JAMAICAN-BORN, Canada-based actor Damian Garth Brown Jr is determined to make his mark in film, television, and theatre.
Hailing from Spanish Town in St Catherine, Brown Jr once peddled bag juice in the Old Capital's bus park. He currently stars in the sitcom House Out of Order, which premiered last Sunday on the National Black Television Media ( NBTV), an American cable channel found on FLOW Channel 156.
Created by Baron Jay Littleton Jr and Christopher Moore, House Out of Order credits Bentley Kyle Evans as director and Trenten Gumbs as executive director. Its cast comprises a Caribbean ensemble of Jamaicans and Trinidadians talent.
Brown Jr plays the character James King.
In addition to Brown Jr, the cast includes Jamaicans Sardia Robinson and Alicia Irons; and Trinidadians DJ Anna, Rodell “Ro'dey” Cumberbath and Ultra Simmo. Other members of the cast include Ryan Lumas, Devon Stewart, Jovan Marie, and Tasia Gill.
He explained how he got the role in House Out of Order.
“In early 2020, I was in Los Angeles and looking for new management and, while I was there I called my mentor, the great thespian and actor Paul Campbell and told him I'm in LA and why I was there and without hesitation, he said: 'Let me connect you with Jeffrey Gunter (actor)'. Mr Gunter had signed on to play the lead role on a show called Arnold's Caribbean Pizza and they were still casting for some reoccurring roles. Mr Gunter made a call and set an audition for me. However, when I got to the audition, they already cast the part I originally went in to read for. There was only one role left and that was the role of Mr Gunter's character best friend, who was in his 70s. Since the person who was scheduled to read hadn't arrive yet, they asked me to read it and Mr Gunter, who was in the audition room, volunteered to read with me. I guess I did an excellent job so they rewrote the part made me the nephew of Mr Gunter's character. I did one episode in first season and second which will be released this year. Shortly after that, I was approached by the studio about starring in a new project they were developing. At first, I didn't take the offer serious because this is Hollywood and promises are made on a daily basis. However, a couple months later, my team informed me that the project was green light and we were going to camera in a month. And here I am,” Brown Jr explained.
He spoke about his character in House Out of Order.
“My character's name is James King. Without giving away too much, James is a family man and he loves his family, as dysfunctional as they are. He believes in the value of family and he loves his son. It was amazing experience; we have only known each other for a short period, but the level of camaraderie and artistic generosity is unmatched. And, to top it off, we have one of the best directors in Hollywood, Mr Bentley Evans at the helm.”
He shared how his interest in acting developed.
“I am a product of Children First, an organisation headed by Jamaican actress and educator Claudette Richardson-Pious and that's where my love for the arts started. Mrs Pious would ask every single child what their dream was and my dream was to be like her. So, we made a deal. I would stop selling bag juice in the Spanish Town bus park and take more interest in my education and she'd let me participate in the drama group. My mother was very happy that Mrs Pious (popularly known as Miss Likkle in the LASCO mackerel television commercial) believed in not only me but all the other young people in the organisation. Without Children First and Claudette Pious, my life would probably be very different today,” he said.
He spoke about his journey as an actor and creative.
“There were times when I had doubts. Not about abilities but whether I could make a living as an actor. There were also times when I thought about educational opportunities that I didn't exploit because I could not turn my back on my dream of storytelling. A lot of people don't know that I got accepted into Exeter Law school in England and rejected the offer. And there were times when I wasn't getting acting jobs and would I look back at the acceptance letter and say to myself what have you done to yourself. But I realise I was looking back too much and once I told myself that acting is how I want to survive/make a living, the opportunities started coming. I just focus on plan A because all plan Bs are distracting.”
He is a proud graduate of York University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science/Theatre Arts ( 2009). He has also received a Certificate in The Principles and Practice of Social Work from The University of the West Indies.
Brown Jr's first professional acting gig was in 2015, in a theatre production called Mi Get Mi Landed, written by Jamaican-Canadian playwright Devon Haughton at York University in Canada.
Brown has been living in Canada for the past 17 years. His mother and three of his siblings still reside in Jamaica.
And what would he consider to be his dream role?
“Well, I would love to play the lead role of a lawyer or a sophisticated villain with redeeming qualities in a Hollywood movie. Now it's out in the universe and God heard, so it will happen,” he said with a smile.
Damian Brown Jr's big screen appearance unfolded in Downsizing starring Matt Damon. He is also known for his performances in Doggy Daycare: The Movie (2015), Kim's Convenience (2016), and Arnold's Caribbean Pizza (2020).