Brooks Darnell Preview His New Hallmark Christmas Movie, Talks His Time on Y&R, Upcoming Projects and More!

Photo: Tommy Flanagan

Brooks Darnell, actor, model, producer, photographer. Brooks Darnell, easy-going, creative, athletic, talented and good looking. We Are Entertainment News (our sister site) had a fun time speaking with him. We discussed an array of subjects, seamlessly going from one topic to another. We learned some really cool and interesting tidbits. The time just flew by and there was still much more we wanted to ask. We suspect we merely scratched the surface of the multi-layered, Mr. Darnell. But rest assured we discovered some great stuff!

What’s in a name? In Brooks’ case a lot. Born Darnell B. Rodgers, Brooks’ fate was fore written that he would be either an athlete or an actor. Brooks, also his father’s nickname, came from the late baseball hall of famer, Brooks Robinson. The name Darnell also comes from Brooks’ father. Brooks’ grandmother named her son (Brooks’ father) after her favorite actress, Linda Darnell. 
“My name is tied to my athletic background and to my artistic talents as well. I was destined to be either an athlete or an actor and I grew up doing both.” Growing up Brooks played football, baseball, taekwondo, basketball, and gymnastics plus he performed in the arts; acting, singing (R&B and in the gospel choir) and dancing (his favorites were Michael Jackson and Bobby Brown). Here are a few fun facts from Brooks’ dancing and singing “careers.”
**Brooks would go to school sporting full dress suits. He would wear the same type of suit that Bobby Brown wore in the Don’t Be Cruel video. Yes, he did. His fellow jocks had a field day with it. LOL.
**The gospel choir Brooks sang in traveled and performed in Ohio’s large gospel circuit. Their choir opened for award-winning gospel artist, Donnie McClurkin. 
**When Brooks met John Legend at an event, they discovered they sang at the same gospel concert when they were younger. So cool!
It was at the age of sixteen when Brooks became confident enough in his acting abilities to consider a career in acting. He began performing at NYC showcase competitions and placed third among over four hundred monologue contestants which won him an invitation to study at the prestigious Conservatory Theatre School in San Francisco. However, Brooks, who was also a good student, elected to accept a football scholarship at Indiana University where he attended and studied pre-med. “When I was sixteen, I made a conscious effort to start trying to figure out what I wanted to do. At that time, I didn’t know much about acting. I didn’t know you could go to school for it. I didn’t know all the avenues that were available so I gravitated toward what I knew. I gravitated toward sports. It wasn’t until later that I fully committed to pursuing acting.” 
Brooks left higher education after two and a half years to pursue acting. Before working in the industry full time, he worked as a barber, trainer and in security. He then moved to Canada and kicked up his pursuit a few notches. For the next seven or so years, Brooks really honed in on the craft, he; studied, attended classes, studied with acting coaches, attended plays and performed in the theater. His dedication and efforts paid off when Brooks landed his first major role in the film, Total Recall.  Brooks’ next major role was as “Charlie” in the international TV series phenomenon, Shadow Hunters. Next, he played Dr. Nate Hastings on the soap opera, The Young and the Restless

We have heard more than a few times that actors can face a few challenges when making the transition from working in film, theater and/or primetime to working on a soap opera due to the significant amount of dialogue and the rapid pace of production in daytime. This was not the case for Brooks. “It wasn’t a difficult transition for me when I started working on The Young and the Restless. I was born with a gift to retain lines and my theatrical training helped too. In theater, you have an abundance of lines and there are no retakes. So, in some aspects, I found it easier.”
Brooks played Nate Hastings for a year. His last air date was in March of this year. His career hasn’t missed a beat. He shared with us the awesome projects he has coming up including a television movie premiering next month. It is that time of year again when all of the networks are gearing up for their annual holiday programming. Hallmark, who is known for producing some of the holiday’s premier programming, is back at it this year. Hallmark is celebrating its 10th Anniversary of ‘Countdown to Christmas’ on The Hallmark Channel. And the Hallmark Movies and Mysteries Channel is featuring the ‘Miracles of Christmas.’ Across both networks, Hallmark’s celebration includes forty new titles including A Christmas Miracle.

