TWIST just spoke with Brandon Mychal Smith who plays Lord of Da Bling in the new Disney Channel Original Movie Let It Shine! He spilled all about his over-the-top character, the movie's intense rap scenes, and the cast's interesting food ritual. Check out our conversation below, and be sure to watch Let It Shine on the Disney Channel tomorrow night at 8PM!
TWIST: Tell us about your character in Let It Shine!
Brandon: My character in Let It Shine is basically the villain of the film. He's the catalyst for trouble, the match to start the fire. If there is an energy to make things feel pressured, Bling is going to bring that to you. I am very different from my character Da Bling in hundreds and hundreds of ways. I'm not a mean guy at all. I don't like to put pressure on people I'm around. I'm pretty easygoing, but Da Bling, he thinks he's the man. He actually knows he's the man because he's been reassured by winning the biggest rap battle in the city every year, three years in a row now. He's got the diamonds on his neck, he's got the diamonds on his wrist. He's living through his swag. He may have got himself a little too caught up in that type of energy.
T: Was it fun playing someone so different from yourself?
B: It's extremely fun playing someone so far from what I try to be like every day. I am not at all in your face, trying to be chauvinistic, or trying to be the coolest guy around town. It was really exciting stepping into a totally different type of energy, trying to hone in on the little bitty nuances of the character to see where this aggression came from and to really find that balance of that crazy, angry character. But actually, he's a character that still has some hope that maybe he can turn his life around.
T: Cool! What was your favorite scene to shoot?
B: My favorite scene to shoot would definitely have to be the really big rap battle scenes that we did. Whenever we did the big performance numbers, the rap grand slam at the end of the movie that I had won previously three years in a row, I get to go up against some fierce competitors. In that process, I really loved the grand-ness of it, being able to take over the stage, and to have everybody feel Bling's rap style. It was really fun taking over the stage and getting my rap on.
T: Yeah, that sounds so fun! What was the energy like on set?
B: We became such a close-knit family, and we really grew. I don't know what did that, but it worked out because we were able to have a good time while working. We would always have this ritual where after a great day of shooting, we would go to this Popeye's Chicken and get this big jambalaya. You know we were in the Southern end so a lot of the food is a little bit more authentic, even the fast food. So we'd all go together to Popeye's, which was like a 30-minute drive away from the set. It would be me, Tyler James Williams, and Trevor Jackson. We'd bring back something for Coco Jones and her entire family. I think even Nicole Sullivan would throw in a chicken request. So it was really fun. We didn't really need much, just a little jambalaya, shrimp, or some nice Creole dish. That would suffice for us and keep us going for the next day.
T: That sounds great! So why should TWIST readers definitely tune in for Let It Shine?
B: TWIST readers should definitely see Let It Shine because it's a movie that's going to uplift you, get you off your feet, get you dancing and moving around your house. Your mom might tell you to sit down because you're making too much noise, but don't let it stop you! Keep the music high, keep it pumping. I think everyone's going to sit in their living room, have some popcorn, and be blown away by every single effort given by each actor in this film.
T: Awesome! Now you're working on music too. Can you tell us about that?
B: Yes yes yes! Music is always brewing over here. It's always been a passion of mine. I've been able to pair up with some great guys in this industry that have guided me and prepared me for that time when I get to drop a mix tape or drop an album. We're really slow and methodical about the sound that we want to bring, being that there are so many people that I respect like Michael Jackson, the Isley Brothers, Jay-Z, Justin Bieber, and B.O.B. There are so many amazing musicians who I would love to work with, like one of my sisters Selena Gomez or Demi Lovato. I mean, they make such heartfelt music, and it's thought-provoking. I would love to be a part of the musical world, continue to make my impact, and make my name out there. Just little by little, I'll show the world who I am, first with Let It Shine, me doing my rap debut in an underground battle rap type of way. A lot of people can start to hear my sound, hear my flavor. I love taking over the stage so the live performances are going to be hot!
T: Are you planning on releasing an album anytime soon?
B: You guys will have to look out for that. There might be something in the works.
T: Great! So do you have any other upcoming projects, either musically or in acting?
B: This is going to be a really really fun year. I've got a lot of things brewing. I just did my modeling debut. It's a really amazing spread with my beautiful girlfriend Jasmine and I. I think everybody's going to be like, 'Wow! Brandon models too? This kid must have some free time.'
T: So maybe modeling is in your future!
B: Maybe, maybe. I've gotten my taste of it here and there, but it's exciting to now get back into the flow of it.
T: Definitely! Thanks for chatting with us, Brandon!
B: Thanks, TWIST!
Photo: Courtesy of The Disney Channel