Devon Blackmon Talks About His Role in 'Dayveon,' His First Ever

Devon Blackmon Talks About His Role in 'Dayveon,' His First Ever

The star's first film appearance landed him all the way in Sundance.

The star's first film appearance landed him all the way in Sundance.

Photography: Sharif Hamza

Styling: Ellie Grace Cumming

Devin Blackmon had never acted in a film before he landed the title role in Dayveon, a film about a young boy tempted to join the local Bloods gang after the shooting death of his older brother. In fact, he had never acted in anything before. His cousin, Lachion Buckingham, who is a producer on the project, introduced him to casting directors John Williams and Karmen Leech, who were looking to cast the role locally. Blackmon was 13, the same age as Dayveon, and born and raised in Little Rock. But unlike Dayveon, Blackmon has always been on the steady path to success. He plays basketball, and has been in the gifted and talented classes since elementary school. And, in turn, he aced the lead role in film that made it to Sundance.

Blackmon notes that he was nervous before the filming began, but was quickly put at ease by the crew. “They made me feel comfortable, like I’ve been here for a long time,” he said over the phone from Little Rock, where he is currently in high school — his grandmother, by the way, answered. To prepare for the role, the director, Amman Abbasi, had him watch films like Straight Out of Compton. On set, he told Blackmon to just act like himself — and when necessary, to follow his directions.

Dayveon is a kid easily swayed by the gangster lifestyle, but he is also someone comfortable being alone, with his own thoughts. Blackmon brings an innate confidence to the role. “The film is about how a boy lost his brother, and tries to be cool to hang with the big dogs, but when it gets down to serious things, he learns he isn’t really down with it, just wants to go home,” Blackmon says.

He knows kids like Dayveon at his school. He hopes that when they watch the film, they enjoy it, but also learn something from it. One lesson to be gleaned from Blackmon’s performance is that even at a young age, you have the strength to be your own person.

For now, Blackmon is concerned with next steps. He’s busy with theater classes at school, where he’s currently learning pantomime. “I’m just trying to focus, and put my eye towards where I can foresee in the future.”

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