WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) — Bo Yokely, a resident of Kernersville, says he is extremely happy about his performance in his most notable role to date in the Lifetime movie “Switched Before Birth.”
In the movie, Yokely as Brian Crawford and Skyler Samuels as Olivia Crawford portray an in vitro fertilization (IVF) couple who is fighting for their son’s custody.
Yokely, 33, said his role as Brian is like nothing he has ever done before and that the movie is “very tear-jerking, heart-wrenching and emotional.”
“Switched Before Birth” is scheduled to premiere at 8 p.m. Oct. 23 on the Lifetime cable channel. Shot in Atlanta, the movie is directed by Elisabeth Rohm, who also directed Lifetime’s “Girl in the Basement,” which was inspired by actual events.
Lifetime states on mylifetime.com that the film follows Olivia Crawford and her husband Brian “who after multiple miscarriages, numerous failed IVF trials and stretching themselves to the limit financially, finally receive the joyous news that she’s pregnant with twins. While going through her latest round of IVF, Oliva meets and becomes fast friends with Anna Ramirez (Justina Machado), who is struggling to have a child after years of focusing on her successful restaurants. When Anna becomes pregnant as well, the ladies celebrate and begin to prepare for their babies.”
Then Anna suffers a miscarriage and her marriage to restaurateur Gabe Ramirez (Yancey Arias) crumbles. Olivia and Brian welcome their twins but discover that the babies are not twins. One is biologically Anna and Gabe’s that was implanted into Olivia by mistake.
Ultimately, things go awry because of this IVF mix-up.
“The real question is, ‘Who is the real parent?’” Yokely said. “It raises a lot of moral situations and moral questions.”
MODEL AND ACTOR
Born and raised in Winston-Salem, Yokely later moved to Kernersville as a child and currently lives there with his wife, Olivia, and their daughter, Evie Grace. He is a graduate of Wesleyan Christian Academy in High Point and has a bachelor’s degree in communications and a minor in theater arts from UNC Greensboro.
But acting wasn’t his first focus in life. Soccer took that spot when he was just 4 years old. He continued to play in the sport throughout high school.
“I was competitive,” he said. “I went on to state teams and premier teams, travel teams ... All that kind of stuff.”
While at UNCG, he decided to get into acting.
“I had been modeling since I was 18,” Yokely said. “The modeling world and the acting world are very well connected, so my modeling agent at the time referred me to the acting world.”
Before his career in film, he worked as a model and product representative for clients such as Tag Heuer, MAC cosmetics, Hanes, Belk, Peter Millar, Patagonia and Ralph Lauren. He is also a licensed financial advisor.
Yokely broke into the film industry with his roles as a sovereign fighter pilot in “Guardians of the Galaxy 2” (2017), a chiseled lifeguard in the action comedy, “Baywatch” (2017), a charismatic Jimmy in the psychological thriller “Into the Forest” (2018) and Ranger Clark in “Ponysitters Club” (2019).
“Baywatch” was directed by Seth Gordon and included Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Zac Efron in the cast.
“Unfortunately, most of my roll got cut on the cutting room floor,” Yokely said.
But he did get to be on the set for more than a week with those big stars and the experience helped him decide to make acting a career.
“That was just a surreal type set because you’re working with these people who are legendary — in my eyes anyway,” Yokely said. “Seeing how they handle things and seeing they are nothing more than normal people really made it more feasible and obtainable to be like, ‘I can do this the rest of my life, and I can make it.’”
On his last day on the set, he called his wife and told her, “This is what I want to do the rest of my life.”
Yokely’s wife said, “I support it. Go for it.”
He got his big break as pro-basketball player Chris, alongside Sanaa Lathan, in the Netflix original film “Nappily Ever After” (2018).
Later this year, he will appear as hard-working farmer Cole Tooley in the movies “Christmas at the Grey Horse Inn” (2021) and next year as music manager Ryan Avery in “Country Roads Christmas” (2022).
“Christmas at the Grey Horse Inn,” which also stars Toni Hudson and Kate Dailey, will be released in theaters Nov. 25.
Yokely said the film is in the same vein as a Hallmark Christmas-style movie.
“It was a very unique and fun shoot because we shot it around Christmastime, and it was a Christmas movie,” Yokely said.
He said Tryon, which is near the Blue Ridge Parkway, basically shut down main street to help with the shooting of the film.
“They had a Christmas parade that they normally do, but they stopped the parade, and we shot for about three hours in the middle of the parade,” he said.
He is also excited about playing a lead role in a TV miniseries called “Bloody Point,” set for spring 2022 and will be shot in North Carolina and South Carolina.
“I can’t give a ton of details about it,” he said.
In addition to acting, Yokely is a producer. He is in the production process for three feature films and two television series.
“I’ve always wanted to be a producer as well because I think it allows a certain level of increased control over what you’re doing, as well as the business aspect of things.”
He enjoys soccer, mixed martial arts, horseback riding and being around animals.
For anybody interested in acting, Yokely said: “He who thinks he can and he who thinks he cannot are both usually right. Based on how you see yourself is how the world sees you. Make sure your self-image and your confidence and everything is where it needs to be because if it is not, you will be exposed, and it will be a brutal beat up.
“But if you know who you are and you stay grounded in that, and you remember what you want, then the universe, in my eyes, will get out of your way and open up opportunities. Those opportunities may not come in the form you think, but the end result will be what you want.”