Editor’s Note: “The Reel Black List” is our annual spotlight of brothers and sisters in the worlds of advertising, film, TV, music, radio and media who are making a difference through their contributions and creativity. For the next 29 days, you will be able to celebrate these various personalities with us.
You have seen him as Idris Elba in the Fast and Furious spin-off franchise, Hobbs and Shaw. And you’ve also seen him as Will Smith in Gemini Man. Should we talk about the fantastic Meek Millz music video I don’t know?
Meet actor and stunt performer Kortel “Korta-T” Autrey who was born and raised in the urban area of Watts, California. Kortel started riding motorcycles in the streets of Los Angeles at the tender age of four years old, eventually leading him to utilize his skills to become a Hollywood stuntman.
His early inspiration came from his father and uncle who are both experienced in motor sports racing. At an early age, he knew racing and riding motorcycles at some level was in his future. Through dedication and hard work Kortel purchased his first Honda CRF 50 in which he modified for freestyle stunt rider.
Due to his struggles with the harsh realities of growing up in Watts and trying to pursue an unconventional career for African-Americans and inner-city youth, Kortel has taken his skills beyond personal gratification and transferred them to today’s youth by organizing stunt demonstration at local schools. By doing this, Kortel has inspired many young people by making them aware of his accomplishments and motivating them to stay focused and follow their dreams.
Kortel has starred in numerous blockbuster Hollywood feature films. He is known for his work on F. Gary Gray’s Straight Outta Compton starring Dr. Dre, O’Shea Jackson, and Paul Giamatti; David Leitch’s Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs And Shaw starring Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, and Idris Elba; Ang Lee’s Gemini Man starring Will Smith, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Clive Owen, and Benedict Wong; Bilall Fallah & Adil El Arbi’s Bad Boys For Life starring Will Smith and Martin Lawerence; and Marilyn Ness’s acclaimed documentary, Charm City.
What Did You Originally Want to be When You Grow Up? I originally wanted to be a pro-motor cross racer growing up.
How Did You Get into the Entertainment Industry? I got into stunts/being a stunt performer through my job as a car prep technician. I noticed that the job existed from working with stunt drivers on set for many years and I thought it to be a fitting job for me.
Who Were Your Mentors? My mentor in the stunt industry is Jalil Jay Lynch.
Biggest Achievement? My biggest achievement is starting my non-profit, BikesOverBangn, and breaking into the stunt industry.
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Biggest Disappointment? My biggest disappointment is having people I thought were friends turn out to be against me and my goals.
Pet Peeves? My pet peeve is being pre-judged.
Predictions for the Entertainment Stunt Industry Over the Next Decade I predict that the industry will continue to grow and become more diverse.
Name a Job You Had that Would Surprise People Surprisingly I use to work as a salesman at a hip hop clothing store.
Do You Talk to Yourself? At times, to motivate myself.
What do You Wish You Had More Time For? I wish I had more time to work with the kids I mentor.
Based on Your Own Experience, What Advice Would You Give to Those Considering a Career as an Actor and Stunt Performer? Based on my experiences, the advice I would give someone pursuing a career in stunts would be to network as much as possible and to learn as many disciplines as you can — from fight choreographing to stunt driving acting.
How Do You Define Creativity? I define creativity as the freedom to use your ideas to develop new ways to express your feelings and thoughts without limits .
What Inspires You to be Creative? I’m inspired to be creative by the things that motivate me to do things differently.