Last night, the Toronto International Film Festival kicked off with the world premiere of Message from the King at the historic Elgin Theatre. The revenge thriller stars Chadwick Boseman (Get On Up, Black Panther) as a South African visitor looking for his sister's killers in the seedy streets of downtown Los Angeles.
Boseman's quiet performance as Jacob King is compelling. He's always cool and reserved -- even when he's brutally beating a man within an inch of his life with a bicycle chain. Message from the King is one of those rare slow burners that actually pays off in the end. As King comes closer to finding his answers, so do we when it comes to learning what drives our mysterious anti-hero.
Los Angeles actor Amin El Gamal plays the love interest of Alfred Molina's corrupt Hollywood producer in the film. I asked him what Message from the King meant to him. "It was a very visceral experience -- even for a small part like mine," he explains. "I was there for just two weeks of night shoots. It was a lot of blood, sweat and tears. Director Fabrice Du Welz (Calvaire, Alleluia) is a visionary and to be a part of that in some way was magical."
And what was El Gamal's preparation for his role as Martine? "I had to learn a lot of songs. Some of which you don't see in the movie. Otherwise, it was all instinctual. It was a character that wasn't really that different from me in a lot of ways."
Next year, El Gamal can be seen in a recurring role on Fox's highly anticipated Prison Break sequel.
Follow Amin on Twitter.