An interview with Jordan Eugene Lane | Forbidden Love | VMA20 BEST ROMANCE | August Edition
Love is not conditioned by anything, not even by differences in skin color, or sex, or religious truth. Loving someone is a high-level game of souls and hearts that requires the courage to strip off the heavy social constructs and embrace the virtues of which it is made.
But, despite being in 2020, those constraints are still too overwhelming in much of the world, and escaping from them when you fall in love with someone can really be an impossible task.
True and simple love requires a great deal of courage. Forbidden Love by writer, actor, and producer, Jordan Eugene Lane, speaks precisely of this topic.
We had the great pleasure of interviewing the talented Jordan Eugene and ask about himself and his award-winning short film, which offers food for thought to all of us.
• Hello Jordan Eugene, congratulations again on your win here at the Vegas Movie Awards as Best Romance in August! Would you like to tell us a bit about yourself and how you started your artistic career first as a writer and then as an actor?
I was on my way out of the Marines back in 2016 and Los Angeles was only about 90 or so miles from Camp Pendleton. I knew that I wanted to do something which I actually enjoyed rather than something I only thought I could do, so I decided to try my hand and switch careers and become an actor. I applied and was accepted into the acting program at the New York Film Academy Los Angeles campus. Thus began my artistic career.
• Of the artistic roles listed above, which one best expresses your talent, and by whom do you get the most inspiration?
I think I’m equally talented as a writer and actor. I can say that I enjoy acting far more though. I love getting physical and providing a vessel for characters to come to life. Adam Driver shares a similar story; he was in the Marines, went to acting school and now he is the new face of Star Wars. I’m loosely following in his footsteps. He’s a pretty good source of inspiration.
In my humble opinion, there is no greater sin than to deny someone the right to enjoy the fruits of their own life, within reason.
• Forbidden Love is a very interesting subject that highlights a sadly ongoing socio-cultural problem: the love between different cultures. How did the idea for this film come about?
Fortunately, or unfortunately, Forbidden Love is derived from events from my own life. I was involved with a young woman who happened to be from India, her parents found out we were dating and that’s the end of that. I experienced cold-hearted prejudice.
• This short was directed by Freddie Basnight, a young actor whose training has its roots at the New York Film Academy in Los Angeles. Would you like to explain how the collaboration with him was born and how synergies with Neel Rajput and Raj Sen were created?
Freddie is a fellow military veteran so we connected on that level. I had also been cast in one of his earlier films so we were familiar with each other. One day I was walking down the street in Burbank by the Warner Brothers lot when I saw Neel; I approached her (after we both showed our apparent disregard for crosswalk lights) because I was casting Forbidden Love, I asked was she an actor and she said yes. The rest is history. Raj is a good friend and he was also my classmate. I think the fact that Raj and Neel are both from India is why they hit it off well.
• What difficulties, if any, did you have to face in making this short film?
The only difficulty I had with the film would be time constraints. I wasn’t able to get all of the shots I wanted due to the fact that I only had a day to shoot the entire film. So I would say money and time were the sole difficulties. Besides that, I couldn’t have asked for a smoother shoot.
• Let's get into the core of this short: Forbidden Love is about a love story between an American and an Indian girl whose relationship is destined to end at the behest of her family; cultural diversity becomes the terrain on which prejudice and traditions prevail at the expense of a child's happiness, for whom instead unconditional love, trust, and freedom of choice, should be preserved. What prompted you to take responsibility for talking about such real and tangible issues, without an actual positive ending?
I could always appreciate a good open-ended story conclusion. This story is no different. We don’t know if Senamika actually comes back or if Devonte remains jaded towards people of far different cultures. In life, we find out early on that fairness is never promised and can only be hoped for; I wanted to reflect this realism in hopes of changing people's attitudes towards those who may seem different but are actually unbelievably similar.
