Brandon Stacy might have lost 25 pounds for his role in Roots, but he gained plenty of knowledge about American history.
Along with Roots, Stacy also had roles in films and televison such as The Big Short and Star Trek New Voyages: Phase II. He will star in an upcoming film titled Mena, along with Tom Cruise.
I spoke with Brandon Stacy via phone at 10 am CST. Brandon lives in Los Angeles. While I was talking to him from Chicago, he was very nice, calm, and extremely willing to share information with me about his past and upcoming roles.
Sarah’s Backstage Pass® : Did you watch the original Roots in 1977?
Brandon Stacy: Well, I didn’t watch it then, but I did watch it growing up several times, and even parts of it in school. So there was certainly a lot to live up to, but I think we definitely hit our marks and reached a new generation with this material.
SBP: What were your first thoughts when you heard the History Channel would be doing a remake?
BS: Well, a great thing about the History Channel is that so many people watch it and trust it. So right away, I knew that obviously it’s a big deal if they’re going to back it and put their faith into it. I knew that I could be proud of reaching so many people with this message. And of course, in my work, I try to do things that reach a lot of people with a positive message. We all hope people take a positive message out of this. I think there are people who can use the past to divide us, but the point is to use the past to unite us and that’s what this [Roots] does.
When I asked Stacy what he did to get into character, he explained that he lost 25 pounds from the audition process to wrapping the project. He also told me that there was a “deeper path” of his character that did not make it into the film. When describing his costume, which was made of wool, he paused and laughed because he said it was “extremely hot” while filming.
SBP: I found it interesting how there were so many generations represented in the show. How do you think that played a role in understanding how slavery changed throughout the years?
BS: As far as the descendants of Kunta Kinte, when you’re following the lineage of one person, you can see how things change from generation to generation. We kind of lose a piece of us each time, given the surroundings that we’re in. And the surroundings we’re in play a part in who we are. My character, Clingman, is a product of his environment and the teachings of his family and traditions. He is an honorable man as far as the army, but he’s on the wrong side of humanity, based on what’s right and wrong. Ultimately, he’s pretty dangerous in those ideals. Had his environment been different, he probably could have been a different person. If we’re raising our children in an environment that we can be proud of, then hopefully, we can pass the good things on to them.
Overall, Stacy seemed very strong in his belief that knowing our history is the first step in uniting us. He explained that we should want to build a future that not only we can be proud of, but our ancestors as well.
In 2015, Stacy played the role of Christian Bale’s father in the Oscar-winning film The Big Short, and he was very pleased with the results of that project.
SBP: How did you react when you first learned that The Big Short was nominated for an Oscar?
BS: It really was exciting. I had a feeling it was going to be nominated for some Oscars as soon as I heard about it. So obviously, when I was cast, I was like ‘here we go!’ To put a cast like that together, something special was going to happen. It is another piece that really comments on society and really deals with issues that we’re dealing with today. It’s another great project to be a part of because it reaches people and hopefully inspires them to make positive change within our society.
When discussing the film, Stacy sounded as if he was still amazed by the cast with which he worked. He explained that people such as Steve Carell, Christian Bale, Brad Pitt, Ryan Gosling, and Marisa Tomei are all a really big inspiration to him because they are “so incredible at their craft.”
SBP: Do you have a favorite memory from working on that film?
BS: I really liked watching [director] Adam McKay at work. He’s such an interesting and highly intelligent man. I just liked watching his brain go and I’d definitely like to work with him again.
Stacy will be starring in the upcoming film Mena, alongside Tom Cruise. It is a crime thriller about the CIA drug runner, Barry Seal, in the 1980s, directed by Doug Liman. “Of course Tom Cruise is another big inspiration for me. It might even be an Oscar push for Tom. He’s due for one,” Stacy said.
SBP: Lastly, you looked so much like the original Spock in Star Trek New Voyages: Phase II. What was it like getting in costume for that part?
BS: It’s awesome! Every time you put those ears on with the tunic, it was just really cool. And the sets we worked with were all exact replicas from the original series. So when you walk under the bridge, it’s like you’re really on that ship. It’s super cool. Spock is such an interesting character that is so layered. His subtleties are so important and tell so much. I actually find him highly emotional, even though he’s logical. He’s at constant war with himself, so it’s a really fun role to play.
Stacy ended the interview by expressing his hopes for our readers to keep updated with him through his IMDB, Twitter (@BrandonStacy), and Facebook pages. “Stay updated and everyone please feel free to say hello,” Stacy concluded.
Alexi Rabin© June 8, 2016