HISTORY® premieres “Roots” on Memorial Day 2016, airing over four consecutive nights at 9 p.m. beginning Monday, May 30, it was announced today by Paul Buccieri, President of A&E and HISTORY. The four-night, eight-hour event series developed by HISTORY, from A+E Studios, is a historical portrait of American slavery recounting the journey of one family and their will to survive and ultimately carry on their legacy despite hardship.
We spoke to one of the stars of the series, Brandon Stacy (Clingman).
What inspired you to become an actor?
The power of imagination. Growing up I would see films and get so sucked into that world that afterward, my imagination would keep me there. So I would go outside and play make-believe as characters from the movies either by myself or after coercing my friends into playing the other characters. Even if they hadn’t seen the movie, I would assign them the characters that were opposite me. In this sense, my professional life is basically a continuation of that little boy Brandon Stacy. I’ve always wanted to do the same thing.
When I see children playing, talking to themselves, or describing to their friends the imaginary scenario in which they going to play, it really makes me smile. It’s that imagination that allows me to keep doing what I do.
Did you cut your teeth doing commercials and shorts like most people?
There really is no set path to the industry. I certainly have done many shorts and tiny roles in commercials. The important thing for me was to work where I could. If that means doing a short or making a web series, then great. Work begets work, and you get to act in the process.
What would you say has been the biggest break of your career so far?
ROOTS airs on The History Channel, A&E, and LIFETIME. It has the ability carry a message and reach a lot of people from all different backgrounds. That is a powerful thing. The weight of that can cause a pretty big “break”.
How did Roots come about?
I’ve been working in south a lot over the past few years and I have great relationships with my reps at Louisiana Talent Agency and have established a trusting repour with Casting Director Meagan Lewis, who brought me in for ROOTS. Thankfully they have the vision to see me in characters that some might not assume I can play.
Was Roots shooting near home to you or did you do some relocating?
Roots was shot in the beautiful state of Louisiana. I live a very nomadic life. The industry now is so spread out, and changes so much due to film incentives given at certain times, in particular states. The job can lead you anywhere. Just as diverse as the roles I intend to play, I am open to do the work where I need to do the work. If that means I have to be on the moon to play the game, I’ll pack my boots and learn to moonwalk.
Are you a history buff? Were you personally taken with the story?
I have always been compelled to study history. We all are personally affected by it. It shapes who we are as individuals and as a society. In studying the past we have the opportunity to learn from our mistakes and our successes in order to shape the future.
Was it a physically demanding or emotionally gruelling shoot?
The content is highly emotional and moving. That certainly takes its toll on your body, especially in the heat with the bugs. The atmosphere definitely adds to the performances though.
What’s next for you?
Recently I was cast in the Doug Liman/Tom Cruise Crime Thriller “MENA”. I also have role in the CRACKEL ORIGINAL Show called “STARTUP” that will be out later this year. Currently I’m working on a sci-fi series called “BLADE OF HONOR”.