'Luce' star Kelvin Harrison on his rise to fame

The actor appears on "Popcorn with Peter Travers," and talks about the making of "Luce."
19:54 | 08/09/19

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Transcript for 'Luce' star Kelvin Harrison on his rise to fame
Starring my guess today I Calvin Harrison junior. Who gives I think one of the great performances you're gonna say and you've got go to this movie there's so much in. What should I can speak too bad that I welcome you count. They show take you cut loose. If such a complex character. So who leave who is gifted. Thanks me on the he's as seventeen you know kid who is adopted from Eritrea from war torn country. And he was adopted by this suburban upper class wife and me if he had a soldier has yet he was loud soldier. So yet he and yes he's the president of the debate team captain of the track team he is perfect so here calculus yeah. If any really. Though yet and in the in the he writes this paper. That. The kind of implies that. Violence is the answer it to the problems of people don't agree with them and maybe it bombed about fans Phnom. And I just he sought to distance has few problems with its that. That we have to principle that of him and Arcadia Spencer has a problem with. Under beat a Barack. Would change your opinion yet about any of that yet so basic. Frankly we we're having a movie in which the team the Braves is that there. Also the theme of privilege then because he's now in school adopted by he's white parents played by well. Naomi Watts from and basically has anything that he wants. And he is this. I can set he's. The jam and everybody looks up and says he's gonna do everything right right right. And then without any spoilers. There's something in his locker that's found that essays written. And their suspicion. And so you get this what you see this. We've sat. Like. Because this is a great part. It's incredible buy it sake I mean Aaron Murray had just moved to LA. And from nor Owens and I got musty apartment house this sounds around him and active. And I get this current delay in in there that really pass to the director wants to meet EU. Our brilliant that they convince the directed to meet me. And I'm like flipping the pages of my home colleague once he's that what he did. Why not just like shocked at the seventeen you know kid can be sold. So well spoken and have so many very passion intensive use of that war it. I'm so used to in the south we kind of listen to the elders that come before some disgruntled what you say is this a solid gold. And I just believe that and that includes the sky is challenging those those those old. Use on licensee animal progressive. Take on a dollars it was exciting and empowering and he is like a young. Young black decayed to come Stephen field that I could speak out and I couldn't be protect my dignity and say I can you're one of and thank you whip Smart he had now wouldn't wanna be in a debate we got. Oh how did you feel when you are maybe you are maybe you adjustments that. Now. The legislative under the don't know did of them. But he is key is against the disease the seventh you know in the and we ways. It is a coming of age story but he's he's he's he's the you know we gaze. Through the compositions and with the other people so it's like. I think he's challenging them the kind of they say what you feel say how you feel I'm. I'm forcing you to communicate with me to come backs like how do you see me because I kind of want to know how you see me to decide how I see myself. And I haven't a version of myself in my head blade through these interactions are conflicts changing it solely like Eden is seen these detainees like. What's your favorite holiday in click. On the spot easily using the task is that the skills he's learned to kind of survive. That used to be it's also to the survival instincts there to come like survive in America this America that we now. Well with the question of race is always. Immediate to us now. It's just something that we live with in that you live. And so when you're doing if you must be feeling. A lot of personal things that are at that you're putting into that performance but to also playing cat in the air. So. How intimidated wart you biplane. It's a. It's interesting because they growing up in south improvement loans and I went to a privately highs. And some of them. And he went to this private school with a high school and remember. You know we it was in the lot of slaying in you know withdrawal. You know we have thanks we know. And we'll come back but I figured there and them think of it could happen. But. Went into the school in the first mental that we don't yet with yes. And don't what do your parents do and it was just a lot of collecting than them but I had to think about about myself and about how was raised and you know we would likely where blazes blue blazes in khakis on Wednesdays. News is that denotes these were good for Calvin. I never I never look down on myself so much it's like kind of walked into this this new culture that was present of but it is that but if you wanna pain. With this in this leave school that you need to personally to the cult that's set. Or don't come Newton and so I think I related to loose in that way of of being like. I came from Eritrea and now here I am an American and everyone wants needs like yeah I'm minutes into name because I can't pronounce that we don't care what you wore. You just need to be who we need you to be none otherwise what are you doing here. And then to kind of rise to the occasion in the music with my ticket was the reason why got the school is because I was about it piano and trumpet trumpet and that was the thing meaning me do was like I'd I was on all the arts fliers go back where you fit that's wealthy it and I think there was this expectation now that I had to be this great musician. Because of Baghdad in with Harry what you're going