It seems like Canada has become a conveyor belt of production for today’s superstars. Drake has been casually living up to the lyrics in his song “8 out of 10” (I been on top for three sets of three years) off of his latest multi-platinum LP, Scorpion. But on the come-up, there's Stranger Things' Finn Wolfhard, Room star Jacob Tremblay and Riverdale's Emilija Baranac. Add to that list another young Canuck who is primed to land in Hollywood with a boom-step thud.
Lamar Johnson, the 24-year-old star of The Hate U Give, can already be considered a “do-it-all” talent. He’s an incredible dancer and a talented actor who has Hollywood buzzing, having landed coveted roles in X-Men: Dark Phoenix and A24’s upcoming Native Son, based on the Richard Wright novel.
Johnson spent his early years growing up in the rough Scarborough suburb of Toronto. His mom emphasized the value of a strong work ethic. Through his efforts, Johnson was able to find his niche as a dancer. Johnson was self-taught as a dancer beginning with dancehall then hip-hop foundational styles; he was a “popper” and “waver” at first, who eventually moved on to train in ballet and the more traditional studio dance styles. Many may consider him a rookie in the biz, but he’s far from a stranger to the bright lights and cameras. He made his first cameo at age nine in the Jessica Alba fronted dance epic Honey. He later scored gigs that included performing at the Apollo Theatre in New York and opening for Chris Brown. This helped him sidestep into acting, where he clocked several appearances on Rookie Blue and the famed teen soap Degrassi: The Next Generation.
Things have only heated up for the rising star as he stockpiles praise from critics for his role as Seven Carter in director George Tillman Jr.'s The Hate U Give. Johnson joins a talented cast of Amanda Stenberg (The Hunger Games), Regina Hall (Girls Trip), Anthony Mackie (The Hurt Locker) and Issa Rae (Insecure). The film, a racially-charged portrait of Starr (Stenberg) who has to contend with the untimely death of her childhood friend by the police, currently sits on Rotten Tomatoes with a 97 percent. Seven is her older half-brother, and protects Starr as she grieves.
With the film out tomorrow, Oct. 5, ONE37pm caught up with Johnson to help him prep for his coming out party as Hollywood’s breakout star of 2018.