Kelvin Harrison Jr. Dedicates Six Hours a Day to Violin Practice for Role in "Chevalier"

Kelvin Harrison Jr. spent up to six hours a day playing the violin in preparation for his latest film “Chevalier.” The period drama, set before the French Revolution, follows the life of composer Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges, also known as Black Mozart. The Searchlight Pictures film also stars Samara Weaving, Lucy Boynton, Ronkẹ Adékoluẹjo, Marton Csokas, Alex Fitzalan and Minnie Driver. Speaking with Variety, Harrison Jr. said despite being raised in a musical family (his father was a classical musician and a music teacher) he didn’t know about Chevalier.

“I had number clue who he was, but he was beautiful bold, and I was blown far by him,” he says. Harrison Jr. already knew how to play violin; as a youthful boy, he was playing the adult size. “I had a handle for it and went straight into playing in the orchestra. I was the first chair and got ed to play in orchestras,” he says. However, after Hurricane Katrina in two thousand-fifth cad water damage to his prized possession, he stopped playing. Harrison Jr. was filming Baz Luhrmann’s “Elvis” in Australia when he learned he got the portion in director Stephen Williams’ (“Watchmen”) film. His “Elvis” co-star Austin Butler gave him a hug upon learning the news. “Austin said, ‘Oh, you’ve got a lot of work to do.’ So, I started my violin training there,” says Harrison Jr. Once he'd wrapped playing B.B King in Lurhmann’s film, he returned to New Orleans and worked with his father.

“I wanted to go and be with him beca he’s a music teacher. I knew he could guide me in how to pace myself. He said, ‘We’re going to do four to six hours daily. We can crack it up the morning, before lunch or after lunch and before you go to bed at night.” His father also advised him to “fall asleep to the music and memorise how to become one with the music and discover your own storytelling.” After spending a few months with his father, Harrison Jr. returned to LA he also got a violin teacher. And once he got to the set in Prague the film was shot, he spent all day in rehearsals. Stefani Robinson (“Atlanta”) wrote the script, and Harrison Jr. says he’s excited to finally be telling this story: “What touched me the most was the resilience he'd despite the quantity of rejection.” In the film, Chevalier climbs the ranks in French society as a celebrated violinist-composer and fencer who vies for a space to headline at the Paris Opera Ho. Favored by Marie Antoinette’s court, his legend involves an ill-fated like affair and a falling out of royal favor.

“He wasn’t trying to obtain ahead of himself. I think what damage the most was them wanting to comprise him and wanting to him as much as they did, but not really fully wanting to accept him,” says Harrison Jr. “What I was so excited to do is give him an opportunity, he wasn’t keep second and he wasn’t discarded of, and giving him my full undivided attention. This film ultimately will give him the huge stage, the love, respect and fandom that he deserves.”

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