Deric Augustine Talks Film Industry, Muhammad Ali and More
Deric Augustine grew up on stage with his youth theater group and was instantly hooked on acting. Today, the multi-talented young man from New Orleans is not only set to star in some major feature films but has also written a few scripts and even a novel that will be published this year!
Deric was gracious enough to chat about his upcoming releases and what the year has in store for him.
How has the acting industry changed since COVID-19 regarding being on set and auditions? “The industry is taking COVID-19 very seriously. I was fortunate to work on a couple of episodes of “Shameless” and “Godfather of Harlem,” and the set environment has changed dramatically. We have to follow specific guidelines to make our work environment as safe as possible that include social distancing, wearing a mask between takes, proper sanitation, limited interaction with other cast mates while not performing, and getting tested at least three times a week. All auditions are on tape now and most callbacks are now on Zoom, and it’s not the same as being in the room, which I prefer.”
What was the casting/audition experience like for the role of ‘legendary boxer, Cassius Clay, known as Muhammad Ali to the world? “Muhammad Ali is the most well-known sports icon that ever lived. He was also much more than just a great boxer; he was an overall great man with probably the most charismatic personality the world has ever seen. So, Vickie Thomas had her work cut out for her, casting such a well-known character. When I first got the audition, I was pretty nervous because this was an iconic character in a great series. Not to mention, the actors attached were legends themselves, such as Forest Whitaker and Vincent D’Onofrio. After the first audition, I got the callback, and then I tested for the network. It was a long process, but in the end, I came out victorious.”
What is the best part about playing Cassius Clay? “The best part about playing Cassius Clay is that I get to play Cassius Clay! He’s a legend. It’s a lot of pressure, but when I walk on set, I fully become him. I don’t break character until the day is completed. This method allows me to work with a degree of confidence that pushes my performance to the next level. I think it’s also a monumental moment in my career working with an award-winning actor like Forest.”
What is the most rewarding part of being an actor and writer? “I am an artist. Acting and writing are an extension of my artistry that I love. I get to play characters that are totally different from my personality, views, and upbringing. I started in theater and being on stage in front of a packed audience is so exhilarating. When I’m on that stage or in front of a camera, it justifies that I made the right decision in pursuing my passion and honing in my craft. I also have a couple of scripts in the process of being sold. I am also very close to finishing my first ever novel. It’s all relative because it’s a part of my artistry that I’m proud of, and soon I’ll be a young black author.”
Who are some of your biggest inspirations in the acting industry and why? “My mother is my biggest inspiration because she was the person who got me into acting. She basically forced me to do theater when I was thirteen, and I’ve been in the industry ever since. My other inspiration is Will Smith. I grew up watching him on “The Fresh Prince.” It was my favorite show and I found myself wanting a career like him. I love the journey that I’m on and looking forward to what the future holds.”
What can fans expect from you in the near future? “Fans can see me on Season 2 of “Godfather of Harlem.” I also have another show called “Swagger” on Apple TV. Unfortunately, I can’t talk much about my role, but the show is a new basketball-themed drama series from NBA superstar Kevin Durant which is inspired by his youth basketball experiences. I’m also in the process of getting my screenplay produced called “The Twenty-Fifth Dynasty” which is a historical-epic feature film based on a true story about black Egyptians formerly known as the Kushites. My novel, “Nawlins”, should be published by the end of the year. I also have another feature film coming out soon called “It’s Time” where I’m playing a football player.”