Author Topic: Actor Deíaundre Bonds Gets Career on Track After 10 Years in Prison  (Read 1478 times)

Offline Kristopher

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The Wood' star details what role God played in his road to redemption

By the mid í90s, Deíaundre Bondsí acting career was headed in a promising direction. He had memorable roles in cult classics like Get on the Bus, Sunset Park, Tales From the Hood and The Wood on his resume. Bondsí success was not by accident, it was all part of his master plan. From a young age, the California native decided to avoid the path his parents took by not allowing alcohol, drugs and the violence in his South Central neighborhood to keep him from reaching his dreams of making it in Hollywood. However, right when he was about to make one of his biggest career movesówhich would have been to star in Denzel Washingtonís Antwone Fisheróan unfortunate chain of events led Bonds to prison when he was charged and convicted of manslaughter in 2001.

After serving nearly a decade behind bars, Bonds was released in March 2011 and immediately began working again. The undeterred thespian will appear next alongside such mainstream stars as Emma Stone, Ryan Gosling, Sean Penn, Nick Nolte and Anthony Mackie in the upcoming period police drama, Gangster Squad. Heís also working on music and a clothing line, as well as a book and documentary about his life. Bondsí dream may have been deferred but itís definitely back on track. caught up with the actor to talk about what role faith plays in his life and entrepreneurial success.

What are the details of the crime that sent you to prison?
I went over to my auntieís house to give her some money and her boyfriend was over there. I guess he had something that he was going through that I wasnít unaware of, because for no provoked reason he came at me in an aggressive way. When I pulled up and got out my car, I left it running to go in for a moment, and I guess he was mad I had the music up. I donít know, but something ticked him off and he put his hands on me and knocked me down. I got up and he knocked me down again. I went in the house grabbed a knife [and] he came at me again. I stabbed him one time and he died. I stayed there and tried to help him. I waited for the ambulance; they came and took him away. Then the police came. Thatís what happened.

What were your thoughts when you realized the results of your actions and likely headed to prison?
It was crazy because when I went to prison I had just booked a movie with Denzel Washington. Denzel himself gave me the part, it was Antwone Fisher and I was excited to be living my dream. I was about to go to the next level and then all of a sudden I had to go down. At the time I didnít understand why me and then after going through it, after enduring it and after the years you learn why. Itís something you can only understand after youíve endured it. In a crazy way I needed that. I needed to be shut down. I needed to learn myself, I needed a place where I had to really open my eyes and wake up. Thatís what incarceration afforded me the opportunity to doówake up and check myself. Weíre not perfect, however, Iím striving to be the best that I can be.

Coming from a world of red carpet premieres and flashing lights, how did you adjust to incarceration?
One of the things that kept me going and focused was getting out to my family and the people that stood by my side and life in general. Thereís nothing alive in prison, itís an absolute walking death. That motivated me even more to get out of there by any means necessary because I donít see how people can give up in something like that place. Spirituality played a major role for me to want to get out of there. All the lights were off, phones were cut off and gates were locked. Itís just you and God and He talks to you. I donít want to get religious but for me, just praying and enduring that made me know that I needed God. Heís first but the only way I can put Him first is to make sure Iím right. He canít be first if you ainít right so I learned so much about my spirituality and my inner strength and the God within me, so thatís what I discovered.

Were you concerned about how your conviction and the amount of time you had to serve would impact your acting career?
I donít know if itís something that affected my career because people are still receptive to my talent and my work. People donít necessarily hold what happened against my talent and my work, and if they do, I donít know [anything] about it. If I could ever change what happen I would absolutely do that in a minute, in a second, but I know that thatís not a possibility, so I donít hold it against myself. God hasnít held it against me either because I feel it in my heart; my heart is free. So if the conviction impacted my career in a negative way I havenít seen it.

Surprisingly, your first film after being released is a mainstream project that features a long list of big stars. How were you able to bounce back so quickly?
When I was in [prison] it was like I havenít been eating and then I started starving and when they put a plate out there I went [for] it. When I got out I was ready to go right to running. I was ready to do it. I said I wasnít going to cry over time that I canít get back but what matters today is that I go forward. Thatís ultimately how I got out, and right away I booked my first audition, which was a mini series. I didnít get the second audition but I got the third audition, which is Gangster Squad. The film stars Sean Penn, Ryan Gosling, Anthony Mackie, Emma Stone, myself, Josh Brolin and many other great actors. I [was] so focused on the character that when I read for the role I wasnít even aware that all these actors were in the movie until I got it. And then I was shocked. I was like, This is truly a blessing. It was nice to get that role and get back out there and work with such wonderful people.

Whatís your role in Gangster Squad?
My characterís name is Duke Del Red, he was a heroine dealer back in the late 1940ís and this movie takes place in that era. He worked for one of the main guys who was a mafia figure that ran Los Angeles. This is a different character for me and people are going to be blown away by the style. My character goes through all kinds of craziness. Itís fun because itís not like any of the characters that I played before. Thereís action and running and craziness.

What else are you working on to make up for lost time?
I have a clothing line called Cherish Her for women that Iím starting and Iím into music now. I have an album out on iTunes called Real Life that Iím getting wonderful feedback from. I wrote a book about my life story that will be out real soon and I want to have that made into a feature film. Iím also doing a documentary about my life so that I can show my transition from getting back out here into society and back to work so that people can learn. Iím doing what I loveóentertainment, acting, directing, fashionÖ Iím just trying to do it all.

Offline JRCarter

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Re: Actor Deíaundre Bonds Gets Career on Track After 10 Years in Prison
« Reply #1 on: April 25, 2012, 10:26:11 am »
Nice to see he's getting his life back on track.