Columbus Short is many things, among them an actor, dancer and singer. But he would describe himself with three different words.
“Rebel with cause,” he said in an interview with The Eagle.
This certainly captures him well, given his next film role. In the upcoming action thriller “Armored,” Short portrays Ty Hackett, an ex-Marine who is forced by older colleagues to steal $42 million. The film places Hackett in a moral dilemma that unfolds throughout the film. Seasoned actors Laurence Fishburne (who Short teasingly calls “Uncle Fish”) and Matt Dillon play his older colleagues.
“[Working with them] was amazing,” Short said of his co-stars. “They had a stillness and assuredness that I learned from and can take with me.”
Although the film is fraught with peril and drama, Short and the other actors still had fun on the set.
“There was a lot of storytelling,” Short said. “You just sit back and listen to the stories that [Fishburne] and [Dillon] tell. We laughed a lot, and it was just guys having fun.”
Although Short has always wanted to be an actor, he started off his career as a dancer. He did theater work, performing in plays and musicals, and in 2003, he worked as a choreographer for Britney Spears’ Onyx Hotel Tour. After appearing in the 2006 comedy “Accepted,” Short got his breakout role with the 2007 film, “Stomp the Yard.” But for fans who hope he might go back to dancing, Short doesn’t see that in his future.
“I’m an actor first, but I just ended up doing more dancing stuff,” he said. “Thankfully, God transitioned me. As far as more things like ‘Stomp the Yard,’ I’m probably not going to do that.”
Since “Stomp,” Short has acted in nearly every genre of film, with movies like “Quarantine,” “Cadillac Records” and “This Christmas” under his belt. However, he doesn’t like to think of his career in those terms.
“I don’t deal with genres,” Short said. “Each film is a piece.”
Though Short comes off as sarcastic and serious, he still finds it in himself to portray and sympathize with his distressed character in “Armored.”
“We carry the same morals, but I’m not as downtrodden with burdens like mortgages and jobs,” Short said of his character. “It’s heavy, and he’s dealing with serious post-traumatic stress.”
The film, while certainly Short’s most emotionally complicated role, has also been one of his favorites to act in. This is due in part to the film’s director, Nimród Antal.
Antal has had much buzz regarding his directorial debut film, 2003’s “Kontroll.” “Armored” is only his second American film but has helped propel talk of becoming one of the next best directors of this age. Short could not say enough good things about him.
“He is fantastic, and this film is genius,” Short said. “He’s just the best filmmaker and definitely one of the next big filmmakers.”
Short also admires other directors, naming Paul Greengrass (of the “Bourne” trilogy), among his favorite filmmakers. He also lists heavyweights such as Daniel Day-Lewis and Javier Bardem as his favorite actors, while films like “A Clockwork Orange” and “Slumdog Millionaire” are counted among his many favorite movies. And if given his dream role, Short would love to portray Martin Luther King, Jr. As for “Armored,” Short is nothing if not extremely proud of his newest film.
“It’s for people who like movies,” Short said. “It doesn’t matter if you like character pieces or action. It has every genre from horror to comedy.”
“Armored” comes out in theaters everywhere Dec. 4.