to add man they think you know Creighton is the bread and so there is this plague. Our that was and it's a lot a lot to looks OK you had a lot to relate to yet he had. With a lot of personal but the put into it and the result of that kind of creepy stuff that loses that the chemical through it. The soul is Samoa. Well I mean I don't want to give away anything because there's many many aspects looses its sound. That is almost like thrillers on him because we don't now. What is he up to. What am I whipped him or am eyes brightened up do it do this. Which is what makes degree turn it gets I think he adds that now and so we're watching it wasn't his. Billion as he goes and that's exciting it is exciting to play honestly deacons. You just kind of watching and observing his it was cool to kind of just pay attention and take everything in it was a it was a good acting lesson for two. As that it just think about he talks a lot. But and to instead of doing a lot of talking just paint and human behavior and knowing how to use it to your advantage. And it's a weird tactic let's look at calavo. From why not and Latin. Let's look at what he opens the but you were how old when you made this you know it was that thousand years two years ago. OK that's what the. Basically my question that I hope ms. Wilson can home anyway. Is around this idea of reduced expectation. Purses that affirmation by the court of students civil rights. Like what are the criteria for evaluating what's a violation of privacy. Is privacy is a warrant I think so. Maybe look isn't so sure. I went through your desk without your knowing what you feel like your privacy was violated it. Yes I wouldn't. So. Feelings aren't illegal argument. In the New Jersey case the teacher assume the coast guilty because of feelings. That's called reasonable suspicion. It's called police need to search a car. Just about what's reason. That's what courts. Really it's just about people covering. Whether they compliance what we think they aren't. It's that simple. This. Well speaking. If I'm watching that. We're at bat I was in that room at the paper bag over an Arctic. If I go to adds it teacher. Student add them back in for is just the me and what was it like working with. He spent twenty. You know the best hugger that are you number. She's so terrific. She's so what you give you know. No effect knows she's she's very possible with the mother baby thing. And that lets you start the day ensues is totally good Hannity and it's interesting because I saw at the Sundance lab the year before congress of their from marxism and she was acting mentor. And so I was like looking at all times that you don't know this but distinct part in the movie attached and on the elderly and the other usually feel that you give you put an adult learn but she gave so much could have eyes and she too to see her work ethic. And how nurtured and she is as a as a as a person was just like this it's really comforting the Connell Watkins was that in when you know him a lot to do not serve. If all these liberally and actually got that other car has to be that you woe are you editor in this. Movie there she is there's Naomi Watts there's him there's these people. But you don't ever seen intimidated so that's on whether you're really even a better are there. Think he gets you have to as an actor I think. He that it feel like you mentioned monsters and men really another really good solid maybe. About the question of race in your character who is the morning dollar and and is staying. I can't do this I can't think of me I can't be part of the protest. And again has to commit to something. Via is interesting because that you know they comment I did miles and literally right before loose and so was. It was good to kind of experience for Zack always thought it was about. Being an anomaly and thinking you're exempt from race because of just the success you've kind of achieved and being there the in the headlines of papers and people knowing you because he would stop baseball player. And and still kind of realizing once the black and American people bouncing me differently in what is that Felix experience for the first time. And then to kind of have that in going to loosen Bulent while once again another exceptional student at it was it was a good trip and Susan good well this like this pressure. And then in my own life by our side it as I was answering questions about the movies. And you know peoples and asking me like you know you an activist and all these other things and other religious and active and that kind of seeing the perils of my own life and looses kind of like while I'd just. I released wanna tell stories. And I don't necessarily want the prices slump like. Becoming a political voice of any assortment is nearly it's it it becomes a huge burden. When that I'm still learning myself and I that was also something that I kindness on loosen that I. And the guys with a lot it was like this expectation to rise of two detainees and when you don't you still figure out all life so. And in pain but it is his. Yes you got to meet the expectations of the people who hired you to be in this half free you don't want to elect. Julius owner of the director down. People bet your dues yet. And the reactions from the movie questions. What I cure they don't advances. Ultimately doesn't have all the hands that her which is a great things because people can mainly been instead of saying where we going to dinner they can actually talk about. And say what you think about how we participate in you know on the power and privilege that we kind of like. But I thought you've been re you the good in a movie called comes at night which is are now. It's a different genre completely. It's what happens if my family. What happens if we get this by the U turned zombie and it's over. And it's especially younger actor. What. Would my father kill me in what would go on here