Marcus Brandon says his landing the role of Dedrick on the Paramount Plus Hit series “Mayor of Kingstown was a bit of a “rollercoaster experience.” He auditioned for the first season and didn’t get the part he originally went after but was called back to audition for season 2 for a non-recurring role as a correctional officer, then guard. A few different audition roles later, he was given the opportunity to showcase his acting skills for the character Dedrick. It was a scene that was not originally a part of the upcoming season. Yet the producers wanted to see what he could do with it, acting alongside the main character Mike McLusky played by Jeremy Renner. Marcus eventually got the recurring role, and the rest, as he says, is history. Read more about his “why” for giving back to the less fortunate, the health update of his co-star Jeremy Renner, and a food favorite he absolutely loves that once involved eating crickets.
Tell us about your recurring role as Dedrick?
Dedrick is the leader of the Bloods, and he is a rival to one of the lead characters on the show “Deverin” Bunny (Tobi Bamtefa ), who is the leader of the Crips. Dedrick is a guy that can be intimidating and deadly, says Brandon, but he also has a heart and cares for the welfare of the guys around him in his community. “My character often tries to go the legit route and build legit businesses (enterprises), but he gets pulled back into the streets from time to time.” Marcus didn’t want to give away any spoilers for Season 2 but says things get messy, and there is a downfall in what viewers can expect to see and what he describes as “a wild ride.”
Have you spoken with your co-star Jeremy Renner? How is he doing?
I haven’t spoken to him directly, but I did with other cast members. The writers of the show say that he is doing great. His recovery is phenomenal and something nobody expected, and he seems to be doing way better than anticipated initially. Jeremy’s a rockstar, an amazing human being— very intelligent. It is such an honor just to be able to watch him on set and for him to create magic within his character and to see what he can do as an actor. I’ve learned so much from him, and I’m praying for his continued recovery, and I can’t wait to see him again.
You’re “booked” with a lot of upcoming projects, including Poker Face (Peacock), Three Women (Showtime), and an Indie film project (shot in the Philippines). What are you most excited about for your fans to see?
All of it! (Laugh). I’m definitely booked and busy. I really want fans to invest in watching Mayor of Kingstown (and I’m not being biased). It’s such a good show that focuses a lot on the difference between incarceration and the justice system. It touches on racism and the unfair treatment of different prisoners, and I think anyone watching it will fall in love with it.
Poker Face is great. I have yet to watch it, but I’m looking forward to it. Filming was such fun on set, and Natasha Lyonne is an amazing actress. She is so fun to be around. I did my episodes with Lil Rel, and he’s hilarious and such an inspiration. It looks like a fun show, so definitely check it out.
I want viewers to say about all my projects, “He’s everywhere.” (Laugh).
We know that you like to give back to the less fortunate. Is there a story behind why?
Coming from very humble beginnings, my parents worked hard to get to a level where my siblings and I were comfortable and never had to ask for anything— without realizing we didn’t have that much money. My parents taught me so much about work ethic and discipline. There was a short stint in my life when I became an adult where I had to sleep in my car because I didn’t have anywhere to live, and I didn’t want to go back home because I would have felt like a failure. I definitely say to people now, if you have that support system, go back home. Me, at the time, in my life, I felt like I wanted to fight it out and try to achieve what I wanted to achieve. Being in my car and homeless, I experienced nights where all I would sometimes have to eat for dinner was a box of Honey Buns. I told myself at that moment that my life would never be at that stage again and that I wanted to help the less fortunate and give back. I feel for anyone (in this circumstance) because everyone deserves basic essentials as a human being.
Complete the following sentence. My two adult children, no matter how old they are __________________
Will always be my heartbeat and lifeline. They have made me such a better person just by allowing me to be in their presence and having the opportunity to evolve and grow with them. I’ve learned so much, and being a dad is a blessing. I cannot imagine a life without them. They are a big part of my “why” and motivation for my goals.
We hear that you love tacos just as much as acting. What is (the most) unique taco combination you’ve eaten?
I am not going to say it was good, but I had cricket tacos one time. It was very interesting to eat (crunchy). It wasn’t a dare (we asked), says Marcus. I’m pretty adventurous, and who doesn’t love tacos, but that was the first and last time with crickets (Laugh).
The Mayor of Kingstown storylines deals with incarceration, prisons, and gang activity. What do you want to see become better in the real world regarding these tough topics?
As you know, this topic can go deep. I desire true justice: a righteous justice system and a true democracy. I hope we continue to strive in that direction because right now, I feel there is a lot of manipulation of authority where people in positions of power avert their abilities to take control of situations that affect people’s lives— that we see time and time again not only with police brutality but you see judges who are purposely farming black boys to jail and the prison system so that they have free labor.
The justice system is needed, especially in a country that is so divisive, huge, and as popular as we are, so I’m definitely not against having a justice system. However, I want it to stand for what it should— true and fair justice and democracy.
Why should viewers tune in to watch “Mayor of Kingstown?”
I’m on it, that’s why (Laugh). It’s an amazing star-studded cast. There is so much talent, and the characters are strong. The producers have done a great job bringing these stories together, which is not easy when you have so many different characters on one show. If viewers are fans of shows like “Oz” and “The Wire” and deep character portrayal and storytelling, this show is right up your alley.
Mayor of Kingstown is not just another show where people are in prison but also about how people outside of the jails negotiate and work with employees, staff, and prisoners inside the walls of prisons. Guilty or not guilty, these people are products of their environment that sometimes are not truly rehabilitated back into society and are sometimes treated unfairly because of their mindset or skin color. I am glad a show like this brings awareness to it.
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