- Aldis Hodge’s new film, Marmalade, is much more than a simple heist movie, delving into themes of justice and more.
- Hodge’s supporting character, Otis, in Marmalade is a standout with his comedic and authentic reactions, making viewers root for him.
- Hodge has had diverse roles in his career, from playing Jim Brown in One Night in Miami… to portraying Hawkman in Black Adam, and he hopes to revisit the Hawkman character in the future.
Jim Brown. Hawkman. MC Ren. This wide-ranging list of icons and movie characters all have a commonality: versatile actor Aldis Hodge, who has played all these personas and is back in action with a new caper film hitting the masses this week. Who doesn’t love a good heist movie? However, when you hear a title like Marmalade, your mind might go somewhere outside the crime realm. Such an enticing word doesn’t necessarily evoke Ocean’s 11 or even High or Hell Water vibes. That’s probably because Aldis Hodge’s new movie, written and directed by Keir O’Donnell (hilarious co-star of Wedding Crashers), becomes much more than a simple tale of lovers robbing banks for a quick cash fix.
Also starring Joe Keery (Stranger Things) and Camila Morrone (Daisy Jones & The Six), Marmalade becomes a twisty-turny tale of a suspect inmate (Hodge) learning the backstory of his cellmate and ultimately taking action for the sake of justice and more. We recently caught up with Aldis Hodge to learn more about his standout role in Marmalade, what it was like working with Regina King a few years back, and why The Color Purple (2023) deserves more Oscar love.
‘Beautiful Things Go Off the Rails’
Sometimes, the most appreciated part of an actor’s performance is their ability to react authentically, sometimes to thrillingly comedic effect. Sure, Keery is the main character of Marmalade, but we’re rooting for Hodge’s supporting character, Otis, all the way, especially when he’s juggling dim-witted colleagues. His constant eye-rolls and huffing & puffing will make you laugh out loud, especially for those who can relate to sharing office space with people you simply cannot stand.
“When it comes to the balancing of the comedic times and trying to understand how we’re flowing into the root of the story, all that’s a real big dance,” Hodge told MovieWeb. “I love the fact that he was trying so hard. And he was dry. So he takes himself so serious. That was actually one of the best parts about this role, is, ‘How seriously can I go with this guy?’ Because he’s just locked in, you know? The rug keeps getting pulled up from under him. But you kind of end up having a heart for him at the end of it because you’re like, ‘Man, he was trying. He’s actually a good guy.’ And then, beautiful things go off the rails.”
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When we first meet Hodge as Otis in Marmalade, he’s behind bars, a persona he’s tackled on at least one occasion in years past. “When my team first told me about the script, they’re like, ‘So you’re in jail again.’ I was like, ‘Hold that.’ I had just come off of playing a role where I was in prison,” he said. “But when I read the script and I saw all the differences, I was like, ‘OK, yeah, this is very different.'”
Without revealing too much, Otis also has law-enforcement ties that might remind Hodge fans of his past role in the acclaimed series City on a Hill. He’s also playing the iconic Alex Cross character in an upcoming series based on James Patterson’s book series. “If I put all three of those cops in the same space, I’m going to have different conversations,” Hodge told us. “So that’s what I want to do, is be able to feel that, as much difference in sort of range in my volume of work as possible.”
Another landmark role in Hodge’s filmography: real-life icon and civil rights activist Jim Brown in the acclaimed film One Night in Miami… Hodge was more than happy to discuss working on that project, which hit the masses during the early days of COVID-19:
“First of all, Regina King is just royalty to me. Kemp Powers, he’s a genius. What he was able to do, what they were both able to do, their teamwork really was exemplary on that film. And I mean, I’d work with those two any day of the week. I don’t care what it is. But it taught me a lot. And with every set, I’m looking for education, something that’s going to teach me about filmmaking or the craft of the art a different way. When it comes to biopics, there’s a different responsibility because you’re playing somebody real, and to honor their story. But you also take some liberties for storytelling. And that’s an art unto itself. So I think they really hit it out of the park with that film. I was very lucky to be a part of that cast.”
DC Universe and Love for The Color Purple
Fans of the superhero genre will also remember Hodge from Black Adam as Hawkman. He has also kept busy in DC’s animated universe, voicing John Stewart in the film Justice League: Crisis on Infinite Earths – Part One. “As a live-action space, I would love if they revisited Hawkman. It’d be awesome to step back into those shoes again,” Hodge told us. “But if it was something where it happened to be a different hero, different character, I’m open to that as well. But I definitely would love to finish Hawkman. We had great plans there, and I would love to see those plans carried out.”
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Besides the imminent Marmalade, another hot-ticket item coming this year for Hodge is the film Parallel alongside Danielle Deadwyler. “It was a fantastic experience for my brother [Edwin] and I, stepping into this space, producing and writing, working with Danielle Deadwyler,” said Hodge. “She’s amazing. I mean, she’s a gift as an artist.”
And as we’re in the thick of it with awards season, we were curious if Hodge is rooting for any of the acclaimed films in particular. “I’m gonna give a shoutout to Danielle Brooks all day,” said Hodge of The Color Purple (2023) performer.
“We did Clemency together, and I’m very proud of her. I’m very happy. She’s well-deserving, and I really hope she gets up there and knocks it down. I wish that love could have spread through to Taraji. She did a great job. Fantasia, she was amazing, but [being snubbed] doesn’t take anything away from the fact that they are incredible, gifted artists. They are monsters at their craft.”
Meanwhile, on the small screen, it seems FX’s The Bear just cannot be stopped, with Hodge voicing his support in our recent interview. “Ayo Edebiri is incredible. She is literally the spitting image of my sister, which is probably why I’m looking at her, like, ‘I’m literally watching my sister,'” said Hodge. “But I think she’s incredible. I’m really happy for all the success and accolades that have come her way. I don’t know her, but very proud of her.” From Signature Entertainment, Marmalade hits theaters and on demand Friday, Feb. 9.