A Christmas Miracle stars Brooks alongside Tamera Mowry-Housley (The Real). The movie tells the story of ‘Markus’ (Brooks), a creatively stifled hotshot working at a trendy magazine company as a photographer who is looking to move on to something new. The company has hired a new girl ‘Emma’ (Tamera) to help bring in new and fresh ideas for the magazine. As the office “grinch,” ‘Markus’ is hesitant to be a team player and accept the new higher until he sees her ideas being claimed by someone else at the company. Coming together and growing closer as they continue to work together, ‘Markus’ with the help of ‘Emma’ discovers the true meaning and importance of the holidays.

I, like millions of people, watched Tamera and her twin sister, Tia, on their popular show Sister, Sister in the ’90s and have supported and followed both of their careers ever since. We asked Brooks about working with Tamera and about his experience with the movie overall. “The experience was amazing. I watched Sister, Sister like everyone else so I was excited to have the chance to work with Tamera. You know, I wanted to sing the theme song from the show so bad but I held back.” Laughter. “We clicked right away. We had a very good time filming and you guys will see the chemistry. Everything you will see; how much we laugh, how fun it is, all of it, is genuine. We had a blast.”
One of the things Brooks loves most about the film is that it is a Christmas movie with a bit of everything else. “It has everything for everyone. It’s a Christmas movie, which everyone loves, and there’s also drama and tension with lots of love and laughter. I think viewers will be intrigued by it.” 
We were intrigued to learn Brooks is producing a feature with prequel and sequel potential. He and his team are in the process of “nailing down a location in Russia” for filming. And Brooks is also working on his own art series “I’m also a street photographer. I’m currently shooting a series that will be displayed in a gallery. And soon I will begin putting a lot of my art on Instagram.” Exciting!

As we said, Brooks is keeping it moving. He is actively broadening his career while simultaneously building toward the future he envisions for himself. “In the next five to ten years, I would love to see myself leading an action film franchise like Hobbs and Shaw and Fast and Furious. Total Recall hooked me. I fell in love with the action genre of film making. I love the special effects, the action, and the costumes. I can see myself doing it for the next 30 years. Tom Cruise is the best example of what I’d like to do.”

In Brooks’ crystal ball, he also sees Broadway in his future and dropped another big name to depict his ambitions. “I’d like to do Broadway and do what Denzel Washington did when he bought the rights of August Wilson’s 10-play, The Pittsburgh Cycle, to produce for HBO. I’d like to do something in a similar vein. It’s so important to bring those kinds of stories to light. It’s important to bring black stories to light and it is just as important to bring multicultural stories to the forefront. I want to do international stories beyond the United States.”

An essential key to life is to have clear and specific goals along with keeping an open mind to life’s continual taste tests of new opportunities. Brooks had his first taste of being a romantic lead and it tasted good to him. “I didn’t feel this way before shooting A Christmas Miracle because I hadn’t had any experience. But now the thought of doing more romantic leads is very appealing to me. It’s fun and relaxing and although in a very different way it was just as fulfilling as Total Recall.” 

Action films, romantic leads, Broadway and there was one other thing Brooks spoke about that he wants to see in his future. Sam Cooke. There is the possibility he could play the renowned singer, civil activist, and songwriter in a Sam Cooke biopic. Take a second and visualize it. Can’t you just totally see it?  We absolutely can

We spent our remaining time nudging Brooks to join the Twittersphere. He joined Instagram last year and joining Twitter is on his to-do list. It’s just with his busy schedule he, “just hasn’t gotten to it yet.” We then nudged him a little harder to join Twit so he can live tweet, A Christmas Miracle, with us. So, if you see him on Instagram and have a moment give him an extra nudge to join Twitter! LOL. 

Thanks a bunch, Brooks for talking to us.
Mark your calendars and watch A Miracle Christmas on the Hallmark Movie & Mysteries Channel on Thursday, November 14 at 9 PM EST!
Keep an eye out for Brooks’ art series on Instagram!
Brooks, we will see you soon on Twitter, right?

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