• The socio-political-cultural historical moment we are experiencing now is lived in your short film by two young people who perfectly represent the difficulties that thousands of real couples have to face with systemic racism every day, not only in the US. What is your opinion regarding this system that does not encourage the acceptance of diversity and respect for true love?
It’s a crime. It’s illegal. And it’s not so much that the system doesn’t encourage acceptance and diversity, it’s the fact that different cultures and races all over the world seem to have an anti-Black disposition. I know of many Asians and Hispanics who simply can’t wait to get with a white man as soon as they hit American soil. It has to do with social acceptability, a hierarchy based on skin color that starts at the top with white then goes down: yellow, brown, and finally Black way down at the bottom.
In my humble opinion, there is no greater sin than to deny someone the right to enjoy the fruits of their own life, within reason. Through my own personal experience, testimonies from international friends, and careful observation of foreign cultures, I’m aware many immigrants ignorantly believe that Black Americans only live in hoods and ghettos; and subsequently, they have an ethnocentric outlook on blacks in America believing themselves superior, meanwhile many come from their mother countries to escape the overwhelming conditions of absolute squalor.
Take the Philippines for example; there are residential areas that have mountains of trash stacked as high as buildings and prostitution occurs in broad daylight. Yet and still, ironically, when they arrive on American soil they look down on American blacks and teach their sons and daughters to never date a black person and to be unwarrantedly wary.
This is common with other countries and cultures as well.
In Hispanic culture, the well-known phrase and ideology “Mejorar La Raza” translates to “Improve the Race”, meaning to eliminate all remaining features of any African ancestry and to praise the European admixture. To this day many Hispanics are classified as (and classify themselves) white.
These hateful preconceptions about Native Black Americans left me puzzled in the beginning when I first began intermingling with people of other nationalities, and ethnic groups. Most interesting though is that this kind of prejudice often comes from immigrants who themselves come from failing and oppressive societies.
“The enslavement process stripped Blacks of their African-ness and forced them to forge together their own unique culture. It is so unique that it is copied, mimicked, and appropriated by non-Blacks all over the world.” -A quote from Dr. Claud Anderson. He’s absolutely right! Black American culture is confiscated globally but as far as Blacks themselves, they are outside and underneath the ladder of social acceptability.
“In almost every country, the people have been indoctrinated to assign Black people or those persons of African descent to the lowest level of acceptability.” -Dr. Claud Anderson
My love lies in Sci-Fi, in Fantasy, and in Action. I've played DC Universe supervillains, so who knows maybe I have another superhero project coming my way.
• ‘This short film has all the potential to evolve into a feature film. Will there be a chance to see this ‘upgrade' in the future?
I would love to do a feature. I’ve already begun working on a feature script. Now all I need is the capital.
• What are your plans for the next future? Will we see you working on producing shorts with similar themes again, or are you working on something else?
Although the genre of Forbidden Love is drama/romance, it’s not my preference. It was a passion project meant to change lives for the better and to show what happens to people who have to combat prejudice, racism, and bigotry. My love lies in Sci-Fi, in Fantasy, and in Action. I've played DC Universe supervillains, so who knows maybe I have another superhero project coming my way.
• Where can our readers find your work?
Google me lol. Jordan Eugene Lane. I’m on YouTube, Instagram, IMDb of course and Forbidden Love is streaming on Amazon Prime Video.
• Thank you for sharing your thoughts and for giving voice to the harsh realities that young couples of different ethnicities have to face. Do you want to reserve these last lines to thank someone?
Absolutely! I thank God and I’m very grateful to him every day. I thank the very beautiful and talented Neel Rajput who made Forbidden Love possible. I’d like to thank Freddie Basnight who’s a good director and friend. I thank my buddy Raj who brought the ultimate realism to his character, and I thank the rest of the amazing crew who worked hard and diligently to make this project happen. Lastly, I thank YOU, Vegas Movie Awards for providing this platform for myself and others who strive to make a difference through this medium.
- Instagram: https://instagram.com/jlreal23?igshid=niljg5sdin04