REEL TALK: "As a film industry we're still very young in expressing our stories," says Creary, whose career spans stage and screen.
MORE often than not when Jamaican actors go to work with foreign filmmakers, the experience leaves a lot to be desired. For Everaldo Creary, who scored a supporting role in the book-to-screen adaptation of Yardie, working with Golden Globe winner Idris Elba for his directorial debut was not just a refreshing and rewarding learning experience; Creary says it’s a chapter of his acting life he’ll always cherish.
“It was awesome. There were a lot of Jamaicans in the cast, and several of us got significant roles that actually affected the plot and had immediate effect on the leads. That doesn’t happen regularly for Jamaican actors doing film. Idris put his foot down for us, and it was a pleasure working with him,” says the veteran performer, now in his 30s, whose Jamaican costars included NoMaddz brother Sheldon Shepherd and rising sensation Shantol Jackson.
Creary, whose other screen credits include Better Mus’ Come and numerous short film and TV projects, was with the cast and crew in Utah earlier this year for the Sundance Film Festival, where the film was screened before a predominantly white audience and mainly white press. Creary feels some of the reviewers (who perhaps couldn’t relate to the events unfolding onscreen) didn’t really get the film, hence the largely mixed reviews.
But for his money, Yardie is a first-rate cinematic achievement. “The quality of the filmmaking is what I like most about the finished product. It’s technically and visually strong,” he says. “For a gangster film, it’s very moving and very touching. It’s not like Shottas.” It’s a huge plus, he believes, for latter-day cinema authentically reflecting our hardships as island people and the Jamaican way of life at home and in the Diaspora.
He continues, “As a film industry we are still young in expressing our stories, so to see a film like this come and change the game and bring something fresh to the table, it says a lot,” he observes. “As actors, we get an opportunity to show what we can do, and we have to give thanks for that.”
In the meantime, Yardie is still doing the festival circuit run (Berlin included) and fingers are crossed that a distribution deal will get it in cinemas worldwide before the last quarter of the year.
> NOMADDZ: And then there were two…
Of course, the name Everaldo Creary is synonymous with the crowd-pleasing band NoMaddz. As it turns out, they’ve been going through a serious metamorphosis in recent times. Once a quartet made up of Kingston College brothers (Creary, Oneil Peart, Chris Gordon and Shepherd), NoMaddz is now a duo, as both Peart and Gordon have moved on, settling down with wives and looking to start a family. Creary and Shepherd are now holding down the fort. They’ve inked a new management deal and are at work on their forthcoming album, being “directed” by Walshy of Major Lazer fame. “It’s a new vibe, a different vibe for us, but we like this new direction,” says Creary, currently co-starring in DMH Productions’’ Dat a Gwaan Jamaica Remix at the Phoenix Theatre. “Right now we are putting in the work so that we and the fans can have a good summer.”