Ser’Darius Blain – Finding One’s Divine Purpose
Words + Interview By: Tyrone Davis
Ser’Darius Blain is an actor and director, known for his roles in “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle”, “The Last Full Measure” and also the CW’s “Charmed” reboot. Aside from acting, Ser’Darius and I spoke about mental health, having faith, mentorship and more. He has found his divine purpose and believes it is to help others find their own. Enjoy!
How did you grow up?
I had a good childhood growing up in Miami. I think 90s kids had the last good, pure childhood experience. We played until the streetlights came on, could trust our community for the most part and just had a lot of fun in the heat. I grew up in a multicultural home (Haitian/Dominican/American) so we ate good, laughed too much and always had great music. I loved my childhood.
A lot of aspiring entertainers move to other cities to get ahead and it takes a lot of courage to do so. What made you decide that NYC was the place for you and what were some of the obstacles you faced when you got there?
I chose to move to New York to start my career because I was offered a scholarship to the New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts. A New York acting education is one of the best in the world so it was a no-brainer for me. The city was a great breeding ground for toughness and manhood for me. I learned how to make it through struggles there. You have to have multiple jobs to survive if you’re not rich there so, I had 3! I was exhausted but I wanted everything I got.
Over the years, NYC has become one of my favorite places to visit. I love the culture and I feel like those who haven’t had the opportunity to travel abroad yet can somewhat experience “the world” in one place. Also, it’s the birthplace of Hip Hop and I can feel it when there, similar to how I feel riding in Atlanta. What do you like most about NYC?
New York is a cultural and artistic melting pot. You literally get the sense of having the entire world in one city. Everyone from around the world is represented there including their music, art, food and languages. Living there definitely gave me an appetite for culture and growth. Some of the smartest and most socially conscious people I know, I met in New York City. I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
With that being said, NYC is being gentrified like majority of the cities in this country. What’s your take on it?
Gentrification is always going to be present when there is high demand for people to live there. It’s happened since the dawn of time. Unfortunately, our country was founded on capitalism so as long as that’s the primary focus, it will always happen. The people have to take back ownership of their neighborhoods so they can call their own shots moving forward. That’s my focus…own my stuff.
How is Dubai unlike any other place in the world? What did you learn while there that stood out to you most?
Dubai was incredible when I visited last year. The people were extremely hospitable and cultured. Everything there is done on a grand scale. The buildings and architecture, the landscapes and the night life. It’s like Vegas on steroids because of the incredible amount of wealth and opulence there. With that being said, I was a bit surprised at the number of rules there. It’s a Muslim country so some of the rules about public affection and differences between gender roles there is surprising.
Let’s get into acting a bit. How did you feel when you landed the role in “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle”?
When I booked Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, I didn’t believe it. I honestly thought it was a mistake, lol. Things like that just don’t happen to me so I was in shock for months. I still am (in shock) but I’m so grateful.
What was the most memorable moment on set for you?
The most memorable moment on set for me was actually the last day when we were shooting the scene getting sucked into the video game. It finally really hit me that I was working on Jumanji. I lost it! I screamed to the top of my lungs, “I f***ing love my job!!”
Tell us about the upcoming film, “The Last Full Measure”.
The Last Full Measure follows the true story of a White House aid who is interviewing a group of veterans who are all determined to get a posthumous Medal of Honor for the fallen soldier (William Pittsenbarger) who saved their lives over 30 years prior. I play a young Samuel L. Jackson in 1966 who was saved by him as well. I’m really excited for everyone to see it.
Being that you’ve played the younger versions of characters played by Kevin Hart and Samuel L. Jackson and wouldn’t share screen time with them, were you able to work with them behind the scenes in the development of the characters? If so, is there anything noteworthy that you learned from them?
I was able to work with Kevin behind the scenes and study some of his expressions and body movements. He’s got a huge personality and fills up every room he’s in so trying to fill his shoes is tough. I haven’t had a chance to work with Sam yet but hopefully I will soon.
