Actor and singer Rome Flynn continues to make sure his foot is on the gas for his career. The heartthrob starred in the soap opera “The Bold and the Beautiful” and later joined the star cast of “How To Get Away with Murder” for seasons 5 and 6. If you haven’t watched HTGAWM, you’re in for a treat — especially with Flynn’s character, Gabriel Maddox.
In this exclusive interview with Baller Alert, Flynn chatted with entertainment journalist Angie B about meeting Beyonce at the opening of the Tyler Perry Studios. He also shared critical things learned from Viola Davis, joining the cast of season 2 of “Raising Dion” and more.
Flynn is set to star in the new romantic comedy on Amazon Prime “With Love,” premiering on Dec. 17.
What’s it been like working on the fourth and final season of ‘Dear White People?‘
It’s a dream come true because, as an actor, you want to work on projects that have substance and bring value — and have cultural impact. Not a lot of us have the opportunity to do that. To be able to jump on board for this last season was terrific. I got to work with Antoinette, who’s someone I’ve been cool with for a long time, and we have great chemistry, so it was fun on camera. Shoutout to Justin for letting me be a part of this final season.
What was the highlight working on the ‘Dear White People set,’ being that this season is a musical?
Aside from the storyline, I’d say one fantastic thing was working with Directors, DP’s, and cast and crew members that were Black. I’ve only got to experience one time in my life when I was working on Tyler Perry’s “The Haves and Hav Not’s.” The directors of Dear White People were black, and they were women. It was fantastic to collaborate with different representations doesn’t that often. I didn’t get to sing that much. I only sang a concise part of a scene, but it was still cool. I wish I could’ve had more opportunity to be more involved in that aspect, but that’s not what they wanted for this character.
You went from a soap opera to a super popular drama series. In what ways did “The Bold and the Beautiful” prepare you for “How to Get Away With Murder?”
Y’know, other than experience being on camera, it mainly taught me work ethic. There’s a stigma about actors who are soap actors and equate them to not being as good. I don’t think the average person understands how much work goes into doing a soap. It’s substantially more than it would be for any other show. So working on a soap taught me to pick up things quickly. I got work with my mentor, who’s also on “Dear White People,” Obba Babatunde.” He taught me a lot about how to take up space and how to use my talent. He also taught me to use what God gave me, which you cannot be taught. When doing the show, I could either show up to work, say my lines, and get a check or be the best. I wasn’t searching for mediocrity. I wanted to be great. It drove me a little bit crazy, but over time it built a solid foundation. When I became the first Afro-Latino to win a soap, It gave me much purpose and grounded me.
Working with a legend like Viola Davis is an accomplishment in itself. What are some things/skills you learned from her that’ll stick with you for a lifetime?
So much, honestly. She is culturally so impactful for our people — just because of what she represents. Her name alone holds much weight. It took me a couple of months to figure out how to address her. It didn’t feel right for me to address her usually. I was calling her Mrs. Davis or Mrs. V for a while, and eventually, she said, “just call me V.” She took the pressure off of me because I wanted to be perfect for her. I was very fortunate to have a lot of scenes with her. I learned from her that it’s not super important to be perfect. I thought that you had to be perfect to do this line of work, and the interesting is that it’s the opposite. That’s not how life is, and acting is a reflection of life. No one wants to see you be perfect; they want to see you how they see themselves. So when I’m doing the show, I’m not thinking about being perfect. I’m thinking about being authentic and being present. I learned that from Viola Davis. She handled everything with grace, and it was effortless. I also picked up some technical things as well. I learned so much. She’s extremely well educated. I tried to retain as much information as possible.
Your role as Gabriel Maddox in HTGAWM was insane. Could you describe the most intense scene you had to brace yourself for? How did you prepare for it?
There were two scenes. I don’t want to ruin it for anyone who hasn’t watched it, so — spoiler alert. There is a scene where Gabriel enters the church, and he catches Viola drinking in the church. He saw her relapsing. It’s one of the few moments I had with her alone on set, and it was incredible. It was a scene that made me feel warm and present. It was also complex because the dynamic was interesting between her and Gabriel’s relationship. The other set was with Marsha Blake, who plays my mom. It was an emotional scene because she found out that I killed her ex-boyfriend, which was my first time telling her that. The realization that my character may go to jail for life and me still being her son was a tricky situation to maneuver through. I would say that it took a bit of emotional preparation, and I hope it translated well to people.
You’ve joined the cast for season 2 of “Raising Dion.” What are you looking forward to most about working on the series?
We finished filming, and the show is set to air in 2022. We filmed in Atlanta, and it was great. I go to work with a super talented young guy who plays Dion. We spent a lot of time together. He’s just naturally gifted. Working with him brought me back to that innocence. Season two is going to be great, and I’m in every episode!
Have you ever had a fan-boy moment with a celebrity before?
Yes! When I met Denzel Washington, I was really like, wow — I can’t believe I’m meeting him right now. He was cool as a fan. He so so down to earth. Meeting him was one of those moments. Another moment was meeting Beyonce. It was insane because I had a couple of opportunities to meet her, but I didn’t want to force the issue. I met her at Tyler Perry’s grand opening in Atlanta. She’s such a gracious and embracing person.
I used to go up to people and say, “I love your work,” but some people don’t like that. My mom was with me, so I made sure to tell her not to go up to just, but when she saw Jay-Z and Beyonce — she said I’m going over there. I wasn’t sure what was going to happen. Beyonce is a global ambassador for everything. My mom went up to her and was pointing at me from a distance. I was like, dang — she wants me to come over there. When I walked around, Beyonce gave me one of those hugs like she knew me. It was a huge embrace. So that was a dope moment. I respect her a lot because I know how hard it is to be great, and she makes it seem effortless.