While most people his age are out at college parties, Jacob Latimore is busy gearing up for the release of his next feature film. And his Netflix original movie. And the second season of his Showtime series.
The 21-year-old rising star, best known as teen dad Emmett on Showtime’s The Chi, seems right at home on the silver screen, though his career actually started behind the mic.
After his family moved from Milwaukee to Atlanta — a place for the then-preteen to hone his musical talents — Latimore began to lay down tracks. His single, “Like ’Em All,” featuring Diggy Simmons, flew to No. 5 at Radio Disney and immediately sold over 100,000 downloads. But he didn’t stop there.
“It’s really cool to investigate other worlds,” Latimore told The Hollywood Reporter last April.
After signing with RCA Records in 2010, it was only a matter of time before Latimore wanted more. That year he also landed his first feature film, Vanishing on 7th Street, and in 2013, starred alongside Forest Whitaker, Jennifer Hudson, Mary J. Blige and Nas in Black Nativity.
“Music was at the forefront of my career, but now it’s film, film, film,” he’s said.
His breakout came in The Chi, in which he plays a “playboy,” he says — well, more like “ladies man,” since Emmett’s actually flat broke — who is forced to take care of his newborn baby on the South Side of Chicago.
“I thought this was a cool role for me, specifically, to play Emmett because this is the first role where I feel like young kids can identify themselves with me,” Latimore explained. “That really intrigued me because I haven’t played a role like that where [young people think], ‘Yo, that’s me. That’s similar to my lifestyle.’”
Though Latimore himself isn’t yet a parent, his mother had him when she was 18, “and that’s kind of around the age that Emmett is,” Latimore said in an interview last month. “So it made me think back to my parents’ perspective and how they had to just hustle and make sacrifices.”
Adds manager Jeremy Geffen: “We always look for projects that provide another dimension of Jacob’s immense talent and that allow him to constantly raise the bar on his performances,” he tells Us. “His next release, Krystal, out in April, provided physical as well as emotional challenges. Jacob is in a wheelchair throughout the movie yet he emotes the layered character’s reactions as if his body were helping him to communicate.”
With Krystal in the can and ready for its debut this April, Latimore can focus on the lead role of Candy Jar, an upcoming Netflix original movie. Then it’s back to Chicago for The Chi, recently renewed for a second season.
“Emmett views the South Side as a land of opportunity,” says Latimore, who seems to be viewing Hollywood just the same.
“This is just the beginning,” Geffen adds. “He’s not just a star, he’s a meteor shower!”