With the recent release of We Have A Ghost on Netflix, Jahi Winston plays Kevin Presley, alongside a cast including David Harbour as Ernest, and he was directed by Christopher Landon. Having started his acting career on Broadway as Young Simba in The Lion King, Jahi has since worked on a number of screen roles including feature film The Violent Heart, Charm City Kings, Queen & Slim, and he played the lead character of Luke O’Neil in the Netflix series Everything Sucks!. Alongside Jahi’s acting career, he recently begun working on his own music. We chatted to Jahi about playing Kevin Presley in the Netflix release of We Have A Ghost, filming as lead character Luke O’Neil in Everything Sucks! and starting his acting career in The Lion King on Broadway.
In the new Netflix release of We Have A Ghost, you play the lead role of Kevin Presley, can you tell us about the film and your character?
We Have A Ghost is a family film that is both funny and heartwarming. Kevin is a typical teenager that feels misunderstood and ostracised by his family and peers.
What was Kevin like to play and was there anything that drew you to the role and script?
Kevin was fun to play, and I could relate to him in some ways. I was drawn to the script after meeting with our director, Chris Landon. Once I read the script and saw how fun it was, I was very intrigued.
How was it working opposite David Harbour as Ernest and filming with the rest of the cast?
David Harbour was great! He’s so insightful and just really cool to work with. The entire cast is phenomenally talented. We had a lot of fun working together. We really formed a genuine bond and have so much respect for one another.
Did you have a favourite aspect of being involved with the project and how did you find the experience on set of the film?
My favourite aspect of being a part of We Have A Ghost is that we bring families together through a feel-good film.
How does it feel now We Have a Ghost has been released on Netflix and what was it like seeing the completed film for the first time?
I’m excited about the film being out now. We had a few obstacles while filming, so I’m happy it’s been released, and people are responding favourably to it.
Why would you recommend watching We Have a Ghost and who do you think it will appeal to?
Honestly, it’s a great film that anyone regardless of age can enjoy.
You played Aaron in the feature film The Violent Heart, can you tell us about your time filming this role?
Filming The Violent Heart was an incredible experience – I worked alongside many talented actors, particularly Mary J. Blige! I think that was the highlight for me.
What are some of your stand-out highlights from playing Mouse in Charm City Kings and how was it seeing the fan response to the film?
Mouse was such a complex character and I really wanted to do a good job humanising this kid from such a background.
What was it like working on Queen & Slim as Junior, alongside a cast which includes Daniel Kaluuya and Jodie Turner-Smith?
I learned a lot from Daniel and Jodie. Daniel is still sort of a big brother and mentor to me and they both helped mold me in my role as Junior.
Do you have any favourite memories from filming Everything Sucks! and what was Luke O’Neil like to play?
Everything Sucks! was such a fun show and a terrific coming-of-age story. I hate that it only got one season! I really enjoyed playing Luke O’Neil.
Can you tell us about some of the other screen projects you’ve been part of over your career so far, which has seen you film for The Dead Don’t Die, The Resident and Feed the Beast?
I’m truly blessed to have had the opportunity to work on all these projects. One of my first on-screen projects was as Young Ralph Tresvant in The New Edition Story. It’s still one of my fondest memories.
You started your career on Broadway, starring as Young Simba in The Lion King, what do you remember most from performing in the musical and how was it making your Broadway debut?
The Lion King on Broadway was definitely one of the highlights of my career thus far. I got the best training there! I learned discipline and professionalism. Not to mention, it’s one of the best shows on Broadway! To be a part of The Lion King family is a dream come true!
Where does your love of acting come from and how did you get into it?
My love of acting has come naturally. As far as I can remember, I’ve loved playing make-believe. I started acting by playing around at home alone or with siblings and then being involved in church and school plays.
What are some of your favourite films and TV shows to watch and how do you like to spend your time away from your career?
Fun fact: the show that I rewatch when I’m bored is Dance Moms. It’s easily one of my favourite shows of all time. When I’m not working, I enjoy spending time with my family. It allows me to come back to Earth and I feel a deeper sense of gratitude whenever I have to go back to work again.
Do you have any projects coming up that you can tell us about and what are you hoping 2023 brings for you?
I don’t have anything that I can talk about yet but – I’m currently making music. I’m excited that I’ll be able to share more about that soon!
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