Television and film actress Kai Ture is well known for her role as Young Starr in last year’s YA hit, The Hate U Give. Now, she is starring opposite Academy Award-winning actresses Viola Davis and Allison Janey in her new film Troop Zero. The film, a story about a group of elementary-school misfits who join forces to infiltrate the high-and-mighty Birdie Scouts youth group in order to win a talent show, is set to premiere at the Sundance Film Festival this month. We got to talk to Kai about her role in Troop Zero, her journey into acting, and what she has coming up in 2019.
Kai began her acting career as an extra on Tyler Perry’s TV drama If Loving You is Wrong. The following season, Kai’s character was given a recurring role. “I was very happy and excited,” she said about the experience. “Tyler Perry is such a legend, so to have him as my very first director was a great experience.” Later, Kai would go on to play roles in films like Faith Under Fire, and The Hate U Give.
Whether she is taking on the full weight of a role or complimenting part of a role with another actor, Kai told us acting doesn’t really feel like work, “I get to play a different person in each project while making sure to add a little bit of myself.” You can see this in Kai’s role as Young Starr in The Hate U Give. The main portrayal of Starr in the film is done by actress Amandla Stenberg, but Kai gets to take on Starr’s strong persona for the iconic “The Talk” scene. “I relate to Star because she [is] tough,” Kai said about her character. “She [stands] up for what she believes in, and I try to do the same thing. She is also the middle child, and so am I!”
In her new film, Troop Zero, Kai is taking center stage as an elementary school student named Ginger who joins forces with her friends to rock the school talent show. Of her character, Kai said, “There is a Ginger in every school. I can’t reveal too much about the film because I want you to see it and love it. What I will say is that some people may love Ginger but others may not like her too much.”
Kai found herself in Ginger’s shoes after auditioning for several different roles in Troop Zero‘s lineup of characters. “When I auditioned for Ginger, it just felt right,” she said. Once she got a callback from the film’s directors, Bert and Bertie and the role was hers, Kai said filming was one of the best summers ever.
With Troop Zero on its way to festival screens (and hopefully more!) this year, Kai is currently working on another project. Alongside her best friend Temple, Kai is working to produce her own YouTube series called The Kaleidoscope Chronicles. You’ll definitely want to keep up with Kai on Instagram (@kai_ture) for updates on that!