia Spencer. There’s also a TV show called When The Street Lights Come On. It’s a pilot. I’m also developing other projects and I started my own film company. It’s called Hardcor Films.
Destined is written and directed by Qasim Basir, produced by Tommy Oliver, Rick Rosenthal and Matt Ratner, co-produced by Billy Mulligan, Codie Elaine Oliver, Eddie Rubin and Sultan Sharrief and executive produced by Tom Rau, Walter Thurmond, Cory Hardrict, Hill Harper, Hassan Golzari, Bert Kern, Arun Kumar and Nick Morton. The film stars Cory Hardrict, Margot Bingham, Jesse Metcalfe, Jason Dohring, Zulay Henao, Hill Harper, La La Anthony, Paula Devicq, James McCaffrey, Mo McRae and Robert Christopher Riley.
Runtime: 1hr 35min