Actor/musician Leon Robinson, better known to moviegoers by just his first name, has done other movies, made music and appeared on The Real Housewives of Atlanta, but to many fans, he’ll always be known as J.T. from the now classic Robert Townsend directed film, The Five Heartbeats. Fortunately, he’s OK with that, even if he had no idea it would turn out to be so popular.
“I didn’t know but while we were filming Robert just kept telling us about how we hadn’t seen five Black men on the screen with varied emotions, just being real people with one another,” Leon told the Tom Joyner Morning Show. “He just thought it was going to be huge.”
Originally released in 1991, The Five Heartbeats wasn’t a box office smash. But in the years since, it’s become a go-to movie for many Black households, including J. Anthony Brown’s. He knows just about every line and scene from the movie, probably more than Leon does.
“I don’t have a favorite line from the movie,” Leon says. “If you like it, that’s my favorite line. I’m just glad that you’re playing Leon movies.”
The BluRay release comes out today and although many fans of the movie will be happy for the upgraded sound and picture, unfortunately the Blu Ray version doesn’t include any additional content. But it should fly off the shelves regardless. At a recent Los Angeles screening for the release, Leon says the line was around the block.