Budding actor Ge’Quan Crews of Vernon Hill has landed his first acting role on the Fox breakout drama “Empire” that spiraled after its launch in January.
The 22-year-old will appear in a seven-minute clip during episode 4 of season 2 in a scene at a church during the television series that follows the head of a music empire whose three sons vie for his throne.
It’s not quite the role for which he was hoping, but he is more than “happy and excited” to be a part of the show.
He filmed the scene on Aug. 20 in Chicago.
Crews credits meeting an actor from the movie “Digging for Fire,” who he says had connections with co-producers of “Empire,” that helped him land his first acting role.
After speaking with the “Digging for Fire” actor about his acting aspirations, Crews then applied and auditioned for the “Empire” role, and on Aug. 17 he received the email he was hoping to get.
“Out of 8,600 auditions, I was one out of 18 who were picked,” Crews explained.
When he received the email, he was at the airport in Los Angeles sending his brother and a friend back to Virginia, and they had just boarded the plane.
He immediately called his mother and grandmother saying, “I got it, I got it,” not even thinking they wouldn’t know what he was talking about.
After he calmed down, he explained to them what all the excitement was about, and they were very happy for him.
That excitement soon turned into anxiousness though, as he realized he needed to be in Chicago immediately, and Crews always drives when he travels due to a fear of flying.
After he had paid to have his car stored at the airport and purchased his plane ticket, he began to prepare for the flight ahead that he was dreading.
It was then he realized he didn’t have to be in Chicago until the next day.
Everything worked in his favor, and he escaped flying opting instead to drive himself.
When he arrived on set, he met the main actors, Terrence Howard (Lucious Lyon), Taraji P. Henson (Cookie), Trai Byers (Andre Lyon), Jussie Smollett (Jamal Lyon) and Bryshere Gray (Hakeem Lyon).
Living in Los Angeles, Crews said he thought he was “used to meeting actors,” but that all changed when he met these celebrities.
“When I met them, it felt totally different. It felt amazing,” said Crews.
The day he met “Cookie” he was on set, and she tapped his shoulder from behind and said, “and, you are?”
It took him a moment to collect himself after turning around to see it was Taraji P. Henson.
When it comes to Henson’s personality versus “Cookie’s,” Crews said, “Her character on ‘Empire’ is who she really is.”
While the sale of music off “Empire” has reached impressive peaks, this upcoming actor feels it’s not solely the catchy music like “You’re So Beautiful” that has caused all the attention “Empire” is now receiving.
“I don’t think it was music that made it what it is, it’s the characters, especially Terrence Howard and Taraji Henson,” added Crews.
“It’s not just their characters for ‘Empire,’ it’s who they really are against each other. It’s actually cute.”
The second season of “Empire” airs Sept. 23, and now that he knows the premise of the beginning of the second season, he is even more anxious to watch it.
He had been watching the show since it first aired in January, and says he will continue to be a fan.
Snagging this role came after he attended New York Film Academy in lower Manhattan before moving to Los Angeles where he hired a manager.
The New York school provided an eight-week acting course, and when he arrived in Los Angeles, he had the option of more schooling or getting a manager and start working. He chose to work.
In the future, Crews plans to keep his options open as he looks for future casting calls but hopes one day to land a role as a detective.
His next project is a role in the reality show “Mystery Diners.” Crews will begin filming in New York on Sept. 11 and 25, and will continue filming in Los Angeles in October.
Crews, a 2011 graduate of Halifax County High School, is the son of Jobina Crews and Woody Wilson, both of South Boston.