The actor has appeared in a number of big productions including "Law & Order," "Master of None" and more.
Jamar Greene has lived a pretty full life.
He met Batman. He nearly got cursed out by actress Debra Messing. And he’s opened up concerts for popular rap acts Mobb Deep and Lil Kim.
Greene, a graduate of the Delaware State University Class of 2000 (with a bachelor’s in mass communications), had long dreamed of using his rapping ability to open the door to the acting world, like an iconic ‘90s emcee.
“My favorite rapper was, and is, 2Pac,” said Greene, 40, of Brooklyn, N.Y. “His music was incredible, but he also started to delve into acting.
“I was the type of dude that when I watched 2Pac in ‘Juice,’ I would play the movie and record the audio on my tape deck.
“Then I’d listen to it on my way to school, and even when I went to sleep, I’d visualize the scenes in my head. That’s how much I had the acting bug. That’s when I said, ‘Wow, I think I can do this.’”
At DSU, Greene dabbled in theater, but rapping was his main focus. In 2009, the New York native wasn’t a fan of the south’s stranglehold on hip-hop, so he gave up rapping, he said.
Putting all of his eggs into his acting basket, in 2014 he signed a management contract with Dream Maker Talent. Dream Maker helped him land a slew of auditions, including his first role in TV on “The Mysteries of Laura.”
From there, he landed roles in major projects such as “Gotham,” “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” “The Blacklist,” "Money Monster" with actress Jodi Foster, “Master of None” and “Luke Cage.”
Things started to pick up for you once you signed with Dream Maker.
Things definitely did. Prior to that, I didn’t really know how to maneuver in the acting business. Once I was able to get in contact with Dream Maker and sign with them, because they’d shown interest, they were sending me out on auditions, left and right. I never really had auditions before that, so I was getting my feet wet.
How did you land the role on “Laura?”
I read the script and saw exactly what the scene was about. The further you get into the acting business and auditioning, you start to pick up different things. You start to look at the character breakdown to see what they want to see out of this character you’re auditioning for. If you have one line or two, the scene isn’t really about you. You’re just an addition to whatever they’re trying to get across in that moment in that scene. I got the understanding that it’s not about me, it was about the other person I’m in the scene with, who was Debra Messing, who’s a huge actress.
Who was your character on “Laura?”
I played a tow truck driver, where one of the witnesses was getting her car towed, because she was parked illegally. Debra Messing was coming to see one of the witnesses to speak with them. She saw the witness was frustrated arguing with me, because I was towing her car. So I had Debra Messing almost curse me out, letting me know she’s the police and I need to put the witness’ car down.
Who’s a big actor/actress you had a great interaction with during one of your projects?
Cedric the Entertainer was definitely one. The project was “Master of None” and his dressing room was right across from mine. So we got to know each other on set, shooting a couple dates of our scene. After that he came over to my dressing room when he was getting ready to leave. He took some pictures with me and a video. He told me he was familiar with me. He’d seen my face before, but he couldn’t remember where it was from. I figured he probably remembered me from that show “Gotham” on FOX. He told me to keep on doing what I was doing because he definitely sees me out here working. That was inspiring, because he’s an OG.
What’s the biggest role/production you’ve been in?
Hands down, it’s “Gotham.” I played a character named Cupcake. But his real name is Terrance Shaw. In the episode Batman was trying to find out who killed his parents. Him and his butler, Alfred, were going from town to town, trying to find certain people who could give him clues to who might’ve killed his parents. They had to come to my dungeon, where I had my mutant gang (or a little fight club). They had to speak to me. Me being 6-foot-4, I’m kind of intimidating. You had young Batman and older Alfred trying to talk to me in the midst of what’s going on in my little dungeon area.
Is there anything you can do to not get pigeonholed as the tough, big black guy?
I actually have a photo shoot coming up this weekend, just to try to get different looks during the photo shoot. I didn’t have any acting friends when I first got into the business to let me know exactly what I can do [to land different roles]. Now I know I need a bunch of different looks. I need a safe look, that guy-next-door look. I need those type of looks from my headshots, so that when they’re casting for these roles and they’ll see that I’m actually smiling in my headshot, and I’m not looking as menacing -- maybe new opportunities will be afforded to me.
Do you have a dream role?
I’d like to play someone who’s so far outside of myself that people wouldn’t even believe I could play that type of role; almost like one of Leonardo DiCaprio’s first roles in “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape,” when he played a kid who was mentally challenged. At that time I didn’t know who Leonardo DiCaprio was. I remembered that movie and that it was really good. But I didn’t know, until years later, that was him. I was like, “Wow, that’s amazing.” He became a totally different person. You would’ve almost thought the actor was mentally challenged, and he just so wanted to be an actor. With that being said, I want to do something totally out of the box.
What projects do you have coming up?
My episode on “Blindspot” just aired. I still have an episode on “Quantico” on ABC that will come out in June or July. Right this minute I’m not shooting anything. But a lot of the projects I’ve shot haven’t come out yet. I have “You” still coming out, a new Lifetime series. I think that’s coming out in the fall. There’s also “Looming Tower” on Hulu. I have a small scene on two of the episodes on there. And I’m in a few episodes of “Luke Cage.”