16/05/2017 16:45 BST

‘Kicks’ Star CJ Wallace Reveals What It's Like Working With Oscar Winner Mahershala Ali

'He was very helpful in teaching us how to be successful black men in the movie business.'

CJ Wallace has opened up about what it was like working with Mahershala Ali, on the new, coming-of-age movie ‘Kicks’.

The actor won an Oscar for his star turn in ‘Moonlight’, and takes on a similar role in ‘Kicks’, in which he plays the protective yet troubled uncle of lead character Brandon.  

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CJ Wallace

Speaking on BUILD, where he was being interviewed alongside ‘Kicks’ director Justin Tipping, actor CJ - who plays Albert in the film - told HuffPost UK what Mahershala was like on set.

He said: “There’s a scene where we go to his house and we’re all sitting down and Mahershala walks in, and the look on our faces: we weren’t acting.

“He really gives this presence. It’s a very strong presence when he walks into the room and it’s something that you can’t ignore. Like if he walked in right now, everybody would look, and it would be quiet.”

Mahershala in 'Kicks' 

“He’s really genuine and a really cool dude, he gave us a lot of wisdom,” he continued. “He had so much advice and was very helpful in teaching us how to be successful black men in the movie business.

“It was really a blessing [to be] working with him.”

The movie was debuted at last year’s Tribeca Film Festival, and is now available for digital download.

During their interview, CJ and Justin also discussed everything from the movie’s hard-hitting themes of gun violence and masculinity, to what Hollywood can do to improve diversity.

See what they had to say on the topic in the video below…

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