At the movies

‘Endless Love’ actor Dayo Okeniyi is busy and he likes it that way

 
Kevin Winter / Getty Images

Dayo Okeniyi might have to think about getting a personal assistant. The Nigerian actor’s schedule is filling up quickly with recent roles in The Hunger Games (as Tribute Thresh), The Spectacular Now (as a star athlete), Runner Runner (playing a Ph.D. student). On Friday, you’ll have a chance to catch the up-and-comer in the updated Endless Love.

You are so busy — are you living the dream? What is your ideal part right now?

My dream was to be a working actor so in that case, yes, I am. Ideal role is any one in which I get to play real, complex, multi-layered characters and not caricatures. I love exploring the human condition.

You worked alongside Justin Timberlake in “Runner, Runner.” Does he sing on set?

Yes, he does. I am not sure he was aware of it, but he beat-boxes in between takes … very reminiscent of his N*Sync days. He’s great.

Dream director/costar?

JJ Abrams and Denzel Washington. Exceptional-beyond-exceptional talents.

What advice would you give a young person just starting out in showbiz?

There has to be nothing else you would rather do with your life. You have to be able to be willing to accept that you may go decades without making it.

Talk about your character in “Endless Love.”

Mace is easily the comic relief. I have never had the chance to play a character that was so spontaneous and carefree. He is best friends with David [ Alex Pettyfer]. Mace is a daredevil who brings out the mischief in those around him, but his intentions are never malicious.

Did you see the original?

No, I stayed away from that. This was a complete re-telling with modern sensibilities; I did everything I could to look at it with fresh eyes.

Is it a good date-night movie?

Yes, because it's honest. Teen romances tend to seem trite and ludicrous in retrospect, but they feel real when we are in the middle of it, living it. This movie shows that honestly and shows how things could spiral and go very wrong when the generation gap of parents gets involved.

Do you have any plans for Friday night?

Home alone with Ben & Jerry's in hand. Who out there will be my Valentine? Call me.

Madeleine Marr

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