Machine Gun Kelly Talks About Making his Acting Debut

After wrapping up his fall tour on Halloween, rapper Machine Gun Kelly hopped on a plane and flew to Los Angeles for an audition and then immediately flew to Cleveland where he’s been shooting a music video for his new single. He’s spent the better part of today promoting Beyond the Lights, a forthcoming film that features his acting debut. The movie makes its premiere tonight at 7:30 at Valley View Cinemas and MGK will be on hand (it’s an invite-only showing, but there will be a stand-by line for anyone who doesn’t have a ticket). While taking a break between local radio and TV spots, he talked about the movie that finds him playing rapper Kid Culprit, a guy who dates an up-and-coming singer Noni (Gugu Mbatha-Raw). She's struggling to deal with the trappings of fame and fortune and Culprit only makes matters worse. According to MGK, getting cast wasn’t easy.

“I read and then I got a call back,” he says while relaxing at a conference room at WKYC. “They wanted me to do an acting class and then audition. I did that so many times and there were other actors. I was about to tell them to give the part to someone else. It ended up panning out. I was at a studio session with [local producer] Brian Empire at 36th and St. Clair when I got the call that I got the part.”

In one scene, Culprit gets in a particularly vicious fight with Noni. It was a difficult scene to make look realistic.

“We shot that scene so many times,” says Kelly, adding that he recruited his real-life friends to be Culprit’s buddies. “Some of the scene is me free-styling and I wrote my parts in the song, but the Dream wrote the songs. They’re cool for R&B. It’s nothing that Machine Gun Kelly would do but it’s something Kid Culprit would do.”

A recording artist who’s had to try to maintain some semblance of authenticity, Kelly says he relates to the film’s theme.

“I related to it one hundred percent,” he says. “People want to give you an image that they don’t believe in. Music is supposed to be freedom but it’s ironic because the more famous you get for the music you make and the more souls you set free, the more trapped you feel as an artist.”

Kelly, who just bought a house in Cleveland, says his new studio album is slated for release in the first quarter of 2015.

“The single is a for-the-streets single but the record as a whole has a lot of live instrumentation and I got to play guitar on a lot of the songs,” he says. “This is what I wanted to say on my whole first album. The hunger in it feels like it’s supposed to be my first album. It feels really good.”

About The Author

Jeff Niesel

Jeff has been covering the Cleveland music scene for more than 20 years now. And on a regular basis, he tries to talk to whatever big acts are coming through town, too. If you're in a band that he needs to hear, email him at [email protected]
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