Donovin Miller on Being Cast in the CW's New Nancy Drew Spinoff 'Tom Swift' | Hype | LIVING LIFE FEARLESS

Donovin Miller on Being Cast in the CW’s New Nancy Drew Spinoff ‘Tom Swift’

Interviewed by:
Francesca Escarraga
Interview date:
May 2022
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What inspired you to be an actor? Can you tell us your background and how you developed a passion for the entertainment industry?

I’ve been in the entertainment industry since I was an infant. I started with modeling and had a good amount of success with it when I was younger. However, when I was twelve years old I transitioned from strictly print work and modeling to acting, more specifically improv. I always had so much fun when I went to my improv classes and that was my favorite form of expression when I first began and as I continued to grow, so did my spectrum of craft and interest in other forms of acting.

Congratulations on your upcoming CW show, Tom Swift! Can you walk us through the process of auditioning for the role?

I was extremely excited when I found out I was cast on this project and am so grateful to be a part of it. The audition process was a pretty enjoyable one for the most part, as I love making discoveries about characters that I get in auditions, and from the sides that I had gotten at the time of the audition, I deduced that this character shared a lot of commonalities within myself such as being very playful and fun with a subtle calmness and collectiveness to him. However, when I get characters that are pretty closely relatable to myself, I find it difficult to create a new character and I often just play myself, so that definitely took some time to workout and completely disassociate Lino from Donovin.

Can you tell us more about your character? What do you love about this character? How did you bring the character to life?

Continuing with what was stated, I absolutely love everything about Lino. He’s super athletic, super grounded, and is pretty much the cherry on top for the swift team. There is very light and fun energy about him but beneath all of the surface playfulness, he lacks a sense of belonging as he doesn’t have his biological mother or father in his life and he never really did. He is obviously very grateful for the life that he has but there is always an emptiness that is present within Lino that he cannot shake and eventually begins to question and explore. That was the most challenging part of the creation of Lino for me, as I come from a household where I grew up with two fantastic parents, so pushing myself beyond what I know and what is comfortable to me was and still is something that I learn more about day by day.

What makes this story different from others? How do you think this story will change and make an impact in today’s society?

This story shines a light on blackness that is often not seen on mainstream television. It steps away from the street violence and the drugs and instead focuses on a black billionaire family and all the greatness that comes from our culture and what can be achieved. There a many sensitive subjects that are touched on in the show that I feel [show] respect for those who are in similar situations. I personally take this show as a reminder that [it] is possible to achieve dreams beyond my own very imagination, as I’m sure it will serve a similar purpose to those who watch it.

What was the dynamic like between you, your castmates, and film crew? How did they make you feel? Were there particular moments on set that you’ll always remember?

The entire production crew and the cast have been an absolute dream to work with. I have no complaints about anyone, we are all respectful of each other’s time and space and I’ve bonded extremely well with every single one of my castmates. Everyone has taken me under their wing and given me advice and I feel like I’m the little brother of the production with me most times being the youngest on the set.

Can you give us a sneak peek of what we can expect from this show?

Expect a lot of Elon Musk-level technology with a Swift twist, family love and unity, and of course the family troubles and tribulations. It is very fun and playful with intense mission impossible-like moments every episode.

What films or shows and which filmmakers have been the most inspiring or influential to you and why?

Quentin Tarantino has always been a big inspiration of mine as the balance between drama and comedy is so keen in his films. The Cinematography in his films is a staple in his works and his ability to make a film belongs to him in terms of stylistic choice is remarkable. Steven Spielberg is another monumental name in the film industry and his works are truly outstanding, One of my favorites is Saving Private Ryan.

There couldn’t be a more perfect time to celebrate strong, diverse, and authentic characters on screen. What were the monumental life lessons, mistakes, and things you’ve learned in your acting career that you would like to share with aspiring or emerging actors, storytellers, and creatives in general?

I’ve come to learn a lot about the craft during my time as an actor. My number one rule is to not cheat yourself out of a potential opportunity or growth. Do not turn down an audition or avoid a difficult role because it doesn’t come naturally to you, work it and give it the effort that is needed to become that character. That is where true growth occurred for me.

The pandemic has greatly affected the entertainment industry. How did it affect your side of things?

Initially, I really struggled when the pandemic had just begun. However, the pandemic provided me with the time to really settle into who I was and what I wanted out of life. Had I not been forced to exist amongst myself without the amount of time that I had been I know for a fact that I would not be the person I am today. It was a healthy experience for me and I was faced with challenges that I had to look to within myself to overcome.

What kind of roles do you want to take on in the future?

I would love to play a character similar to that of James Bond or Frank from the film Catch Me If You Can. I would love to embody a character who carries a charm and charisma that is almost used as a weapon itself. While the idea of these two characters on the surface are polar opposites, one being a highly trained spy with a killer instinct and the other being a two-faced criminal, they both have these things in common: charisma, sophistication, grit, and genius.

What kind of legacy do you want to leave behind as an actor?

I want to be able to pull emotion out of an audience, and I want every character to feel as if they are meeting a completely different person when they watch my work. Whenever I watch my work I always think to myself “I can do more” and that is what motivates me to keep going.

What’s your advice to actors who want to break into the entertainment industry?

To any new actors looking to take a step into this industry, I advise you to relieve yourself of the fear of being judged. The only time you should ever be upset at yourself for performance is if you held back. If you give a performance everything you have and you know you did the work, you should be proud and know that you have grown because of it. It takes a lot of time and effort but if you are dedicated to the craft, you will see results. A lot of times the media will refer to overnight success stories, and while there certainly are some, most of the time these “overnight successes” have been working for years and years to get to where they are. Don’t give in and don’t be discouraged.

Do you have other upcoming projects you want to share with us?

Tom Swift is the project that I am currently working on and will air on May 31st on the CW!
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