I was able to chat with the multi-hyphenate actor/writer/producer Allen Maldonado.
Allen, who is also featured in ‘Black-ish’, ‘Survivor’s Remorse’, ‘The Equalizer’, ‘Straight Outta Compton’, also stars with Tracy Morgan and Tiffany Haddish the comedy series ‘The Last O.G.’ which premiered to record ratings for TBS and has already been renewed for a 2 season. Alongside being an actor on the show, Allen is also a writer for the show. Next up, he will be seen on the big screen this summer in Sony’s feature film remake of ‘SuperFly’ slated for theatrical release on June 13.
Outside of his acting career, Allen is a successful entrepreneur. He runs a record company (Get It Done Records), a production company (Only Son Productions) and a t-shirt line (Vineyards Phinest), where a portion of the proceeds go to his foundation. As a staunch advocate for higher education, community service, and encouraging youth to pursue the arts, Maldonado is the founder of Demo Nerds, a foundation that provides free acting classes, tools, and services for at-risk youth and foster children in the inner cities of Los Angeles. Last year he joined the tech world by launching the short-film streaming app EVERYBODY DIGTIAL. Below, we talked to Allen Maldonado on the projects he’s been involved in.
The Knockturnal: What was it like working with Tiffany Haddish and Tracy Morgan in The Last O.G?
Allen Maldonado: It was incredible. You know, these are two phenomenal, talented individuals, especially on the comedy side. And, being able to share the screen with these two individuals was a dream come true. Being able to bounce off of each other’s personalities and kind of just gel, and bond, and become a family on set. So, it’s been a fantastic ride season 1, and I look forward to season 2.
The Knockturnal: Since The Last O.G. has been renewed for a second season and you are also a writer for the show, is there anything fans of the show can expect for the second season?
Allen Maldonado: Oh, wow! Everything that we’ve done in season 1 is basically the setting up and it’s kind of just identifying the world, and now that we’ve had the opportunity to see all the characters and get everybody’s voices, everybody’s characters will be amped up. And, we’ll be able to write towards our actors and write toward everybody’s strengths. So, we look forward to season 2 being three times better than the first. We had a great first season, so we’re very excited to have an opportunity to kind of write for the characters, knowing who they are now. The show was written before anyone else was cast, aside from Tracy. This time, you are able to get to the root of everybody’s strengths and voices and creativity.
The Knockturnal: What was it like working with Director X in your upcoming film, SuperFly?
Allen Maldonado: Oh, man, Director X was incredible! I’ve been a fan of his since his music videos in the mid 00’s and his cinematography, his camera work, his framework, the colors, the angles that he would do in the music videos, he brought those to the set. So, I’m very fascinated with how his mind works.
The Knockturnal: In the film, you play Litty, and the film is a remake of the 1972 film of the same name, so in what ways did you draw inspiration from the original film for your character?
Allen Maldonado: Aside from the name, SuperFly is considered more of a remix than a remake. It’s kind of loosely based off the beginning one. So, I definitely don’t want to say that it’s going to be the same as the one from the 70’s, but it’s going to be loosely based. So, my character, aside from the name, didn’t really have the same kind of dynamics as the other character in the first one, but it’s one of those things where they’re just taking it and putting a spin on it, and giving a more modern feel to it.
The Knockturnal: Upon discovering the script, what was your initial attraction to this film?
Allen Maldonado: Oh, wow, it’s to live in the same realm as the original SuperFly and kind of reintroduce this type of energy that this film is going to be able to put out, and especially with Little X directing it. Again, I’ve been a fan of his work for years, so to be able to work with him was a no-brainer when it came to reading the script and finding out that he was going to direct it, so being apart of this film was a no-brainer.
The Knockturnal: You are also a founder of Demo Nerds, a foundation that provides free acting classes, tools, and services for at-risk youth and foster children in the inner cities of Los Angeles, what was the inspiration behind creating this foundation?
Allen Maldonado: Wow, Demo Nerds happened because a friend of mine works for a non-profit organization and she had a career day, and I got to meet these swarms of kids, and I literally just fell in love with them. And, I wanted to do something, I wanted to figure out how I could help them in any way. And, it was my friend Chanel Watkins who gave me the idea to start a program that teaches acting and film. And, so I developed it and brought it back to her non-profit and we began working with them and it just has grown in the past couple of years. For the past five years, that we service kids from all walks, from downtown L.A., to foster kids, to at-risk youth, and it’s inspired by visible representation. A lot of the things that makes me who I am all were sparked by individuals that look like me, sound like me, doing the things that I want to do, and not just seeing them on TV, but seeing them in person, and then having a conversation with them and hearing their voice say I can do it, it changed, it can move mountains, so that’s what the idea of the program is, to be able to help these kids find themselves and find their own strength.
The Knockturnal: Are there any upcoming projects you’d like to highlight or share?
Allen Maldonado: Yes. ‘Everybody Digital’ has its first film festival which will be in October in Brooklyn. I’m super excited for our first official film festival. It is October 19th through the 21st. And, this is open today so if anybody would like to participate in ‘Everybody Digital’s’ first film festival, they could go to ‘EverybodyDigital.com’ or ‘EDFilmFestival.com’ as well as any short filmmakers that want to be apart of the app, they can submit to our online application through ‘EverybodyDigital.com’. And I’d love to promote our upcoming film on ‘Everybody Digital’: Watch Comedians Laugh starring Deon Cole, and we have another film called ‘The Narcoleptic’ starring Miles Brown from Black-ish along with the series called ‘The Struggle’ releasing this summer as well. So, we got a ton of stuff for the app and excited to begin shooting season 2 in July of The Last O.G.
Be sure to check out SuperFly in theaters on June 13, and stay tuned for the upcoming season of The Last O.G. and be sure to check out all other projects Allen Maldonado is featured in! Check out the trailer for SuperFly below!