Allen Maldonado ('The Equalizer')
'Equalizing The Facts!'
Multi-talented, breakout star Allen Maldonado is one of young Hollywood's elite and one of the busiest men in Hollywood as he stars in several film and TV projects this year.
Starring opposite Denzel Washington, Maldonado stars as 'Marcus' in Sony Pictures action thriller 'THE EQUALIZER,' released in theaters nationwide on September 26th. Directed by Antoine Fuqua (TRAINING DAY, OLYMPUS HAS FALLEN), the film is adapted from the television series of the same name and follows 'Robert McCall' (Washington), a solitary, monastic figure with a mysterious past who despises injustice and devotes himself to helping victims of criminals.
Maldonado will also be seen in the upcoming feature CAKE alongside Jennifer Aniston, Sam Worthington, Anna Kendrick and William H. Macy, which will bow at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival in September.
Sitting down with Allen Maldonado , I first wondered, being that his movie career had begun as Juvenile #3 in 'Friday After Next' and that he was now starring in the upcoming new Denzel Washington film, 'The Equalizer,' had the road between 2002 and 2014 been a smooth one? "I'm not sure 'smooth' would be the word I was would use. I think "determined" fits a bit better. Early on in my career, I was confronted with a major obstacle that I had to overcome. Shortly after Friday After Next, I was blessed to join the cast of "The Young and The Restless." That was quickly cut short after I was struck by a drunk driver while standing on the side of the street, causing a major face laceration, a broken leg, and spinal problems."
"This caused everything in my life to come into a halt. I had to start all over since my role was cut short due to my injury/recovery time. Long story short, it's been a rebuilding process since the accident but I wouldn't change anything for the world. It has taught me a lot about myself and strengthened my faith in God. I now know I can overcome any obstacle that comes my way and to always live my life with a positive outlook because you never know when it could all end."
Amen. You have undertaken a lot of roles - both TV and film - throughout your already-impressive acting career, but looking back is there one role where on set you knew; you just knew you had finally broken through? "I'm not sure if that has happened for me yet. I am very humbled and aware of the opportunities I've had and of the individuals I've been blessed to work with. I love the craft and history of other actors who have come before me, so I feel I have a lot more to prove and to showcase before I get the feeling of finally breaking through. I have very ambitious goals set for my career so there are a few more milestones to reach before getting to that point."
For your role in the upcoming THE EQUALIZER, what can you tell us about your role as Marcus? "Marcus is the wise-cracking coworker to Robert McCall, played by Denzel Washington. Marcus is the guy that every job has that does everything but work at the workplace. Consistently throughout the film, he finds ways to remind Robert of his age, as he has officially deemed him the "Old Guy" at work. He also tries to figure out Robert's past."
Have you ever watched the original TV series from the 80's starring Edward Woodward? "Unfortunately, I have not. I believe that was a little before my time. However, I did my own research on the show after booking the project."
Do you know if your character is new to the film, or was he in the original TV series also? "I believe my character is new to the film."
As we're not called Exclusive Magazine for nothing, can you reveal a little behind-the-scenes secret - something that when we come to watch the film we can look out for? "Well, I will say that this film is the first time Denzel and Antoine Fuqua have worked together since his Oscar winning role in TRAINING DAY so be sure to look out for some hard hitting action and amazing imagery in the film. Another tip is that Robert McCall isn't big on guns so be sure to look out for the creative ways he goes about his work throughout the film."
Your other upcoming new movie is the wonderfully titled, CAKE. In this one you star alongside Jennifer Aniston and William H. Macy, so what can you tell us about your role of Buddy? "Buddy becomes the witness of Claire Simmons' (Jennifer Aniston) friend's suicide. I try my best to help her unravel the mystery of her friend's death."
You also have scored a role (Jittery Guy) in the upcoming NWA biopic Straight Outta Compton, so were you / are you a big fan of theirs? "My sister actually went to school with MC Ren, one of the members of the group, when I was growing up in Compton during the first seven years of my life. I really wasn't allowed to listen to that type of music when I was a child but as I became a fan of hip hop, I revisited the albums and grew to be fan of their music."
