Check out our interview with actor Tony Ofori who can be seen as Malcolm in the third season of the Apple TV+ hit children’s mystery television series Ghostwriter.
Ghostwriter is about a group of friends who team up to solve an exciting mystery surrounding a ghost’s unfinished business, when a ghost haunts a neighborhood and starts releasing fictional characters into the world. Tony plays Malcolm a university student determined to make a difference in the world. He is the barista at Village Books and is President of the Black Student Association at his University.
Follow Tony @Tony_Ofori
Hi Tony, please tell us a little about you
Well my name is Tony Ofori and I’m a Humber and York University alumni. I was born and raised in Toronto and I come from a family of 4. I’m the oldest of three siblings so you can imagine the pressure that comes with it. Especially as an actor. Growing up, although I loved the arts, I had dreams of being a firefighter. It wasn’t until my high school drama teacher introduced the idea to me of me being a professional actor, when I decided to give the industry a try. I was also a musician in my past life, opening for artists such as Asap Rocky, Massari and scratch from the roots. Perhaps I’ll get back to making music again, who knows, but it’s important to me that I use this gift of storytelling to inspire and evoke thought and change as best I can.
Describe yourself in 3 words?
How did you get started into acting?
When I was young, I would sing, I would dance and I would act. My grandfather would foster that. Take me to see dance shows and musicians. Then one day he took me to see Aladdin on ice and it was the most magical thing for me. The art of disappearing into a story? From then on he and my parents saw to it that I continued to hold onto this love that I found. I started attending a summer camp called The Junior Rep Program led by Rochelle Doris. There I started to learn the process of scene analysis and the art of storytelling and performance. And before camp was out for the summer, we did a little show that we all helped build costumes and props for.
How has this changed your life?
This career has allowed me the privilege to really try and figure out who I am and the kind of voice I would like to leave out in the world. We often grow up as products of our environment or the people and parents that raised us. But it’s truly a gift to be able to figure out who we are as people in order to explore other characters. A strong foundation makes a strong house.
What is the best and most challenging part about being an actor?
The most challenging and rewarding thing about being an actor is being able to affect other people through storytelling. Sometimes, what we do is entertainment and nothing more, but often, we are making comments about society, the world we live in and how we navigate it. People see themselves in our characters and sometimes, it initiates change. The hard part about that at times, is that we have to carry the weight of living in these characters. It’s sometimes a lot to carry.
How do you prepare for a role?
I prepare for many different projects differently according to what the project requires. I usually read the whole script for understanding, then I read it again for my character. The goal is to understand what my character wants, how they are going to get it, what’s standing in their way and how the character contributes to the overall arch of the story. Starting there allows me to unpack what makes this character tick.
Tell us about your work on Apple TV+’s new series “Ghostwriter”
Ghostwriter is a show about kids that stumble upon a magic book where characters from familiar stories come to life at Village Books, the local book store. It’s up to the kids to figure out why the characters have appeared and how they will get them back into the book.
Malcolm is young, full of life and ambition. He loves to lend a hand whenever he can and is all about community. He’s in his final year of University, works at Village Books and is President of the Black Student Union at his university. So this is a young man that really intends to make a change and difference in the black community.
What kind of roles do you like or would like to play and why?
I love to do comedy truthfully, and word on the street is I’m REALLY funny. But most of the roles I get booked for are usually dramatic ones. Characters that have weight, something to lose or are fighting to gain something. It’s not at all how I imagined my career unfolding, but let me tell you, I love It here!
What is the most rewarding part of your work?
Well obviously being on TV and my mother having bragging rights. My mother is so proud of every project I’m in. I was recently nominated for a Dora Award, for Outstanding Performance in a Leading Role. Let me tell you. Nothing can ever top bring my mom to that event to watch me be celebrated for an outstanding achievement in a career, most don’t have the privilege of excelling in.
What’s your advice for up and coming actors?
Don’t forget to live. Take vacations and do the things you enjoy away from acting! All those experiences and feelings are needed to succeed in the work or you have nothing to bring to it.
What would you say are the greatest lessons you learned so far in this business?
Success in this industry is a journey not a destination.
I graduated top of my class in theatre school. I thought I would make it big in the industry as soon as I got out. This was clearly false. And I’m glad it didn’t happen this way. I got to live and experience things that helped make my art, and my attitude towards my work so much stronger. This business is hard, and slowly our goals will be met, but it’s important to celebrate the little victories as well, because years ago, the old you would have loved to be in the position you are in right now
How would your best friends describe you?
They would say I’m the hardest worker they know. I take my work very seriously and sometimes forget to take a chill pill. I’m always looking for ways to improve my work. It’s a really great attribute to have until it isn’t. Remember to live!
What advice would you give to your younger self and why?
It’s okay to say no. One of the hardest things to do as an artist is to say no to work. Especially when all we want to do is work. Friends, I would encourage you to look at what is in your wheelhouse and what you want from your career and begin building. It’s okay to say no if a project or the people on it make you uncomfortable. Believe me you will work again and trust in God that he will answer your prayers if you allow him to do his work. There have been times I’ve said not to projects for ethical reasons, great projects that could have really helped me financially. The opportunity that came back weeks after was even bigger than what I turned down. Trust your gut, trust in God and trust the process
What’s next for Tony Ofori in the last months of 2022 and for 2023?
Lots of exciting things are happening. Following the release of Ghostwriter, I will be appearing on hit Tv shows Murdoch Mysteries and Star Trek. I will also be spending a few weeks in November working on Hudson & Rex in Newfoundland. To end my year I’ll be working on an adaptation of Ann-Marie MacDonald’s famous novel Fall on Your Knees with Canadian Stage. We will also be bringing the show to London, Ottawa and Halifax which will bring us to April of Next year.
What is your favorite healthy food?
Pizza is healthy right? I love me a beef broccoli stir fry
And your favorite cheat food?
I love me a nice thick greasy burger, with cheese, jalapeño and every sauce under the sun.
What is your own definition of happiness?
Health, wealth and a good relationship with God. Because God is love.
If you could meet someone living or dead, who would it be and why?
If I could meet anyone, alive or dead, I would say I’d like to meet Michael Jackson. Michael was not afraid to break the rules or think outside the box. He didn’t shy away because the things he wanted to do had never been done. This was a man that literally had people fainting just by touching him. What a super power it must be to have such an effect on not just your country, but the world.
Best advice ever given?
“ The devil you know, is better than the Angel you don’t know”. A much more interesting version of “ The grass isn’t always greener”
Where do you see yourself and your career five years from now?
I would hope by the grace of God I will continue to grow as an artist. That I may have the opportunity to tell bigger and more impactful stories. That I can continue to inspire and be the representation of an artist that that one individual needs to find their voice.
Favorite song? Why?
I really like the “Earth Song” by Michael Jackson. Whenever I hear it, I can’t NOT get goosebumps. His voice literally sounds like he’s crying out for change. It’s beautiful.
What do you think of Social Media?
Who’s asking ?! I’m kidding. I think social media is a very useful tool with the ability to give us access to many different things in many places around the world. It can be used to motivate and educate and bring services to the public who might otherwise not know you exist. It can be a very useful tool if used appropriately and respectfully. It is important to understand that many things are altered and filtered to portray a certain message. It should not be used to measure one’s worth in compassion to another person. That is dangerous. And if that’s where you are at the moment, the safest thing to do is log off.
Where can we follow you?
Book: Oedipus Rex
Quote: “All the world’s a stage. And all the men And women merely players.”
TV Series: The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
Favorite Food: Chicken Parmasian
Travel Destination: Ghana
Sports Team: The Toronto raptors