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EXCLUSIVE | 'All American' actor Da'Vinchi says Darnell may find love with 'a new girl' in Season 3

In an exclusive interview with MEAWW, the actor revealed where his character will go in Season three
UPDATED MAR 22, 2020
Da'Vinchi as Darnell Hayes (The CW)
Da'Vinchi as Darnell Hayes (The CW)

With an inside look into football and music, 'All American' has drawn several viewers to its story sketched out by a young and energetic cast and Da'Vinchi, who plays Darnell Hayes, has emerged as one of the fan-favorites.

In an exclusive interview with MEA WorldWide (MEAWW), the actor spoke in detail about his role on the show, where his character will go in Season three and whether fans will get to see a love interest soon.

He also shed light on his experience working with Ben Affleck on 'The Way Back' and his upcoming HBO series 'Vegas High'. Excerpts:

When you first came on board 'All American', what drew you to the script? And what's the one thing that you loved about the character when you first read it?

When I first came on 'All American', I was already familiar with the script from the Season one pilot. I had auditioned for Spencer's character and I read for him at least three, four times, and they kept sending me back in the room. So, when I got the details for Darnell, I thought I'm just gonna do it. I felt good about it. I don't remember the full character breakdown that I got for him. But what I do remember is that this character was similar to me.

On the show, Darnell has the brains and usually gives great advice. And he really puts his immaturity aside and sort of has a heart-to-heart with Spencer to call peace between the two and that's just kind of how I am in real life.

Da'Vinchi as Darnell Hayes and Daniel Ezra as Spencer James (The CW)

From Corey's death to Spencer's exit from football, Darnell has been through a lot. What was the one emotional segment or crucial point in the series that tugged at your heartstrings and was difficult to portray?

I think the hardest time was probably Episode 7 'Coming Home' when Corey died. To portray that, we shot the entire day and everybody was mostly locked in or extremely serious. We shot it in two takes.

When your character was first introduced, a lot of fangirls couldn't stop raving about how handsome you are — even though at first your character was a little bit on the negative side. But in the show so far, you have not had any love interests. Is there scope for Darnell to find someone who catches his heart?

I'm honestly happy about that. I am happy that they didn't use me as a sex symbol. But, yes, Season 3 is definitely gonna see some romantic storyline. I don't want to say "definitely" but yes, I think there could be someone.

Da'Vinchi (Getty Images)

If he had to choose from the girls on the show, who would he be with? What's his type of girl? Layla, Olivia, Simone, Kia?

Oh my god, if I had to choose from one of the girls in the show, I would honestly rather have a new girl come on the show. Because all the girls on the show had a thing with Spencer. I would rather discover a new girl so that it's a clean slate. Because, Layla was his ex-girlfriend, and with Olivia, they got some tension going on there. And if I talk to them, it would just get more complicated. So, yes, I would like a new girl.

About Darnell's type of girl, I think she definitely got to be smart, a little spiritual, not just book smart but really understanding too. In terms of color, it doesn't matter — she can be blue, green, orange, I don't care. As long as she is understanding, Darnell can definitely rock with it.

As I said earlier, Darnell was portrayed a little as an antihero in the beginning but now he's developed a close bond with Spencer. Where do you think his character will go as the series moves forward?

I'm not gonna spoil it, but Darnell is definitely here to stay. As long as he can and as long as it does not conflict with any other project that I'm working on. 

Would he come into the spotlight more than Spencer is?

Oh, I can't answer that. I don't know. I don't think though. Oh, you never know. Anything can happen.

When can the fans expect Season three? Would it be any time this year or next year?

I think it's probably gonna be out sometime in October.

Season two has been really heavy with drug addiction. There has been sexism, racism, mental health issues, everything has been addressed in this season. Especially most of the teenage problems. What else do you think is in the pipeline? And how difficult has it been for all the characters to navigate through these social issues?

You know, we're working with a very mature cast to tackle some of these problems that are going on nowadays. We understand that our art is telling the story to the world and the world needs to hear it so that it can help them plan solutions. I think another social issue that's gonna be a topic in the cards is probably gentrification. The showrunners definitely touch on that and elaborate it through the series.

Who's your favorite person to hang out with? What's the environment on the set while shooting?

Actually, I like everyone around. I can tell you the worst. You remember the episode when they were doing goat yoga? So I didn't like one of the goats (laughs).

Da'Vinchi as Darnell Hayes and Karimah Westbrook as Grace James (The CW)

Now, after 'All American', what kind of roles would you like to do in the future? Anything on your mind?

Yeah, I want to play a lot more diverse roles. I kind of want to retire from the sports world and portray a young detective or maybe get into the fantasy or science fiction world. I know I do have an athletic build but I would like to take a break from sports shows.

Tell us about any other projects lined up for your future.

My first studio film 'The Way Back' just released with Ben Affleck. Ben's a really cool guy and he gave me a lot of advice. One thing I struggle with is my height due to which I don't get many projects but Ben is taller than I am. And he told me, 'Don't worry'. Because they told him he was too tall to be an actor and now, look at him! So, it was great fun and energy. Apart from that, a new HBO pilot 'Vegas High' is coming soon!