Did you watch “Big Fifty” on BET +? If your answer is “yes”, this interview was made for you!
“American Gangster Presents Big Fifty – The Delrhonda Hood Story” premiered on BET + last Thursday, and it topped the chart at #1! (Congratulations to the cast and crew.) Recently, BTSCelebs was given the golden opportunity to interview star Michael Anthony, who plays Big Fifty’s husband Ricky. He is so much more than just an actor.
According to Michael’s official bio, he is a respected military veteran with 4 years in the US Military Special Forces (military rank was E-4/ SRA in the US Air Force). Following September 11, 2001, he even served in Operation Enduring Freedom. He transitioned into the music industry for over a decade and is a master at combat arts. Michael Anthony’s early work in music opened up the door to the acting world. You know him best for his roles in “Raising Dion”, “Chicago Med”, “Dynasty” and now “Big Fifty”.
Let’s meet this talented star and discover more about his work in “Big Fifty”.
BTSCelebs: Who is Michael Anthony professionally?
Michael Anthony: I’m an actor in film and television. I started off in the music industry as a songwriter and artist with Slip N Slide/ EMI / Atlantic. I was in that game for about 16 years. One day, I got hired to assist in producing a soundtrack for this film and the director of the film came along. The entire time that I was going over songs I could feel him staring at me instead of the screen. After a while he stopped me and said, “Have you ever thought about acting?” I told him that I had secret thoughts about it but never exercised it. He told me that there was a role in this film, and he sees the character when he sees me. Next thing I know I’m at an audition a week later. I ended up getting the role but I didn’t realize that I had also been bitten by the acting bug. The bite wouldn’t let me go and here I am today.
What attracted you to acting?
The thing that most attracted me to acting was that I wasn’t limited to instrumentals or rhyming words with this form of art, like I was with music. Don’t get me wrong — I will always love music. Music will always be a part of me, but acting was more of a love at first sight thing because acting instantly allowed me to be anything that I wanted. There’s a certain freedom with acting that you can’t find anywhere else. It’s an escape on one side, but then on the other side there’s no running at all. It’s you facing all of your insecurities, acknowledging them, and overcoming them with vulnerability. Acting is not really acting, instead it’s becoming and being. To me, that’s the true essence of being a creator.
How do you identify with the characters in “Big Fifty”?
I identify with all of the characters in Big Fifty because I come from poverty, so they all look familiar to me. Most people in this world naturally want a taste of the things they don’t have or weren’t given the opportunity to experience. For example, who in their right mind would literally get off on bondage? I’ll tell you who, extremely wealthy men that have never experienced or been forced to live in bondage. So, imagine living in poverty and all you can think about is money and power — the two things so separate from in your world. That circumstance creates a lot of different characters who have their version of what it’s going to take to make this unrealistic thing to them a reality. Trust me, I’ve seen all of these characters before in real life, in that world that I come from.
Was taking on the role of Ricky a challenging one for you?
Taking on the role of Ricky was actually easy for me because I was raised around a lot of men like him their own way. I will say that was fun bringing him to life because I had a lot to pull from.
Tell us about one unforgettable experience you had during filming.
The most unforgettable moments happened in between takes with my castmates. The chemistry between us all was magical. I can honestly say that It felt like a family right from the jump.
How did you learn about the real Delrhonda Hood?
I learned about Big Fifty from her documentary on American Gangsters: Trap Queens. I watched it with my mouth wide open in shock at some of the things that she did and went through. Big Fifty was definitely not a women to play with. Once I got the role, I asked if I could speak to her. She called and we talked for a good hour. She was very open and transparent about the questions that I had. Honestly, Big Fify made it easy for all of us when it came to making sure we were authentic in bringing these real people to the screen. If she saw something that wasn’t authentic or did not match what she remembered, Big Fifty had no problem letting you know by pulling you to the side and telling you. She was the mother of the set — a very direct and loving mother.
Should we look forward to more movies with this kind of flavor from you? What message do you want to send to the black community and the world through “Big Fifty”?
I’ll definitely do more movies with this flavor — It was fun! I don’t really have a message. I hope people watch it for themselves and get the message that was tailored just for them. What I get out of this may not be what you need to get out of this, so “Go to BET+ streaming and check it for yourself” is my message.
Learn more about Michael Anthony by visiting his Official Instagram @MikeBless
All the best to Michael Anthony on his upcoming projects!
A Special Thanks to Michael Anthony, Tadpole Communications and People Store Talent Agency for the exclusive interview and images.