On September 20th, Hallmark Channel premieres the TV movie The Watsons Go to Birmingham, based on the Newbery Award-winning historical fiction novel by Christopher Paul Curtis. The story centers on a loving African-American family who travel together from their home in Michigan to Alabama in the summer of 1963, when the Civil Rights Movement is reaching a boiling point. “Watsons” stars Anika Noni Rose, David Alan Grier, Skai Jackson, Wood Harris, LaTanya Richardson Jackson and Harrison Knight. Actor Bryce Clyde Jenkins plays Kenny Watson. At 13-years-old, Bryce is certainly an actor to watch. In spring 2014, he will make his Broadway debut in the rival of Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun opposite Denzel Washington and the legendary Diahann Carroll. Despite this extraordinary success, Bryce remains humble, good-natured and wise beyond his years.
What do you like most about being an actor?
I like getting to see the world. And, being an actor gives me the opportunity to something that I love (acting) while exploring the world.
Which actors do you admire most?
I really admire Denzel Washington, Will Smith and my dad, Mykel Shannon Jenkins. Mr. Washington draws me into the movie because he seems to stay in every moment. He really keeps me on the edge of my seat. Mr. Smith, on the other hand, is entertaining and fun to watch. He always keeps me laughing. And, Mr. Jenkins has always been a role model for me and he has taught me so much, making me the actor that I am today.
When you’re not acting or going to school, what do you like to do for fun?
I love hanging out with my friends and participating in sports, like basketball, football, swim, etc.
Are you grumpy in the morning or are you a “morning person”?
I am grumpy in the morning. I don’ ;t like waking up early. But, as the day moves along, I become the wonderful person you want to know and be around.
Who is your favorite singer? And why?
I don’t really have a favorite singer. I am open minded to many songs and artists.
The Watsons Go to Birmingham is a very special story. Why do you think it’s an important one to share with everyone?
I think the story is important to share because a lot of people don’t understand their history. It is important that we know our history so that we don’t repeat our past.
This film is based on a book by Christopher Paul Curtis. What are your two favorite books – and why?
I have read numerous books over the years. One of my favorites is “The Champion in You” by Dr. Kenneth C. Ulmer. I liked it because it taught me about winning character traits, integrity and trustworthiness, and leadership qualities and solid moral values. “True champions are made, not born.”
If you could write your own book, what would it be about and what would the title be?
My book would be titled “Going for the Gold.” It would be a book about what it takes to succeed in this world… the hard work, the preparation, the dedication…in all that you do. And, that’s what you must do. Go for the gold!
Let’s pretend you could only watch and play ONE sport (football, basketball, baseball, etc.) until the end of time. What would it be? Why?
Basketball. It is one of my true passions along with acting. It is fun to watch and fun play. The athletes in the pro games work so hard to be the best they can be. I try to model myself after those players by working hard to be the best that I can be.
Even harder maybe (for us anyway), but if you could only eat ONE kind of ice cream forever and ever and ever – what would it be? And why?
Vanilla. You can put so many different toppings on it without it tasting strange.
Finally, and this is a big one, what are your top three pizza toppings?
Pepperoni! Pepperoni! and Pepperoni! You can never have too much of a good thing!!