Aston Sanders for FAULT Magazine Issue 29 (Digitised 2018)

Despite Ashton Sander’s young age, the actor is soon becoming one of Hollywood’s most sought-after talents after his show-stopping lead performance of Chiron in 2016 Oscar-winning movie ‘Moonlight’. We sat down with Ashton to discuss his latest role as ‘Miles Whittaker’ in The Equalizer 2, working alongside Denzel Washington, and chasing that Oscar high.


Can you tell us about the role you play in The Equalizer 2?

I play Miles who is a troubled teenager who’s hanging around the wrong people but he’s just a great artist and great painter. So a troubled young man with a lot of potentials and Denzel Washington’s character [ Robert McCall takes on the role of a mentor to him because he sees something within Miles. When you got the script, what drew you to the character? I think Miles is a representation of a lot of young black teenagers who are struggling to find themselves and who do run towards the wrong crowd. I know a bunch of people who are in those circumstances now so it was just a very authentic character. I thought that this role specifically was super relatable to people and it was just an important story to tell.


You worked very close to Denzel on this, what’s it like to work opposite someone of such great renowned?

It was an incredible experience, it’s fucking Denzel Washington. I was definitely taking notes, he’s a master actor so I was just learned from him the whole time. He’d be dropping in gems of advice now and then I didn’t take that for granted. We came together very naturally, it’s great to vibe with him on that level. Coming in on the sequel can be hard, was it easy for you to find your space in the franchise. Like any other role, I just did what I had to do prior to filming to get ready for the role. But you might be nervous behind the stage but the second you get going, you start getting used to it. By the end of the experience, I finally felt full.


Where are you drawing inspiration from when getting into Miles’ character?

Miles isn’t too far from my own life. Whether I’m finding inspiration from my cousins or my community, Miles represents so much from the black community and because I grew up seeing it every day I just took inspiration from my own life and incorporated that into the character.

A lot of artists coming off a massively successful project as you did in Moonlight, can feel a lot of pressure to top their old work. Do you feel there’s pressure on you to always top your old work and or fear that you won’t?

Pressure, no. I do want to continue to do meaningful work so that’s something that I’m strategic about. I think I just need to keep doing meaningful project and films that inspire and teaches yes, but I don’t feel pressure to top any of my own work. God’s got me. What is about the onscreen projects vs all the other paths. Well, I’m a theatre trained actor so the big screen just helps because I can reach more people doing movies but I have the same approach regardless.

If you could impart any advice on your younger self, what would it be?

Stay true to yourself. I still have to remind myself that today.

What is your FAULT?

My insecurities, I’m so hard on myself and my biggest critic. I can be ridiculously hard on myself but that’s just part of the human experience and we are all flawed.