We caught up with actor Rockmond Dunbar to tell us about his role in the forthcoming Lifetime film, Pastor Brown. A few days ago, Salli Richardson explained the concept behind the movie. Today, Dunbar explains the importance of viewership. In in other words, if the ratings are good enough, this movie has the potential to become a TV series that would show African-Americans in a positive light, so you know what time it is.
Who do you play in Pastor Brown?
I play a mayor who is the love interest to Sally Richardson’s character. I like to call him a breath of fresh air. Although he comes into her life at an inopportune time, it happens to be right on time according to God’s plan. It’s nice to have someone around you when you’re going through a tornado to get structure back every now and then.
What do you hope viewers take away from the movie?
I really hope that people see the quality that we put forth to make this project. I think the effort of the actors and the producers and all of our cast and crew – I really hope that people see that and I think that they will. That this isn’t just some independent project that was done in a hurry. It was done with careful care and attention to show us and reflect us in a positive light, to show our stories. And I hope that people will see that and will, in some form or fashion, want to see a television series along the same vein because that’s what we’re really aiming for with Lifetime.
Lifetime gave us the opportunity and said, “If you’re numbers do well, we will make a television series out of this thing.’ So we’re asking everybody that night to tune in and watch it and DVR Beyoncé. Beyoncé sure isn’t going to turn into a television series. This has the opportunity to turn into a television series – I mean – I love Beyoncé. I’m going to DVR it, too, to be honest. But this is an opportunity that we’ve been waiting for, for a long time. There isn’t another network out there giving us a grounded, realistic, African-American show that represents us – the way that we look. The television series is going to be more in depth and show the sides of the church that we really are interested in seeing. So, I ask for the support and I know that everyone’s heard this before. You hear Tyler Perry screaming it all the time: Please go see the film in the first week. Well, I’m asking people to tune in on the first show. On February 16th at 8pm on Lifetime, you have an opportunity in your hands. I’ve done by work. I’m stepping back now. You have an opportunity to turn this movie into a television series. If you want it, tune in on the first night.
You mentioned Tyler Perry, who you’ve worked with before. Why is it important for you to appear in faith-based projects?
I love God. I’m a God-fearing man. It’s only appropriate to produce, direct, act in and be in the projects that God is tapping me on the shoulder saying, “Hey, you’re going to do this,” or “I want you to go do this.” Who am I to say, “No, God I’m not going to do that.” I was scared as heck directing a movie and also jump in front of the camera, but God put that passion in my heart, so who am I to say, “No, God. I’m going to check on this later.” That says a lot about the film. How much effort and creative care we put into this film because it got bought three years later. Even after we got 18 offers for distribution, three offers for international distribution – which is absolutely unheard of – a viable network came and said, “We love this. We want to buy it.” The put money up and also said we want to turn it into a TV series, if the numbers are good. So that says a lot.
Catch Pastor Brown on Saturday, February 16 on Lifetime at 8/7 c.