Compton born baller Anthony Kelley was content making 3-pointers while working on his aspirations of one day being drafted by the NBA. He has the height, the drive, and the wrist-action to make that dream possible. Who knew he also had acting chops? When a relative told the aspiring pro-baller about an audition for a role of a basketball player, Kelley figured, “why not…. It probably won’t have that many lines.” He auditioned, landed the role, and the rest is still being written.
“I got the call to meet up with Mark [Walhberg] …we went over to his house. They have this outdoor basketball court. He gave me a basketball and we started playing ball a little bit. They were watching our interaction. Towards then end he told me, ‘You got the role'” and just like that Kelley landed the role of Lamar in the 2014 Mark Wahlberg film: The Gambler, that will be released on DVD Tuesday, April 28th.
The Gambler tells the story of literature professor Jim Bennett who also leads a secret life as a high-stakes Gambler. Bennet makes a wrong gamble when he borrows money from a dangerous gangster and uses his own life as collateral. Kelley plays the role of Lamar, a student in Bennett’s class, who ends up being mentored by his professor who lives this double life.
Kelley is not taking this ‘stroke of luck’ lightly. Even though his break-out role was a heck-of-a-way to introduce himself, he wants to make sure he hones his natural gift by taking more acting classes, martial arts, and anything else to help him continue to impact the world via film.
Being born in Compton and raised in LA and seemingly hand picked by destiny to portray this role, I asked about what weight this particular opportunity carries.
“It’s pretty heavy, but I think I can manage. I definitely wanna be a positive role model for people who have gone through the similar battles that Lamer went through or that I went through. I want to make sure that Im a positive influence and inspire people to go after what you want–no matter what people say — try new things.”
I think he’s accomplishing that mission now.
Be sure to go pick up your copy of The Gambler when it hits all major outlets where DVD’s are sold, Tuesday, April 28th, 2015.
Check out the trailer HERE: