If the actors in Blink-182’s new video appear to have that gangsta look perfected, it’s no credit to their thespian skills. They’re just being themselves.
Around 100 former gang members make up the cast of “Down,” the third video from Blink-182’s latest album. They belong to an organization called Suspect Entertainment, which casts ex-gangbangers in film and television roles as a way to keep them off the streets and away from the thug life.
The “Down” video opens with a shot of a house party. Everyone is eating, dancing and having a good time until the police show up, looking for Trouble, one of the attendees. As police enter the front door, Trouble ducks out the back and the chase is on. The cops tail him through the streets of South Central Los Angeles to the concrete L.A. River, where they eventually lose him. Performance footage of the band is intercut throughout the scenes, which also flash images of the people and places that make up a typical summer day in the ’hood.
Manuel G. Jimenez founded Suspect Entertainment in 1997 as a way for former gang members to earn a living (most actors receive the standard day rate of $675) by using what they already know to earn a living. From the tattoo sleeves decorated with family members who’ve passed on, to the tank tops, Carhartt work shirts and slang they use, Suspect members have an authenticity that Hollywood actors just can’t passably adopt.
Suspect Entertainment has provided actors for “Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle,” “S.W.A.T.” “Training Day” and the FOX series “24.” The company even crafts custom bicycles and low-rider roadsters with booming sound systems, including one that appeared in a recent TV spot for Diet Coke.
Shot by director Mr. Scandalous last month, “Down” is expected to make its MTV premiere on June 2.