Ghanaian-born, British actor Kobna Holdbrook-Smith has been cast in the role of legendary NYC DJ/producer Larry Levan in the upcoming Paradise Garage movie. The biopic traces the rise of Levan, arguably one of the first superstar DJs, who held court from 1977 to 1987 at his decade-long residency at the Garage, and his complex relationship with club owner Michael Brody. Levan died in 1992 two months after returning from the Japanese tour of heart failure resulting from endocarditis. He was only 38.
Kobna Holdbrook-Smith recently appeared in The Double with Jesse Eisenberg, and will appear in Marvel’s Dr. Strange hitting screens in November. Among his other credits, he recently co-starred in Hamlet; co-starred in Sugar; and was the lead in Biodegradable.
“I’m very excited to be working with Kobna,” said writer/director/producer Jonathan Ullman. “Larry Levan was larger than life and it takes a very special actor to pull off such a complex character and nuanced performance. In Kobna we have found that actor. I’m grateful to casting director Judy Henderson for making that connection.”
Producer Jay Maldonado added, “Discovering an emerging new talent and a compelling storyteller is the very foundation of good filmmaking. When I met Kobna, there was a spark you could see in his passion and enthusiasm. He moved me just as much as Jonathan’s story of the Paradise Garage.”
Below you can watch Ullman’s 15-minute film about the Paradise Garage reunion party held in NYC in 2014.