you know to you a lot of stuff. We did this happen in Anwar and present I have to do. When you couldn't because fewer musicians do yeah. I mean my guess in my dad's it was a classically trained saxophone as a mom mom does is jazz vocalist and my dad and playing Jackson. I asked that he jazz piano and trumpet and I was a well supposed to do my dad to this day is like where to trumpet. Wednesday practicing UT's you have in me and a plea in the church you know for our most of my life on Sundays as my side and I was I was gonna go to Berkeley college of music and I decided not to I did it was a lot of pressure could take a look up to that. I didn't think that was I couldn't express myself as much that would have liked you the music so I at I've found my way as snuck into the musical theater. And I did one odd that when musical note likes me what was. It was as if hairspray according to theory it actually see the picture in the movie to it like a picture of me and hairspray with the ample. We hear it really weird but yes. I'm think well there's another little thing happening because every month saying but look you have this talent. And you say now I mean they get in now with the first thing got hired to be. I win my body went to an audition for Indies game. And it was like for featured extras Rolen went with music edition with site data. And a guy like. We have the read sides and I got one line annually in addition and I got the job. And that was it refers to a job but because of the way the movie works with armies and everything had a beautiful months. So I got her award and in serving Kingsley slightly Davis have to go Breslin is. And is the Butterfield and mostly well these young actors and kept axis with the craft was. Answered appreciated one here and talk about it because they're really lovely people share this information would mean by bullets will be to take a class. And I remember like because the kids I would be double sometimes when the kids into the schools so. I would run ones support honest. I don't think it's I don't know what's happening it that this kind of aware buying and get a key witness for the rest. Art did he take that again I don't think you know as the UK's its. That it was. Well let's take one or two questions from the outside world the the world wide web a hole into there we go okay commando forces now that you're more and more movies have you reached out to any older actors about how to handle in a movie star well did you and Harrison had this discussion known. Oh profit going to be Harrison where her eyes and playing in a half up. Now movie that's my I don't know it. Have passed oh lead to alleged to have worked with him I call him every now and then it can go and I don't I navigate I just in my firstly big studio movie please listen. It's like a round. Lake house like okay oh. I don't know I do this of the contemplated deal of an eighteen Mike. A lot of interest like like what a way how to let Apogee is a man and used a slate. To stay focused and do the work that you've always been doing is that you've got to use of the Chester instinct and so that's. That's that's that's the best advice I could come. Honestly did assistant U professional constable whose sometimes isn't though Williams you can get so shaken by something that you think what our minds. Yeah well I need to get in touch with them again come back to that well OK let's have one more question from me. Melissa ceases who is your go to person that watches your movies and tells you the truth about every. Wounds of war. Own father's friend from the was restarted at the first sore from my there was like my first actually speaking roles ago. There's a piece of stone harmonize them up in what did her first each engine. As a country full circle but the axis in that movie became like a really different mines has been almost the sense of me because she can legislate Hosni. Letterman on the topic and I go to her mask which it thinks about everything. Is money like cold out there let us see this movie and she was disliked. You'll find means that milieu we need to clean it up you need to. You know if you put a lot of heart and him. We're trying to be like by all. That book that's what you need you're good yeah yeah what king did not read any of the views you know because it. We'll just taking somewhere. Well I have a hunch that tell we're all going to be so you know audio. On screen and I hope we see you back here because I haven't really even scratched the surface. What's happening with you. And it's exciting for those of us that watch you do it kinda great things. But I have to get that first time here on the show to everybody that's on the show putting Harrison Ford. What they'll say we all sing a little bit of something. Because I think there's something about doing that and okay. This is always truthful. I don't know why I mean this even in hairspray was. Optical now you don't know but you can pick. Okay. Next thing you look at it means thinking that it really does come from you heard a jazz musician. OK the news when. Yeah. But did take a train you oh yeah come pick Arlington. Views who. Must take the a neat saying. To. Go to should get your way out then. Boat bobbled it the sort of bobbled that you have a Liu who believed killed. Development of a billion dollars should not be ambassador of the doomed civilian brilliantly. It but dull old days we've ugly. About both dollop on that. Yet but we'll bastard who will be about job to do be do be doomed doomed. And the and they and it's at an afternoon. Union. I think on that today. It is that the governor and junior music golf. Gonna move to have my bet bootleg do that in I think. I'll make I don't really happy you'd think we'll go back and do it c'mon people write it should have any talent. You're just a pleasure you.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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