Marcus Scribner is just 15, but he’s a busy guy. Not only is he starring on the popular ABC comedy black-ish, he’s one of the star-studded voices in the animated movie The Good Dinosaur, and he, along with his castmates, have become red carpet and talk show fixtures. He talked to us on a Sunday, his self-described ‘chill day.’ Here’s what he had to say about how he’s different than his TV character and why education is important to him.
BAW: How do you balance school, the show, and your regular off camera life?
It is tough, especially when we’re going into black-ish we film for like 9 and a half hours. It feels like work but we have such a good time. I usually have to do schoolwork for about 3 and a half hours, and then when I get home I do more homework. It’s a tough balance but when you do it for a while, I think you get it down pat. Now, it’s a routine I do every day and it runs smoothly. I do an an online school program, but I hang out with my friends sometime and I to go to parties and stuff. I have a pretty normal life.
What are the major differences between Andre and Marcus?
Oh, there definitely are some major differences. We have similarities like video games and comic books and stuff like that. Andre Jr. is definitely a bigger klutz than me and doesn’t know as much about the world going on around him. That’s what makes him an amazing character to play because I get to experience these aspects without having to experience them in real life.
So what you’re saying is that you’re not quite as nerdy as Andre Jr.
I wouldn’t say as nerdy. Just gullible and klutzy. (Laughs) Because I’m a pretty big nerd.
You guys are obviously actors but you come across very much as a real-life family.
Like any group of random strangers meeting each other for the first time, it’s really hard to feel like a family. But it happened really quickly. By the end of filming the pilot episode, I already felt comfortable. Then the dynamics just grew as we went on and I think we really discovered our own characters and are able to play together and have a good time while acting.
Is it just as much fun on the set as it looks to us watching from home?
Yeah, I would say so. We have a great time. We have a lot of competitions – We do singing and dancing competitions and each scene goes on for like 15 minutes afterwards because we do so much improv. It’s a really creative environment that I’m blessed to be in.
Is Deon Cole, the guy that plays Charlie, just as crazy in real life?
He’s a real chill guy. We just had to film and episode with him and it was a ton of fun. He’s not really like his character so that just goes to show you he’s a great actor to play someone so different from how he really is.
I’ve heard that Tracee Ellis Ross and Anthony Anderson are funny on and off set. But what about Larry Fishburne? Is he a funny guy when cameras aren’t rolling?
Laurence is hilarious. Anytime he is on set it’s a dream come true. He’s brings so much to the table that you can play with and just have a great time. He gives us so much wisdom as well because he’s been around so long. He’s just as funny off set.
You and the other actors who play the siblings seem so compatible – does that work to your advantage off set? Do you really have time to hang out with each other?
Over the weekends we usually socialize at events and parties so over the weekends we’re all hanging out together. We socialize a lot with each other going to events and just partying sometimes. Sometimes we go on vacation together and stuff like that, so it’s pretty cool.
Your parents are very supportive of your career. Are you biracial?
Well, my mother is half-Black and my father is Black so I’m a quarter white. My grandmother is from England.
What led you to get into acting?
I was an extremely shy and my mother wanted to get me out there and see what I wanted to do. I took one acting class and I was nervous to go but I really feel in the craft and I enjoyed it. I just kept going to acting classes and auditioning and improving my craft and that led me to black-ish.
As a young man, how did you deal with the rejection?
I just kept it pushing. (laughs) I was like “Oh, well, we didn’t get this one.’ It’s just important to stick with the auditioning, bring your own flair to it and try to get better next time.
How have your parents prepared you to avoid the pitfalls that other child stars have dealt with in the past?
I think what will set me apart is education. I’m really focused on school. School comes first even before acting. Acting is a hobby. I’m really looking forward to going to college and getting a degree in Journalism so that way I actually have another career path in case I go down that road. But I’m hoping to do acting for the rest of my life because that’s what makes me happy.
I recommend sticking with acting and not journalism. Regardless, you plan to go to college and get a degree but you want to continue acting.
I want to continue on the path of an acting career because acting is what I enjoy the most but I also enjoy reading and history. Majoring in something in college that has something to do with that would be awesome.
What do you and your parents do to protect your money? Most teenagers, if they have a job, are working at Footlocker or something like that, but I’d guess you’re doing better than that.
I don’t really think about it like that, but I guess so. Most of the money I make is put away for college and I get an allowance that I can buy video games and sneakers with. Mostly Nikes and Air Jordans. I want the classic Jordan 1’s. I have like the remake version right now.
Is there anything you want to get once you get of age?
I haven’t figured it out that far ahead, but maybe a car.
What else will we see Andre Jr. do throughout this season?
A lot of important topics that I think we handle very well by added flashes of comedy and having a good time with them. And we have some great guest stars and more development for my character, including romances as well.