Best known for his hit role in the recent Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, Ser’Darius Blain is a young actor you will be familiar with seeing on the big and little screen. We caught up with Ser’Darius to speak about Fatherhood, Jumanji and the reboot of the cult classic Charmed.
How did you get started in acting?
I don’t know. I ask myself that question every day. It’s weird. I just kept falling into it. I was a biology major in college. I always wanted to be a doctor. Actually, I wanted to be a cardiologist. When I was about 12 years old I started writing a play with my mom and ended up memorizing the entire play. I was playing around in the kitchen one day, rehearsing all the lines and she’s like, “Wow, you remembered the whole thing”. I said, “Yeah”. Then she encouraged me to audition for it. I ended up auditioning for it and didn’t get the part for the lead guy but I got the understudy. I was like “Great, I won’t ever have to do a show”. I was extremely socially terrified. I was the shyest kid ever. So I got the understudy for the lead and figured I would never have to do a show. And of course after show number one, the lead got sick and I had to do the remaining run of the show and kind of fell in love with acting.
If you weren’t acting, what would you be doing?
Cardiology is what I would have been doing, but honestly my other passion is cooking. So I’d probably be a chef right now. I worked in the restaurant for like 10 years as well.
What’s your favorite dish to cook?
I make a lot of European inspired dishes, Italian specifically. I kind of fuse those with my Caribbean roots. My family is from Haiti and the Dominican Republic. So it’s always something Italian with a Caribbean flare, a little hint of curry or something like that.
How have your roots influenced your life?
It influenced everything about me. I grew up in Miami, Florida. It was a very multicultural and diverse community. I think that when you grew up around multiple backgrounds, you gain a healthy respect for everybody’s individual struggle. Being in this business helps remind me that nothing is necessarily given to you. You gotta work hard for it. That’s what I witnessed growing up. A lot of hard work. People coming from third world countries come here and make something out of themselves. It was a similar path that I took when I came to Hollywood to try and make it.
You said, “Your son and fatherhood motivated you”. How has fatherhood motivated you?
You’re not just surviving for yourself. I think fatherhood makes you far more selfless than you ever imagined you could be. The minute I found I was having a child, I put my hustle and my determination into overdrive because I never wanted him to grow up without anything. I never wanted him to experience lack. I’m proud to say that I was able to pay for his college earlier this year before he even turned four. It was a dream of mine. He gets me excited to try to push the boundaries and push my own limits to try to get as much as I can possibly get out of this life, period.
Why do you think it’s important for us to see more black men as fathers?
I’m all about dispelling myths and stereotypes about our entire race, to be honest with you. We’re not seen as a multifaceted people. We’re not seen as people who put their families first and it’s unfortunate because it’s overwhelmingly false. I think it’s important for young black men and women to have someone to look up to as an example for family, which is everything to me. I don’t feel like we have enough positive images of people being there for their families, as we should. And I think that that’s something to aspire to.
My greatest fear in life was being a bad father or not being a good father. I think some people’s biggest fear in life is not having money or failing. I think you’re failing if you’re not establishing a legacy for your family. I always looked up to men who were great fathers and I think that when you have certain boys in your life, you always want to overcorrect it and you want to be 10 times better than that in that area.
Photo Credit: Telena Cassell
In a past interview, you said you believe black men have a hard time communicating their feelings publicly. Why do you think that is?
It’s the stigma. We’re supposed to be the strongest and the toughest of the tough. If you relate to any vulnerability, it’s perceived as a weakness. Not only that, we walk around with his huge target on our back in every way possible. I don’t have to tell you what’s going on in the world today, specifically in America and how black men are being targeted and gun down every single day. I feel like we’ve almost become numb to seeing it because it happens so often. Anything that looks like weakness is not tolerated in our community and that’s something that could get you hurt. Furthermore, the black family has been completely dismantled over the course of past few hundred years and we’ve been pitted against each other, man and woman to not even see the beauty, strength, and duality of ourselves.
Jumanji was a box office smash. What are some takeaways you got from working on that set and with that cast?
Work ethic. Watching Kevin and Dwayne and Karen Gillian too having much going on outside of that project and still being able to juggle multiple businesses, multiple projects, and family at the same time. It gave me new goals. It made me realize I wasn’t working half as hard as I thought I was.
You are in the upcoming reboot of the TV Show “Charmed”. Did you watch the show growing up?
I did. My cousin was obsessed with Charmed and Buffy The Vampire Slayer, so we would have to watch WB all the time. But I definitely watched Piper, Prue, Leo, and all the original gang quite often.
Going back to the original “Charmed”, which sisters powers would you like to have?
It would be between orbing and telekinesis. I’m not sure which one because I’m lazy. I want to just be able to pick stuff up without getting up. But I hate LA traffic, so I would like to orb to the next spot. I’ll probably go orbing.
Tell us a little bit about your character Galvin.
Galvin is a nice guy from around the way who is now a geneticist working at the university with Macy. He’s a little sweet on her, so we’ll see where that goes. Right now we’re just in the phases of getting to know each other and me showing her around Hilltown.
Photo Credit: Telena Cassell
What can we look forward to from Ser’Darius Blain?
I got another movie coming out called The Last Full Measure with Samuel L. Jackson and Ed Harris and Christopher Plumber. We got a really great cast and it’s a Vietnam biopic that will be out soon. I just finished a movie called Against All Enemies with Kristen Stewart, Anthony Mackie, and Vince Vaughn. So we’ve got a really good cast there as well. It’s about an actress named Jean Seberg who worked in the civil rights movement in 1968 just before Martin Luther King died. I’ve got some really exciting stuff coming up. I also have a food line with some prepackaged meals similar to blue apron coming up.
Make sure you follow Ser’Darius Blain on Instagram and check out the reboot of Charmed on The CW October 14th.
Main photo credit: Eric Yang