interview by JANA LETONJA

Actor Dominique Columbus will star in Amazon MGM Studios’ action film ‘Road House’ opposite Jake Gyllenhaal, Daniela Melchior, Lukas Gage and Billy Magnussen, which will be released on Prime Video on 21st March, after premiering at South by Southwest in the beginning of March.

Dominique, you’re starring on ‘Road House’, opposite Jake Gyllenhaal. How exciting was landing a role on this film?
Such a blessing. To be working amongst the best just fills me with gratitude. Working on this project was a special experience. I learned a lot about myself as an actor and as a filmmaker from being around Jake and Doug. Seeing the commitment and the levels of focus is a blessing to be around, because you naturally absorb that energy by being around it. It’s no different than a professional athlete playing with a champion, they’re going to speed up your learning curve, rather you realize it or not. 

In the film, you play the role of Reef, a strong, unique and competitive person to Dalton and Billy in and out of the Road house.  Tell us more about your character and his dynamic with Dalton and Billy.
Reef is the friend that always has your back. When Billy needs back up, Reef is the person you could depend on. Dalton is the one to recognize this and brings Billy and Reef together to handle trouble in the Road house. 

What was the most challenging thing about filming this role and how did you prepare for it?
I wouldn’t say this was challenging, but to me, learning how to grapple was really fun. Coming from a boxing background it was cool to pick up another form of fighting. In the process of preparation, I put on 20 pounds of muscle for the role and just stayed consistent in my work ethic to be prepared on set. 

The film is the reimagining of the 1989 cult film with the same name. Have you watched the original and been a fan of it before getting cast on this version?
One hundred percent. I grew up in a household that was a huge fan of the original. My family and I love action, so from a young age, this was a route I wanted to excel in. Watching movie classics like ‘Road House’ and ‘Warriors’ had a big impact on me from a young age. 

You’ve gotten to work alongside many iconic artists from the industry so far. Who inspired you the most and why?
To be honest, Johnny Depp and Jake Gyllenhal have always been two people that massively inspired me throughout life. The movies ‘Blow’ and ‘End of Watch’ are two of my favorite movies to this day. It’s still crazy to me how powerful manifestation is when it’s met with massive action. The fact I’ve now gotten a chance to work with both of them is a blessing. 

Growing up, you were surrounded by entertainment and sports. How did acting prevail as your choice of career?
I grew up in a family where it was a mix between entertainment and boxing. I definitely was surrounded by a lot of talented artists and successful athletes my entire life, which exposed me to the concept of discipline, vision and work ethic from a very young age. When I was a kid, I had an opportunity to act when I was offered a role on Disney. At the time, a lot of my friends were doing sports and that was where more of my focus was. So after having a conversation with my family, I made a choice at a very young age to do sports until I graduated high school because when I graduated high school, I already knew that I wanted to pursue acting. It’s where my heart was. 

Following your dreams is an important aspect of your life, which also led you to create your podcast ‘Inspire to Inspire’ to help be a guide and help listeners connect the dots within the craft, business and oneself. Tell us more about it and how do you prepare the weekly episodes.
My focus on my podcast is to showcase what artists really go through in Hollywood. When I say artist, I mean actors, filmmakers, musicians, content creators and entrepreneurs. We all deal with similar experiences, from the highs to the lows, from rejection to success. I make sure to bring on guests who have the body of work to back up what they’re saying. The people we tend to listen to the most are the people who are doing the things we want to do. 

You excelled in many sports, including boxing, track, swimming, diving and waterpolo, but boxing was the one you were extremely well at. How important is having sports in your life while growing up, and how important part of your life is sport today?
Being an athlete growing up definitely played a massive role in my current success. When you’re an athlete, you have to learn how to focus and tune out the outside noise. You have to know what your goal is and take massive action in order to obtain it. I apply that same mental framework when I’m on set. 

Another passion of yours is fashion. What inspires your style and how do you approach fashion in your everyday life?
Fashion is how I express myself and my character. I always felt like the clothes I wear are a reflection of how I’m feeling that day. Playing with different looks brings out different energies. The creative process behind that is what’s fun for me. 

What projects will we be seeing you in next?
I have an action short film coming out this year, called ‘Street Code’. That’s a story about two LAPD officers dealing with a domestic violence call and when they show up to deal with it, things take a massive turn. I created it with one of my best friends, Reggie Luckett. Him and I produced it, co-wrote it, co-directed it and both starred in it together. I’m also in a film coming out this year, called ‘All That We Love’, but more details will be coming out later this year. 

all photography by AMANDA RAMON