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Robert Townsend

Robert Townsend is the man with the dream.

He co-wrote, produced, directed, and starred in The Five Heartbeats as the Five Heartbeats’ songwriter “Duck.”

Townsend narrates this inspiring journey to making a classic, from start to finish.

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Keenen Ivory Wayans

Keenen Ivory Wayans co-wrote The Five Heartbeats with Townsend.

After the success of their first film Hollywood Shuffle, Wayans and Townsend wanted to co-write a heartfelt movie that would create a new image of Black men in Hollywood.

In the documentary, Wayans discusses the two men’s creative processes and what it was like to co-write a classic.

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Michael Wright

Michael Wright played The Five Heartbeat’s troubled lead singer, and popular fan favorite, “Eddie King Jr.”

His method acting brought a beautiful intimacy and rawness to the role, but that intimacy didn’t come without a cost.

In Making the Five Heartbeats, Wright discusses his method and the tension it created on set.


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Harry J. Lennix

Harry J. Lennix was working as a Chicago Public Schools teacher when he got cast as “Dresser,” the Heartbeats with the deepest voice.

Now, Lennix talks about leaving school early for his audition, getting cast in his first on-screen role, and receiving support from students along the way.

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Leon played Duck’s smooth-talking brother and fellow Heartbeat “J.T.” in the film.

Thirty years later, Leon remembers the process of joining the cast, rehearsing for the film, and what it was like to be one of the only Heartbeats with rhythm.

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Tico Wells

Tico Wells portrayed the youngest Heartbeat “Choirboy” who struggles with leaving his religious parents for a life in the notorious music industry.

Wells talks about how he attended an open call audition for the film, got cast, and still meets fans of the film today.

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Hawthorne James

In the classic film, Hawthorne James portrayed Big Red Davis, the villainous owner of The Five Heartbeats’ record label.

Today, James discusses how he got cast in the film and how he helped create the “villain you love to hate” with the famous line, “my office hours are…”

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