Currently, Myers can
be seen in All About You and The
Fighting Temptations. Temptations stars Cuba Gooding, Jr.
as a New York advertising executive who must transform a discordant
church choir into harmonious gospel singers to claim his inheritance.
In Temptations, Myers plays Homer T, a long-standing member of
MOSAEC caught up with Lou Myers and asked him about
his role in Temptations as well as his varied career.
Where in West
Virginia were you born?
I was born in Cabin Creek, West Virginia which is
not far from Charleston, West Virginia, the capital. I supposed it's
called Cabin Creek because in the old days when my grandparents and
all went up there, there were a lot of cabins and there was a creek
When you were
a child did you know that you wanted to be a performer?
When I was a child, I didn't know that I wanted to
be a performer because I really didn't know what a performer was. But
now that I'm older and I look back, the same feelings and inclinations
were with me. I was very excited when my first Sunday school teacher,
Miss Henrietta Daniels, assigned me to recite a poem…. I was very
excited about that. I think that that was the very beginning of my
Who from your
childhood encouraged or influence your artistic pursuits?
I had music in junior high school and Dr. Knowle
introduced me to the clarinet and that was a beginning. I also did
some theater in junior high school…. Through the years [I] more or
less added to that and continued that. I was always interested in it.
Where I was from in West Virginia, you didn't go to be an actor. So I
couldn't tell anyone.
Why did you
decide to work behind the camera as well as in front of it?
I see so many young people who have production
companies and they're trying to do their films and they have such
great ideas. I'm working with GBI, Global Business Incubation, and our
idea is that if you have 15 people that have production companies,
let's set up a studio. There's more power together than there is
separate. So I've been trying to work behind the scenes to get young
people to see themselves as a corporation so that it can stand.
your career you have worked with a number leading lady icons. Who was
your favorites and why?
Throughout my career, I have worked with some of
the great ladies of cinema, including Lena Horne, Diahann Carroll,
Patti Labelle, Angela Bassett, Debbie Allen, Jasmine Guy, Whoopi
Goldberg, Jennifer Lopez, Queen Latifah, Halle Berry, Cicely Tyson,
Melba Moore and several of the other great divas I've worked with. My
favorite was Lena because she was the first.
to you about your role in the film "The Fighting
The role of Homer T. in The Fighting Temptations
appealed to me because he was a lay member of the church… He was
there when the preacher wasn't there; he was there to take people home
and he was there for the Sunday school. Every church has a Homer T.
Sometimes we don't know those people's names, but we depend upon them.
Years later we think "that person." But that person was very
important to us and to the running of the whole church.
Did your role
as Homer T. in "The Fighting Temptations" enable you to
expand your range in anyway?
I did have to stretch to play Homer T. because
Homer T. was a religious man. He was a dedicated man. He had strong
emotions although he may not have shown them. He was a fighter. He had
as much energy as [other member of the choir] had, but in a different
way. He saw the big picture of what [the choir] was doing. Their
success was his success. He was into it what they were doing - the
outcome, achieving excellence in the music, in the choir, in the
church and in the community. He was all about that.
In a lot of
characters that you have played there is a lot of humor. Is that
important to you?
I had a teacher once that told me to find the humor
in the character. Every human being has a lot of humor in them. Every
human being has something that they really want in life - even if that
person is not able to express it. So the job of the actor is to go
beneath the skin of the character and find out what that character
really wants. The character himself may not be able to verbalize what
they really want, but the actor has to go under there and find out
what he wants. In the humor of a person, you'll find out what that
person truly is about.
do you want to make with your art? When people look at the breadth of
your career and your body of work, what do you want them to take from
I'm a child of the Civil Rights Movement. The Civil
Rights Movement came along and it sort of gave me another side to my
performing. It gave me a reason to perform. You don't just jump up,
sit down [and] act simple to be acting simple; but if there's a reason
for it… I think in all great art, the artist has a reason for what
he's doing and why he wants to participate and do this in the
community. There's always a bigger picture. So I've been able to have
this bigger picture, which was the struggle for goodness and equality
of all people through the Civil Rights Movement. In a way that's the
continuation of my struggle, my acting is all part [of it] - one in
the same of trying to better the part of humanity that I belong to.
What was your
very first job in arts and entertainment?
My very first job in entertainment that I was
actually paid for was touring colleges with a show called Negro
Music in Vogue. It was put together by a saxophone player named
Granville Lee. His idea was to tell the story of African American
music from the time of the slave ship up to the present time, going
through the development of blues and jazz music. The band would play
and I would narrate and tell the story.
What would you
consider your big break?
My big break was when I worked on The Cosby Show.
From the Cosby Show, Bill [Cosby] told the people who were putting
together A Different World in Los Angeles to find a spot for
me. That's how I got to A Different World.
How do you
decide on the roles that you take? What do you look for?
I really don't decide on the roles that I play; I
take what roles that I can get…I have turned down some things that
weren't to my liking. The roles that I did take, small roles, I never
complained about what had been written, I just expressed it the way I
wanted to and sometimes it was quite different from what [producers]
had set out to do.
performance sharpen your acting "chops" as compared to film
and television acting?
Stage performance really does sharpen your skills
and gets you ready for the stage, film, TV or anything. It's really
all the same, but the stage will sharpen you because you get immediate
reaction from the audience.
projects are you working on?
The other project that I'm working on that I'm
excited about is my cabaret show. I sing and tell stories. It's a
combination of singing, the stories and the movement. I won't say
dance, but I'll say movement. I do move on the stage. The whole
combination of me playing a little piano, singing, acting and
storytelling all that coming together is my final piece.
The colors that look best on me are blue and
favorite meal and who do you like to prepare it?
My favorite meal is my mother's Sunday afternoon
chicken and dressing, with some good ole gravy and mashed potatoes and
probably some greens or green beans. She'd make some banana pudding in
the afternoon or a blackberry pie if I had gone on the hill and picked
the blackberries and a glass of lemonade with some hot light rolls…that
would be the ideal meal that I remember as a child and what I would
like to have now.