Derrick A King is bringing the HEAT as he makes his way to the top of the Entertainment Industry. As an actor, he continues to discover more about his purpose and where he wants to go, why he wants to do certain things, and more. Starring in the reboot of The 4400, Derrick is excited to share his hard work with the rest of the world. Taking it all in, Derrick A King is warming our hearts and kicking off!
In what ways did your view on the entertainment industry evolve over the years?
When I first decided to enter the entertainment industry I was primarily driven by my passion for acting. I was a bit naive to the fact that show business is part show but majority business. Over the years I have experienced emotional hardships and tough choices that put me in the position to cultivate a healthy career where longevity is promising. Hard work, discipline, and business acumen will get you places that passion alone simply cannot
Do you feel that your purpose as an actor is shifting?
I would say my purpose as an actor is more-so revealing itself rather than “shifting”. As the world changes, so do I and the industry I’ve dedicated myself too. I never forget the day I figured out my “what”; What Am I: An Actor. Now, with each role I take on, I get closer to figuring out my “Why”. Who does my story, and choices, influence & inspire? How can I shape my culture and leave it in a better place for the next trailblazer? These types of questions are more important to me now than ever.
What drew you to “The 4400”?
The show caught my eye the moment I got the audition. I was familiar with the original and a fan of cast member, Mahershala Ali…you may have heard of him! When I started digging into the producers intent with this reboot, I got excited about how special this could be. We haven’t had many chances to see a Sci-Fi story like “4400” from the Black American perspective on National TV, notably on the CW. I knew this had the potential be something powerful that moves the diversity and inclusion needle; I wanted to be a part of it.
Was there a particular moment that you knew it was the show for you?
Every once in a while, an actor gets an audition and says “WAIT, I would actually be perfect for this..I could really book this one”. It just so happened that “Rev. Johnston” was from the 90s, charismatic, a great speaker, and Black! I knew I had a lot I could offer this role just by being my authentic self, so I prepared the audition in that way. Plus I love Sci-Fi!…Superpowers?! Sign Me Up Please!
On set, what did you look most forward to?
Coming off a year like 2020, need I even go into detail, I was just excited to work! I love everything about the collaborative effort of bringing a script to life. I know my role and I play it well. I expected to be surrounded by a cast and crew, who were just as passionate about their craft as well, and that is exactly what I got.
Who did you develop close relationships with?
I’ve been blessed to have a cast full of young, hungry, talented artists; most of which were new to Chicago, like me (which is where we shot 4400). From Day 1 we made efforts to bond by going out to eat, karaoke, movies, drinks, unofficial script readings, etc…so we aren’t fake friends, we really cultivated the “FoFo” family. The majority of this cast are new faces so we didn’t have to battle a lot of ego and tension that sometimes comes with working on projects which an ensemble cast. I’m very grateful for them and the crew we spent hours with.
What did they teach you?
From my cast I’ve learned many tricks of the trade, methods for memorization, how to handle the business of it all, etc.. The crew though, wow, I’ve learned so much about the sentiments of the people that work behind the camera. There was a looming IATSE strike while we were shooting so I had the opportunity to hear stories in real time and experience the changes that occurred by them using their voices. I did, and still do, stand in solidarity with them and their call for fair treatment.
As an actor, what are some challenges you find yourself overcoming every day?
For an entertainer, there is a ton of pressure that comes from all angles that I think most people don’t realize. First it’s the job: memorizing lines, making choices, networking properly, etc… Then there is the pressure of friends and family: Money issues, clout chasers, etc… Next, there is the audience: what they expected, comments under videos and posts, etc. Then there’s myself: do you feel like you are doing your best work, are you ok physically and mentally, etc… It can get really overwhelming sometimes. I meditate daily to manage.
In our day today, there is still much progress that needs to be made. Thoughts on that?
Yesterday I saw a captivating tweet that hit the nail on the head, “If Americans saw what America is doing in America, Americans would invade America to liberate America from the tyranny of America”. I’d love people to think on that. The problem is the ones that have the power to do anything about it seldom care to..so..the fight continues.
What do you think our world needs the most of now?
In the words of the great Stevie Wonder: “Love’s in need of Love today. Don’t Delay, send yours in right away. Hates goin’ round, breakin many hearts. Stop it please, before it’s gone too far”!
Growing up, what role did you play in your family and how has it influenced your perspective today?
I was the youngest of 2, so I would say I definitely got to learn what not to do before experiencing the wrath of consequences. It allowed me to step into the role of being the “Golden child” but also the “Black Sheep” because the path I took was so unique. I was the first to graduate college and go corporate, then certainly the first to dump that to dream, chase and find success in this way. That experience has given me the confidence to stand in my truth as I conquer a world that is known to break and redirect one’s moral compass. I have a deep admiration for every artist and entrepreneur who chose to go against the grain to express God’s calling; acting on that type of faith is much easier said than done.
If you could go back in time, when would you want to travel to and why?
Easy, I’d travel back to antiquity, Egypt specifically. I need to know the truths of how the pyramids where created and by whom. I could only imagine the technology and spiritual awareness that was present during that time. Just the thought…
What comes next?
4400, every Monday at 9pm est on CW of course! This is truly the beginning for me, a huge milestone achievement and a stepping stone to my ultimate goal: Household name & Oscar winning actor; love enthusiast Derrick A. King.
Interview Alexandra Bonnet @alexbonnetwrites