After completing an emotional scene like the front yard scene in “When The Game Stands Tall”, do you snap back into yourself or does the sadness linger? In other words, can you turn it on and off? If so, how?
It was really hard for me to “snap out of it” while I was filming When the Game Stands Tall and Chicago PD. I know a lot of actors that are able to switch gears easily but for me, I have to be completely submersed in the emotion in order for it to look real. I have to really experience it. I’ve learned to find fun things to do when I’m not shooting so I don’t fall into depression. You have to learn to protect your emotions.
In real life, who wins the breakdancing battle between you and David Mann (Mr. Brown)?
Haha in real life, David Mann wins 10/10 dance battles against me, lol. The big man can seriously move. It’s impressive. He’s also one of the most professional people I’ve ever worked with.
Can you tell us about the CW’s “Charmed” reboot? What is your role in the series?
I’m really proud to be part it. I think it’s great that the show came back. We have another generation to fall in love with magic and the ‘Charmed’ sisters. … Magic is universal, so it will be great to see it from the Latino perspective on this show. I play Gavin, I work in the genetics lab with Macy, one of the sisters. I’m a nice guy showing her around to her new surroundings. She just moved into town. I am part of the welcoming committee.
What has been your favorite experience on film to date and why?
I have several favorite filming experiences to date for different reasons. Footloose because it was my first opportunity, When The Game Stands Tall because of the camaraderie and The Last Full Measure because our director Todd Robinson really let me spread my wings and bring creativity to my character.
Your “Top 5” favorite films…..Go.
My top 5 favorite films (In no particular order) are Mystic River, Love and Basketball, Remember the Titans, What’s eating Gilbert Grape and The Lion King.
You have a voice credit on “Grand Theft Auto V”. What was that process like and have you played the game?
I honestly didn’t even know what video game I was recording when I did the voice over for GTA 5. They kept it super secretive. I haven’t played it yet actually.
Being an entertainer yourself, how do you feel about the relationship between entertainers, the media, social media and the general public?
We live in an invasive social media age where everyone feels the need to display the best and most private parts of their lives online. I just feel like the greatest moments of your life should be lived and experienced. Privacy means a lot to me but I also understand the importance of connecting to your fans and letting them in to get to know you. It’s all about balance.
What’s your take on mental health within our community?
Mental health is looked at as a shameful and embarrassing subject in our country. Inversely, other progressive countries view it as a simple health issue that can be fixed with modern medicine or therapy. We have to stop looking at people with mental health issues as broken or discardable and start addressing the fact that it’s much more prevalent than we let on or admit. I think it’s part of the reason we have so many displays of violence in our society.
Explain the importance of mentorship.
Mentorship is monumentally important in my opinion because having someone with experience to help guide you always makes your path easier. It’s humbling to ask for help when needed and advice can help prevent you from making detrimental mistakes. I’m grateful for my mentors.
What kind of advice could you give aspiring entertainers who are just starting out?
I always tell aspiring entertainers to constantly obsess over learning. Keep pushing the limits to learn as much as possible and make yourself indispensable. Also, make sure you have a consistent way to make money while you’re on your journey. So many dreams and creativity can be killed by worrying about money.
Tell us something about yourself that most don’t know.
Most people don’t know I’m huge cooking aficionado. Restaurants and cooking are my passion and I’m probably a better chef than actor!
What does having faith mean to you?
My mom raised me on faith. God is a huge part of my life and his presence and grace has gotten me through some really tough times. I watched my mom believe and have hope all my life and she taught me how to weather some rough storms.
What is your “divine purpose”?
My divine purpose is to lead people to their destinies and to help them find the gifts within them and help display it to the world so they can save others. I’m here to lead people towards greatness and make being humane and decent fashionable again. There’s way too much selfishness in the world.
How can you be reached on social media?
You can find me on Instagram/Twitter: @SerDariusBlain and on Facebook: Ser’Darius Blain.
Any last words?
If you’re not doing what makes you happy, you’re doing life wrong…
Photo By: Telena Cassell