"I now understand the importance, impact, and the lasting effect of their music on both on the music industry and on the community since the release of their first album. I am humbled and honored to be a part of such an iconic film."
Talking of great names, what can you tell us about Honey Nutz?! "I always get a kick out of hearing different people screaming out 'Honey Nutz' while on set. Honeynutz is part of a young, wild, and, mischievous rap group who never follows rules. The group makes Gretchen, our publicist's, life a bit harder as she tries to fix all the chaos we cause."
And what's all this we're hearing about Young L.I.L.?! "Playing Young L.I.L. was such an honor. I had the pleasure of working with comedic legends such as John Witherspoon, DC Curry, and Charlie Murphy. Being able to work with the genius minds of Aaron McGruder, the creator of "Black Jesus," and Mike Clattenburg, the director, was an amazing honor. Young L.I.L. is a tough hip hop rapper in the neighborhood. When things get a little rough, they call on to him to bring it to an end, and in no way is it going to be with friendly conversation. Not to give anything away, but I have a pretty big altercation with a hip hop legend show. This show is simply funny."
Stepping away from films, in your spare time you are a philanthropist and an entrepreneur. Please tell us more about both of these aspects of yourself re: Demo Nerds and your Record Company, Production Company, T-shirt line, etc. "I believe it's important to have a sense of ownership in anything that you do, especially if it's doing what you love to do. Demo Nerds ( www.DemoNerds.com) is company I created to provide products and services, which quickly turned into providing free acting classes for foster kids at risk and inner city youth in the Los Angeles area. I love working with kids and playing a positive role in their future development. It gives me a sense of balance and responsibility."
"GET IT DONE Records ( www.GetItDoneRecords.com) is another company I created from things that I love to do. Writing and producing have both been things I have loved doing since I was a kid. We currently have serviced music to over 50 television shows and films worldwide. I have created songs/music for films such as THE NEXT THREE DAYS starring Russell Crowe, DON JON starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt as well as for hit TV shows such as Showtime's "House of Lies," NBC's "Chicago PD," and HBO's "Ray Donovan," to name a few."
"Only Son Production is my baby. I'm very proud of the projects we've produced and that we have in production. Our first film ONE DECISION AWAY had a great run. It showed at several film festivals and even brought home a "Best Actor" award at the Blue Water Film Festival. Our current project "Who The F@ck Is Uncle Joe?" is a action/comedy web series which is a cross between THE HANGOVER, FIGHT CLUB and THE BOURNE IDENTITY, and we've released the pilot to a few festivals as we've had great response so far."
"VINEYARDS PHINEST ( www.VineyardsPhinest.com) is a clothing brand I established this year, as I also have a passion for fashion. We've made it our company policy that a portion of the proceeds will go towards our free programs for kids. Our current focus at the moment for the brand is creating designer T-shirts, and we are looking into expanding our products as the company continues to grow."
You enjoy working out, but do you have a daily routine that you like to keep to, perhaps? "I've become very conscious of having a healthy lifestyle as I had to shed 15 pounds for my upcoming TV show on BET titled "The Start Up". Since booking the show, I've chosen to eat healthier and to work out everyday. I love boxing. My daily routine is to run/walk/jump rope at least 5 miles a day."
You have been quoted as saying, "Success isn't suggested; it's demanded." What made you say that statement at that time and, knowing you are deeply religious, who demands it from you the most? "I was taught by my mom at an early age that you get back exactly what you put in. With that mindset early on, I came to understand that you can't be timid or suggestive with your dreams and yourself. You have to demand and set a standard for yourself that will allow people to believe in you just as much as you believe in yourself."
Finally, we here at Exclusive Magazine LOVE Penguins (the birds), so we were wondering if you did also - or if you had any thoughts / funny stories involving one?! "I wish I had an interesting story in my life about penguins, but life is still early for me. So I hope to have an interview in the future with you and be able to answer that question with a great story!"
Interviewed by Russell A. Trunk
Back To Archives