An Interview with The Haitian, Jimmy Jean-Louis
Near the end of last season, our friends at BuddyTV sat down with Heroes actor Jimmy Jean-Louis.
While not as well known as Masi Oka or Zachary Quinto, Louis portrays a vital character on the show, simply known for now as The Haitian. Here's what he had to say:
BuddyTV: The Haitian is such a presence on Heroes and the interesting thing is that for a lot of your episodes, he had no voice. Was that a big challenge for you as an actor?
Jimmy Jean-Louis: He had no voice but he had a big spirit. That's what mattered. Yes of course it is a big challenge when you don't get to say anything because it's always harder to portray what you want to portray without the words. So it's always a bigger challenge but because I understood the character and I am from Haiti and I connected pretty much with everything that I was asked to do so it wasn't too hard.
BuddyTV: Definitely, definitely. He does have that huge screen presence. Did you know in the beginning that eventually you were going to be able to talk?
Louis: Yeah, yeah. I'd been told you know the way they hired me that at one point I will be talking, at one point I will be going off with Claire and that was about it. I don't know what I'm going to be doing next but yes, I always knew it.
BuddyTV: Was the character a Haitian in the beginning? Did they tweak it towards your ethnicity?
Louis: Yeah, it was a funny process because originally I auditioned for the role of D.L. who is the husband and the father of the kid. I read for about three times for them and obviously they didn't want to go with me. And then a few months down the line they called me back to read for the character that I'm doing now. But I wasn't here. I was in Europe promoting another movie, so I couldn't see them. And they decided to give it to me eventually without seeing me. But originally it was supposed to be a guy from New Zealand not from Haiti at all. So I guess because they hired me then the character became the Haitian because I am from Haiti.
BuddyTV: At this point the Haitian, his name has not been revealed is that right?
Louis: No, no we still don't know. Even though he has a name, he has a name, but I think everybody sort of likes the Haitian so far, you know he has a lot of mystery with it so I don't know how much longer we're going to keep the Haitian but yeah, yeah, he really has a name.
BuddyTV: So at this point as far as you know it's not going to be revealed to us?
Louis: I don't know when, I don't know when. And I don't think I can reveal it to you either for the moment.
Follow our link to read the full interview with Jimmy Jean-Louis.