Marcel Spears is an ambitious actor coming who is currently in filming for the third season of his show, The Neighborhood. We caught up with him to discuss the show and the new challenges that the cast will face in Season Three.
The Knockturnal: How does it feel to work on “The Neighborhood” with Cedric The Entertainer?
Marcel Spears: It’s a dream job. I’m doing the thing I love at a high caliber and I get to learn from a living legend. Sometimes Ced and the writers will be watching a scene I’m in and I’ll just hear him laugh and I’ll say to myself “I just made Cedric the Entertainer laugh, like a real laugh not one of them fake LA brunch laughs…” Cedric is the perfect example of the kind of artist you want as the lead in a series. He works hard, looks out for everybody, leads by example, cracks the set up, and gives the best wrap gifts! I’m proud to consider him a mentor and a friend.
The Knockturnal: What can we expect for this new season of “The Neighborhood”?
Marcel Spears: Season 3 of “The Neighborhood” gives us an opportunity to dig into the characters. The audience knows who we are by now so we get to explore different parts of the characters and there is a lot of funny in that. We meet some new neighbors, Malcom and Marty spend more time together. I wish I could say more, but it’s gonna be good.
The Knockturnal: How will the cast deal with the new problems coming up in the season?
Marcel Spears: The hallmark of our show is community, learning how to tackle things together and that’s how these characters will navigate all the craziness that will pop up this season. Together as family, together as friends, together as neighbors, and always in the funniest possible way.
The Knockturnal: Are we going to see new experiences for your character, Marty, as the season goes on?
Marcel Spears: Most definitely! Marty is a very smart, very capable guy in his professional life, but he still has a lot to learn as a young man. This season Marty faces off against his mom, Tina, in a very interesting way, he stands up to his big brother, Malcolm, he’s coming into his own.
The Knockturnal: During your college days, you were on the stage for roles in “Othello” and “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”. Do you ever see yourself returning to theatre roles?
Marcel Spears: Definitely! I’m a theatre kid at heart, so any chance I get to get on stage I cherish. I can’t wait to get back especially with everything going on during this pandemic, live theatre is going to feel like a treat.
The Knockturnal: Building on the last question, what would be a theatre role you would love to play?
Marcel Spears: August Wilson’s work is sacred to me so I would jump at the opportunity to play any of his class of characters, but the one that I’m preparing for in my mind right now is Boy Willie from The Piano Lesson.
The Knockturnal: You produced a short film named The Dress. Could you tell us a bit more about the making of that film?
Marcel Spears: The film was written and directed by one of my really good friends, India McGee. She’s a brilliant actress, dancer, singer extraordinaire and she had this idea for a short film about a woman who is faced with a really difficult life choice and embraces it in the best way. I wanted to get into producing, so she gave me the opportunity to do that. It’s a prime example to me of what Issa Rae talks about when she encourages young actors to “reach across instead of reaching up” and working with the people next to them instead of always trying to “climb the ladder.” There are great ideas right next to you sometimes and you don’t even know it.
The Knockturnal: In addition to “The Neighborhood”, you’ve acted in “The Mayor” and Always a Bridesmaid. How do you prepare yourself for these comedic roles?
Marcel Spears: Each character is different, and I think I approach my characters like I’m getting to know a stranger. I’ll try to figure out what things about the character are similar to me, and I try to figure out the things that are different, and once I feel like I got it in my head and in my body I just have fun. The writers sometimes give you these “gifts”; little quirks and inside info about the character, that’s always a lot of fun to build on.
The Knockturnal: Have you ever gone back to New Orleans to see how much has changed?
Marcel Spears: I go back to New Orleans any chance I get. I feel like because I’m working now I can’t get there as much as I’d like to, but I always go back. I think the city has changed a lot and it’s fun getting to know the city in this new way, but no matter how many condos or Whole Foods pop up, the magic of New Orleans is in the people. As long as the people are there, it’ll always be home for me.
The Knockturnal: Do you have any other projects in the works?
Marcel Spears: At the moment, I’ve been writing a lot more. I think the lockdown has forced me to stop procrastinating on some of the script ideas I have. I am excited about developing my own work, so I can’t wait. I’m going to start with some short films, but I hope to write an episode of “The Neighborhood” one day.