Actress Sandra Lee Gets a ‘Second Chance’ | entertainment

Actress Sandra Lee knows live theater, having starred in her very first production as a student at Vere Technical High School, Clarendon. That opportunity ignited a passion for the arts that would later see the then-dreadlocked Lee study at the Jamaica School of Drama and then at York University in Canada during the era of the likes of Oku Onuora, Blacka Ellis and Jean “Binta” Breeze where she devoted herself to fine arts.

Lee’s journey has taken her through many plays, acting alongside Volier Johnson and Audrey Reid, and also touring with the King of Comedy, Oliver Samuels, as the female lead in the Devon Haughton play. Big garden. But her quiet dream has always been the big screen, and Lee, whose current full-time job isn’t even related to theater, fulfilled her dream when she landed a role in the film. Second chancewhere she plays a recovering drug addict who gets a second chance.

“How I got there Second chance is that one day I got a call from a good friend to say Cleon James was doing a movie and they wanted me for an audition. COVID was happening, so I did my audition via Zoom and got the part,” said an exuberant Lee The Sunday Reader.

Second chance is James’ sixth film and is based on a true story about the struggles people endure to get the opportunities they desire. The main cast are Spragga Benz, who plays David; Merlisa Determined, who plays Dana; and John de La Puente as Alpha. DJs Tony Matterhorn and Supa Twitch and Soca DJ Barrie Hype also appear in the film. According to the synopsis, “The film follows the story of a university-educated Rastafarian struggling to find a job in America’s corporations. His hopes are dashed when he is discriminated against for his religious beliefs. Frustrated, he plunges into a life of crime with old high school friends. However, he gets a second chance to make amends for his life.”

Lee has a few scenes alongside Spragga Benz, the internationally acclaimed dancehall artist who also makes a name for herself in the film.

“It was a nice experience working with Spragga Benz. He’s a great guy and such a down to earth person. The short time I spent with him on and off screen was enjoyable,” Lee said.

Quite happy with her “little role” in Second chance, Lee took all the positives from this experience. “I’m looking forward to Cleon [James] because I see the dedication and hard work he put into making this project a reality. The group around him is just so professional. Dem mek I feel like a big star,” she said, laughing.

She also admitted that this latest experience might actually make her “prefer acting in movies over live theater.” However, it has earned her even more respect for live theater.

“I’ve found that it’s even easier to act on film than it is on stage. If something happens, you can always fix it. Live theater is great and definitely a bit more sophisticated. I’ve always had leading roles, so I always had to study a lot of lines. But ever since I was a little girl, I’ve dreamed of being in a movie. At 64, and it’s happening… it feels like a second chance,” she explained.

Lee shared that she’s worked outside of theater over the years because she “needed to do something.”

“I was the only one [actress] In the 80’s I was living abroad and when the tours ended and everyone went back to Jamaica to do things like do their shopping and sales I had to find a job. So I was once a director at Mary Kay and had worked at Carnival Cruise Lines.”

Second chance had premieres in Fort Lauderdale, Atlanta, Boston and New York, with one slated for Jamaica next week at the Palace Cineplex at the Sovereign Center and opening in all four theaters the following day. James, who is Jamaican, narrates The Sunday Reader that the feedback was “universally positive,” although there were more than its fair share of tears. “Mothers are drawn to it, especially those who have a son, a nephew who went down the wrong path. You may do your best for your child and they still end up making bad decisions, but with the right training, they may simply return to the herd.”

Lee definitely plans to be on the island for the local premiere. Recalling the New York premiere, she said, “It was so overwhelming to see the audience getting involved. I went with my sister who is very critical and it was a relief to see her so engrossed in the film. The real lesson is that many people in life want a second chance.”

yasmine.peru@gleanerjm.com

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