Meet 'Aadujeevitham' star Jimmy Jean-Louis, Hollywood actor who did modeling with Aishwarya Rai

The actor said he enjoyed the experience working with Prithviraj and Blessy. Photo | Instagram (jimmyjeanlouis)

Hollywood actor Jimmy Jean-Louis was surprised by the number of people who would assist him with his makeup and costumes, along with other tasks on the sets of ‘Aadujeevitham’. “In Hollywood, it doesn’t work that way. There would be one particular person for a specific task. That’s how the work is allotted. To be honest, it was a cultural shock for me, but the experience was interesting,” said the actor who plays Ibrahim Kadheri, the man who leads ‘Aadujeevitham’ protagonist Najeeb to safety.

“I tried to play Ibrahim as close to God as I could. After all, he is someone who appears out of nowhere to lead a desperate man to safety. I drew upon the lessons and challenges I faced in my life to play the character,” said Jimmy, who had to face several challenges of his own during his early years.

Jimmy’s parents left Haiti, a conflict-ridden country, for a better life in Paris when he was a young child. Though the city sheltered him for years, it later rendered him homeless. He then moved to Los Angeles in the United States seeking greener pastures. His chance encounter with former South African president Nelson Mandela during this difficult phase, changed his attitude to life forever.

“The meeting with Nelson Mandela solidified something in me. Here was a man who was put behind bars and yet became the president of South Africa. This meeting taught me that nothing could stop me, except myself. I realised I had a purpose in life,” he said.

The Hollywood actor who has worked in film franchises like ‘Detective Knight’ and television series, including ‘Heroes’ was passionate about dance as a child. In fact, he never dreamt of becoming an actor. Rather, he spent years working in dancing clubs and musical theatre and later became a much-sought after model.

The actor with Bruce Willis. Photo | Instagram (jimmyjeanlouis)

“Though those gigs were successful, I was often homeless in Paris. This is why I was forced to move to the United States,” he said. After reaching the United States, he kept modeling for some of the biggest commercial brands. In the 1990s, he visited India and was part of a fashion show in Mumbai, along with Aishwarya Rai.

“I didn’t know she was this famous then. This was after she had won the Miss World pageant,” said Jimmy. Though Jimmy had become a successful model, he decided to try his hand in acting. He started off by playing small roles in films like ‘The Bourne Identity,’ among others. Over the years, he has acted alongside some of the biggest names in Hollywood, including Harrison Ford, Jennifer Lawrence and Bruce Willis.

Jimmy says he drew upon the lessons and challenges he faced in his life to play the character. Photos | Instagram (jimmyjeanlouis)

“I learnt a lot along the way by observing how all these actors work. Harrison Ford, for example, is so professional. That is something I imbibed from him,” he said.

So, were there any challenges working in ‘Aadujeevitham’? “I joined the sets towards the later half of the shoot, which was in Jordan. I had to carry Prithviraj and run for my scene, but this was difficult because we had to fight against the wind in the desert. Overall, however, the experience was great,” said Jimmy, who is also one of the producers of the movie.

The Hollywood actor said he decided to be part of Blessy’s film because it has a lot of heart and soul. “I hadn’t heard about the book or even the actors when I was approached by the filmmakers. I said yes to this project because it was based on a real life incident. In Hollywood, we hardly get to do movies with a message. I wanted to take this risk. It is a new journey and I hope I get to do more such characters and be part of these kind of films here in India,” he said.

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