We interview veteran Hawaii-born actor Kaiwi Lyman-Mersereau, who landed his biggest role to date in the action movie "Den of Thieves," starring Gerard Butler and open nationwide in theaters Jan. 19.
Where did you get your start in acting? Mid-Pacific School of the Arts. The great thing about Mid-Pacific is that they're preparing actors at a college level, so the training that they give you those four years in high school is equivalent to what you would get at a college. I was on stage in a lot of productions at Mid-Pacific. (He graduated in 2002.)
When was your professional start as an actor? Thirteen years ago in the TV series "Hawaii." Since then, I have done about 73 movies and TV episodes. In movies, like "American Violence," in which I had the lead role of a convicted killer, I have often played tough, violent characters. But my TV episodes have had me playing a range of roles. I was on "Fresh Off The Boat" and the soap opera "The Young and the Restless." Most recently, I played Gutterball in 'American Horror Story: Cult."
Talk about your biggest movie to date, "Den of Thieves." How did you prepare for your role? Gerard Butler leads a team of cops called "The Regulators," who try to foil a multi-million dollar bank heist by a band of thieves led by Pablo Schreiber (brother of Liev Schreiber). I play a cop named Tony Zapata. In preparation, I had to train with tactical weapons.