'Cloak & Dagger's Maceo Smedley talks the superhero experience and his upcoming Netflix sitcom
Starring as the younger version of Tyrone Johnson aka Cloak, 11-year-old actor Maceo Smedley has brought to life, quite successfully, a young superhero-to-be.
Superhero stories are all the rage, at the moment and Marvel has clearly been taking the small screen by a storm, one show at a time. The latest obsession, when it comes to this larger-than-life comic book world, being the Freeform series, 'Cloak & Dagger.' Centered in the heart of New Orleans, the show's narrative is replete with ample amount of action, drama, and some noteworthy performances.
To put it simply, Marvel's 'Cloak & Dagger' is an instant attention-grabber just like the talented actors who feature in this superhero drama, including 11-year-old Maceo Smedley who has brought to life, quite successfully, a young superhero-to-be. Starring as the younger version of Tyrone Johnson aka Cloak, Smedley is out and out entertaining.
And if there is anything more fascinating than his performance, it is his understanding of how a superhero cinematic universe functions, as I realized after a recent chat with the talented actor. Being a fan of everything Marvel, the actor just knew what he needed to bring in to the mix and how to keep his ideas fresh. Interestingly enough, Smedley would be following up the 'Cloak & Dagger' gig with a recurring role in Netflix's autobiographical sitcom, 'All About the Washingtons.'
In a conversation with Meaww, this powerhouse actor talked about his upcoming shows, his Marvel experience, and all the lessons he learned about how "slavery affected children" while working on WGN America's 'Underground.'
We are so excited to see you on Marvel's 'Cloak & Dagger.' So, did you have to audition for the role? What was the experience of playing young Tyrone?
Maceo Smedley: Thanks, I did have to audition, but it was different from any other audition. I had to send in a tape of me swimming. The tough part about it was I couldn't swim very well at first. [In the show] I play young Cloak, and I appear every time Cloak has a flashback to his childhood. The show is about two teens who have superpowers and fight evil while falling in love. The filming was incredible because I had to overcome my fear of heights.
Who are you closest to amongst all your co-stars? Is there a go-to person on the set, you would lean on for advice or feedback?
MS: It was a pretty close group of people because I grew up watching Olivia Holt (who plays Tandy Bowen aka Dagger in the series) and she was very nice to me. Aubrey Joseph (Tyrone Johnson aka Cloak) was a very funny guy, and he gave me advice. Young Tandy (Rachel Ryals) and I were close because we are in school together, and Marcus who plays my brother on the show doesn't live far from me in real life.
The writer Joe (Pokaski) was my go-to guy though because I've known him for quite a while and we filmed 'Underground' together.
Are you familiar with the comics history of your character, did you refer to the books to prepare for 'Cloak & Dagger'? Also, if you were to choose a particular Marvel superhero comics/shows as your favorite, which one would it be?
MS: No, I didn't refer to the comics until after we were done with the filming. I didn't want the old Cloak and Dagger (comics) to interfere with what the writers wanted to do with the new 'Cloak and Dagger.' However, I am a very big fan of Marvel Studios. It's hard to choose a favorite show, though, because they're all so good, it always leaves me thinking of what's going to happen next.
Tell us about your other show, Netflix’s 'All About The Washingtons.' How did you land the role of Devon? Also, what do you think is so special about the character, which is coming soon in the comedy web series?
MS: The show is about a rapper who comes home from his final tour. I landed the role because the casting directors knew me from a different show.
The cool thing about Davon is that he is always getting into trouble. He does some of the craziest things as a kid that I can see myself doing in real life. I think all the fans of my age are going to be able to relate to him and enjoy seeing him on TV.
You also happen to be one of the youngest stars on WGN's 'Underground,' playing Jurnee Smollett-Bell's younger brother, right? How was the experience?
MS: That was an awesome experience because that was my first big show. The cast was so friendly, and most of us keep in touch. Everyone working on that project felt a personal connection with the story as we tried to teach the world about the Underground Railroad.
There must have been plenty of learning moments being a part of 'Underground,' could you share some of them with us?
MS: Well, one of the episodes was mostly about how slavery affected children. This is something that is not taught in school, so it was shocking to learn about it from the show. I also had to pick cotton in one of the scenes. I couldn’t believe that people had to work so hard in the hot sun. My dad also told me about how my grandmother used to pick cotton when she was growing up on a farm, so that motivated me to do my best on that scene.
Having faced the camera at the young age of five, what is the most enjoyable part about acting according to you?
MS: I feel like it's the people you are with (who makes all the difference) because you can't have a good project without good chemistry between you and your fellow co-workers. But, it's also fun to act because I get to play around with my emotions.
If not acting, what do you see yourself doing in the future?
MS: I am really interested in becoming a director someday. It would be cool to see what it’s like to be in the background of making a film great.