MJ: Tell me about your new role in Patti Cake$? What do you think the viewers will say right after they leave the theater?
Athie: I play a young man that calls himself Bastare who is a very musical person, but he lives in a shack in the woods. He really doesn’t have any friends until he meets the main character Patti. One of the things I loved about this movie when I read the script was that it is a young woman fighting for her dreams, and I think that’s something most people want to see in this troubling time in America. I truly feel like they will simply love this movie. They will see it for what it actually is and be inspired.
MJ: Do you have an Instagram because I tried to find you to do a little snooping. (laughs jokingly) When I did finally find one, it was private so I figured it wasn’t yours.
Athie: I don’t really do the whole Instagram thing. I mean I do have an Instagram…but it’s definitely private. I’m not really into sharing stuff on Instagram. Can I be honest with you? Leo DiCaprio has an Instagram, but it is all about environmental issues… which I think is lovely and useful and is a good reason to have social media. I think over exposure in a certain way is not a good idea for a good actor, and sometimes it’s not a bad idea. I don’t think it is the best idea for every actor to do.
MJ: Why do you think that?
Athie: Sidney Poitier told Denzel Washington that if they see you every day during the week, they are not going to pay to see you on the weekend. I think there is some truth to that. There is good and bad that comes with it, but I don’t want to play the game with it. It’s a big deal with casting right now, and I don’t want to be a part of anything like that, so I will just keep my stuff private.
MJ: How will your fans get to know you or get a feel for you if your page is private? Me personally, I won’t follow a brand or consumer just because their page is private. In a sense it could be different for actors, but in certain ways it could be considered the same. How can a fan get to know you? I mean, we like to feel some type of personal connection with some of our favorite celebrities. Even if you don’t post on a regular basis, fans just like to have that access.
Athie: Hopefully they can do that through the characters I play in the movies, because I feel like the internet intimacy is a false intimacy. I’m just not the guy to do it, and I don’t want to put myself in a position which could possibly affect my career. So I just opted out of that. I’m not looking to having a bunch of followers on Instagram or anything like that. I’m happy to do interviews and meet people on the street personally. The internet thing just doesn’t suit my personality, and it can be addictive so I just don’t want to do it.
MJ: Where do you see your career going in the next three years?
Athie: The work I am most interested in doing is vehicles of social change and entertaining of course, continuing to do great work and working with people that inspire me with great scripts.
MJ: Being an actor, how do you pick between picking a great script with little pay or picking a role for the check?
Athie: You have to be very careful especially within the “making” stages of one’s career. I feel like it’s important to pick something I feel strongly about, because it’s your introduction to the world. Sidney Poitier told Denzel Washington that the first few movies you do determine your career. I have certainly passed on things that were going to pay me more, but I didn’t think it would help my career move in the direction I wanted to be as actor. I have been fortunate to be able to do that unlike some actors, because you know you have to pay off those student loans. (laughs)
Patti Cake$ was released in theaters August 18, 2017.