London Brown – Ballers
By: Jamie Steinberg
Q) What are the recent projects that you are working on?
A) I just filmed this independent project called Asia A. It deals with spinal chord injuries and the character is paralyzed from the waist down. When my rep sent it over, it read really well and it was a good stretch. Coming from standup, I’m always looking for something to push me a little bit and show my range as an artist. It’s definitely very dramatic and emotional. I think it’s a good look. It definitely challenged me as an artist.
Q) How was your character Reggie on “Ballers” originally described to you?
A) When I went in for the piece, just kind of knew that I’d be the best friend of the guy who gets drafted into the league. He’s from the hood and he doesn’t quite know all of the numbers and what he’s doing, but he does support his friend. By any means necessary, he’s there to protect his boy. Reggie has actually started to figure out the numbers and what he’s doing – to really be an agent. When they told me that, I didn’t want to just play him as the sidekick. If I try to get a role, I definitely try to add some layers. Even though a lot of people see him as the a-hole friend, I try to show some other stuff. Reggie does care about his friend and looks out for the money deals, in the midst of being kind of trifling at the same time. They are showing Reggie now developing into actually knowing what he’s doing. So, that’s a good look.
Q) You come from a comedy background. What made you want to dive into drama?
A) It was to show a different side of me. There are a lot of people who see the show, but don’t know that I even come from standup. So, I wanted to do something completely different so as an artist I could grow because I’m not like Reggie at all. But I can appreciate playing something a little outside of myself. When people meet me, they realize I’m nothing like Reggie and that’s cool because that’s what I wanted – something totally not me.
Q) Is that what you also find challenging about playing this role?
A) Yeah. Also, I knew it would also be challenging to play since – one, I’m playing opposite Dwayne Johnson. At least for that first season and a half. That was going to challenge me because he’s like 6’5 and however many pounds he weighs. I knew I had to come with a lot of presence to play opposite him. So, that was a challenge physically. Anything that is going to help me to grow, that’s what I’m interested in.
Q) What would fans be surprised to know about Dwayne Johnson that you have learned from working with him?
A) Dwayne is so cool he doesn’t like to close his eyes when he sneezes. That’s how cool Dwayne is. [laughs] He’s just a really cool guy. He’s really charming and has a lot of presence. He’s just very inspirational. If you follow him on social media, you’ll see him and what not, but for sure when I was filming the HH project my followers were surprised I was getting in the gym at 3am. That’s something I can say that I attribute to working with Dwayne. We had to be on set by 5am and he was at the gym an hour or so before getting on set. That’s something I have definitely have implemented into my workout. I may work out five days a week just so I can be ready for whatever. But my dedication to going before set is due to Dwayne. Whatever you think he is – a baller – he’s five times that in person. He’s a large individual with a lot of presence. He’s very, very nice and very dedicated and focused. That stuff rubs off on you.
Q) What can you tease is in store for Reggie this season on “Ballers?”
A) I get asked about the show like that, but because we shot out of sequence I’m oblivious to the whole thing. I don’t know what is going on so it is new to me like everyone else. We shoot out of sequence. We shoot out of order. We’re all over the city. Not all of my scenes are with Dwayne. I do my scenes, take two days off and then come back and work three days. It’s just a tornado. So, it’s a surprise. My friends think I try to hide things, but I really don’t know what is going on. Whatever it is, I hope they keep the show going and keep Reggie in there.
Q) What are some of your most memorable moments from filming the series?
A) Some of it is outside of filming, but it is because of filming. Just running into people who let me know they watch the show. On Instagram, I get a lot of shoutouts. I appreciate people coming up to me and speaking to me about the show and the part I play. That’s been really cool, to be acknowledged for the work. We did a press promo run in Houston and they asked me if I had a plus one. So, my plus one went to one of my closest friends whose family was out in Houston. I was glad to offer him the ticket so he could go and see his family. So, those kind of things is not filming directly, but because of filming a lot of things outside of the show have been really positive and effective. So, I can really appreciate those things.
Q) Is there someone you haven’t worked with on the show that you’d really like to have a scene with?
A) It would be cool if Mayweather or a Michael Jordan or Mike Tyson. If I could do scene with some of these guys that I really admired – as far as their focus and dedication and being so great. As far as the show, I’ve had the chance to get into some scenes with pretty much all of them. I wouldn’t mind doing more scenes with Dwayne because of the conflict that Reggie and Spencer have. So, for the fans sake I would like to do more stuff with Dwayne.
Q) What have you taken away from your time working on “Ballers?”
A) From season one, I learned “don’t buy, lease.” Since Dwayne was pushing that on the characters in the show the car that I have now I definitely leased it and it came from the show. I was thinking, “Yo, he’s absolutely right.” So, there are some real life lessons on the show. Because cars depreciate, I was like “Thanks Spencer. I’m going to lease my next vehicle.” So, that’s what I’m doing.
Q) You have great comedic timing. Is it something that has come naturally to you or is it something you have had to work at?
A) I think comedy is definitely about timing and I just think it is a gift. I do standup so after a good show sometimes my friends will say, “Yo, London, make sure you stay humble.” But they don’t understand that comedy is humbling in itself between the audience not knowing who you are and there is a different audience every night. So, you don’t really know if people are going to laugh. That angle of it is humbling, and also understanding that God could have given anybody the gift to be funny or timing. So, just to be chosen to receive it is humbling in itself. I respect it and that’s why I work at it nightly because I’m just so appreciative to have been the recipient of it.
Q) Is there anything else you want to be sure fans know about Reggie or your time working on the series?
A) Reggie is maturing. He’s figuring it out. He’s dressing a little more casual in a couple of scenes. I think the fans want to see Reggie in more suits though. I would like to see Reggie in more suits, personally. He’s just maturing. I think he’s developing from Season One to Season Three. I think people see Reggie is becoming more responsible and he’s making deals. Hopefully, we’ll see where the writers take him. They may mess him around and take him into the office with Spencer and Joe (Rob Corddry). If I had to guess, that wouldn’t be a bad idea. Really get him involved in the stuff he’s been acting like he knows how to do. It would be nice to see him actually know how to do that stuff. I didn’t get here on my own. God definitely set me up with a way to be able to do what I love to do. I met some great people who support that. I just know I didn’t get here on my own. I had some great people around me.