As a teen, a ride along with police officers should be simple traffic tickets and domestic calls. Not a major bank robbery with trained military professionals.
Nicolas Cage stars in the action film 211 as a police officer, who faces off a highly-trained mercenary group that decided to rob a bank.
211 also stars Sophie Skelton (Outlander), Michael Rainey Jr. (Power), Dwayne Cameron (McLaren), Weston Cage (Drive Angry), and Cory Hardrict (American Sniper).
LRM had a phone interview with Michael Rainey Jr., who played Kenny, a teen innocently tagged along with cops when the bank robbery occurred. We talked about Europe, Nic Cage and the awesome production behind the scenes.
Rainey is an up-and-coming actor, who currently stars as Tariq S. Patrick in Power. His past films included Barbershop: The Next Cut and Lee Daniels’ The Butler. He was also in a few seasons in Netflix’s Orange Is the New Black as Michael Burset.
211 is playing in limited theaters today and also available on VOD and Digital HD.
Read our interview transcript below.
LRM: How were you approached for 211?
Michael Rainey Jr.: I met with the director York [Alex Shackleton] in California. He told me about the role and on where it was going to be filmed. He just told me everything about it. After I heard everything, I told myself I need to be on this. I was interested in from the jump. So yeah, that’s howit happened. I met with York in California and everything just happened from there.
LRM: So why were you attracted to this project in particular?
Michael Rainey Jr.: It was like an action movie. That was number one. Number two, it was filmed in Europe. That was pretty fun. And then number three, Nicolas Cage’s in it. That’s also pretty cool. Overall, it sounded like a great project. York asked me to be a part of this. And I said that I needed to be a part of this.
LRM: First of all, I’ve checked out the movie that your character probably went on the worst ride along ever. [Laughs] Tell me about your role about playing a teenager who gets stuck in the middle of a bank robbery?
Michael Rainey Jr.: Well, for someone like Kenny–that’s tragic. He’s like a shy, soft-spoken [teen]. He doesn’t really speak at all. As a person, he’s pretty timid throughout the movie. He has to grow and he asked to take on like really big responsibilities. Throughout the movie, it does show his growth and become an adult. He becomes a big kid that will be asked to do some serious thing in order to survive.
How was it acting alongside with an Nicolas Cage? He probably was one of the coolest people that anyone would love to act with.
Yes. Nicholas Cage is an amazing actor. He said I was easy to work with and one of his favorite co-stars. That was like big confidence booster. We did all of our action scenes pretty quickly.
LRM: While you were in Europe, did you actually visit any fun places there?
Michael Rainey Jr.: I went to Greece. Greece is nice. We stayed there for a few days. It was beautiful in Greece, but I forgot on where we were specifically. I also went to another place in Bulgaria. We went to a small little island in Bulgaria. That was beautiful as well. I also went to Italy again after we finished filming. I went to Italy for a few days.
LRM: It almost sounds like a long vacation. Would you want to take another project again in Europe?
Michael Rainey Jr.: Oh, definitely. I would to take another project in Europe. If there’s any reason to go to Europe, then I would love to.
LRM: Do you have any projects that are currently in the works or you’re ready to do that you could talk about?
Michael Rainey Jr.: This summer, I’m going to direct my first film.
LRM: Could you tell me more about that?
Michael Rainey Jr.: I don’t know the exact name of it right now. We’re in the process of writing everything. I’m getting ready to take the director’s responsibility. I’m getting ready for that. I’m kind of nervous, because I’ve never directed before. This will be something new for me.
LRM: That’s quite interesting. Do you actually have a basic plot line of what the story’s about?
Michael Rainey Jr.: Basically, it’s about this kid and he has a brother. In this case, he didn’t like school and his brother on the streets and. He does bad things. I don’t really want to say too much. I don’t know how to say it without giving it away.
LRM: That’s fine. One last one last question for you. When you took up the movie of 211, did you have to look up yourself on what 211 means?
Michael Rainey Jr.: No, I didn’t look it up. I didn’t know what it meant either. I didn’t have the time to look it. I ended up like knowing it naturally. I forgot what it was that told me. I found out it was like a bank robbery or something like that. It was either a bank robbery or shooting. It’s one of those codes for that. It must’ve been something I saw on the Internet. 211? Oh, I’m filming that right now.
LRM: Hey, thank you very much Michael. I’m for talking with me and good luck with your directorial debut.
Michael Rainey Jr.: Thank you. Thank you.
Source: LRM Online Exclusive