When Gabriel Casseus was just reaching adulthood, he'd hang out in Harlem with Eriq La Salle and Ving Rhames and the trio would fantasize about success in show business. But while his cohorts became w...
Had supporting role in "Harlem Aria"; shown at the Toronto Film Festival
Beakthrough feature role as a recent convert to Islam in "Get On the Bus", directed by Spike Lee
Was manager of The Shark Bar restaurant on NYC's West Side
Cast as Denzel Washington's brother in "Fallen"
Played God in the remake of "Bedazzled"
Raised in Harlem and on Long Island
TV-movie debut in "Nightjohn" (Disney Channel); film also screened at festivals
Feature film debut, "New Jersey Drive"
Acted in the prison-themed "Lock Down"
Began acting as a teenager
Penned the script for "Bone Deep" (in development as of 2000)
Appeared as the younger incaration of Ron Canada's character in the flashback sequences of "Lone Star"
TV acting debut in a guest role on the primetime Fox series "New York Undercover"
Co-starred in the "Dracula" remake "Revenant"; received regional release in San Francisco before a video release under the title "Modern Vampires"
When Gabriel Casseus was just reaching adulthood, he'd hang out in Harlem with Eriq La Salle and Ving Rhames and the trio would fantasize about success in show business. But while his cohorts became working actors and then hot properties, Casseus languished in Manhattan working in restaurants, playing the occasional guest roles in local filmed TV series, such as on "New York Undercover" (Fox, 1994) and "Law & Order" (NBC, 1994). The commanding actor also honed his craft on stage, appearing in regional theater productions of "The Amen Corner" and "Blues for Mr. Charlie", but some of his acting gigs were truly on the bottom rung (e.g., acting in staged recreations of crimes on Fox's "America's Most Wanted").<p> Casseus was fired from his job managing The Shark Bar, a trendy West Side eatery in Manhattan which was a favorite of black show business in 1994. The following day, he landed his first feature role as Midget, a car-stealing joyrider, in "New Jersey Drive", directed by Nick Gomez and executive produced by Spike Lee. The film didn't get much attention from Hollywood or critics, but Lee noticed Casseus and cast him as Jamal, the former gang member turned thoughtful Muslim, in "Get on the Bus" (1996). Coupled with roles that year in "Lone Star" (as the young incarnation of bar owner Otis Payne seen in flashbacks) and The Disney Channel's "Nightjohn" (about the secret literacy of slaves), he found his career on the ascent. He had a good follow up as Denzel Washington's brother in "Fallen" (1997) but stumbled somewhat in the ensemble of the muddled "Revenant/Modern Vampires" (1998). The small screen afforded several challenging projects ranging from HBO's "Don King: Only in America" (1997, which starred Ving Rhames) to the historical drama "Buffalo Soldiers" (TNT, 1997) to "The Wedding" (ABC, 1998). Returning to the big screen, Casseus acted in the festival-screened "Harlem Aria" (1999) about a would-be opera singer, played the Almighty in the comedy remake "Bedazzled" and then turned gritty for the prison drama "Lock Down" (both 2000).
"I don't idolize anyone in particular but I enjoy the work of the masters: De Niro, Pacino. I enjoy the guys who can do that metamorphosis thing." --Casseus to USA Today, April 20, 1995.
"The object is not to be the next Wesley [Snipes] or Denzel [Washington]. The objective is doing the work, as cliched as that may sound. I'm not interested in doing movies. I want to do films." --Gabriel Casseus quoted in Daily News, October 14, 1996.