In This Issue
Actor Marcus Scribner, 22, has played the role of the loveable goofball Andre Johnson, Jr. on black-ish since he was 13. As the historic series comes to an end, in after its eight season, the young actor reflects on the show’s impact on himself and the TV landscape.
“Everything just felt so surreal,” Scribner tells EBONY about hearing that this season would be the series final curtain call. “It's insane that this is one of the first big things that I've ever been able to be a part of. It's such a smash hit and brings so much of the culture into the world. It's just crazy seeing it come to a close.”
One thing Scribner says he will miss the most is the cast and crew, who have become a second family for him since the series' pilot episode in 2014.
“I've been on a couple projects since then. And I've never had the immediate connection that I did when jumping onto black-ish,” said Scribner. “I think we all just immediately bonded with each other. It was kind of natural and second nature. We built that family dynamic almost immediately.”
Scribner says the synergy is strengthened during table reads of the script. It’s a signature team builder for any production, but like most of everything in Hollywood, COVID-19 threw a curveball. Because of pandemic precautions, nearly all of season eight’s table reads were done via video chat.
“There's nothing like feeling the energy in the room and really getting to respond to your fellow castmate’s facial expressions, and there's just a certain energy when you're actually in the room.”
Thankfully, the team was brought back together for the finale episode table read. And there wasn’t a dry eye in the room. He shares that it was a very sad day, but also a happy one at the same time.
“I did end up crying on the final day,” admits Scribner. “But on the final table read, I looked over and I saw Miles Brown (Jack Johnson) crying. He had a single tears streaming down and it was enough to make me break down.”
Scribner’s acting career started when he was just 7-years-old, but starring in the ABC sitcom put him on the map. He says working with acting veterans like Anthony Anderson, Tracie Ellie Ross, Laurence Fishburne and Jennifer Lewis helped shape his own craft.
“When you're surrounded by so many people who are just absolute legends in the industry, you just try to soak up as much as possible,” said Scribner. "I feel like over time you get into a rhythm and you really start to understand and pick up little tips and tricks. Like ‘oh, that's how you bring emotion to the scene or how you do you prep work and how you really think about the slices of life and the moments before.’ It's just a like a lot of things that I gleaned over time and I feel like have amalgamated in the person and actor that I am today.”
As Scribner closes one chapter on Black-Ish, he starts a new one on Freeform’s Grown-Ish, joining his on-screen sister Yara Shahidi for season five of the black-ish college spin-off. Plot details are still under wraps, but Scribner teased growth for Junior. We can expect more depth for his character as the pressures of college and young adult life mount.
“It's just a very different approach for Junior, who has always been a very happy go lucky, sort of naive individual. "I think this is definitely going to grow him up," said Scribner. “I feel like in this new series he really gets to stretch his legs. And we get to see him as a real human being instead of just the brother who hits with the jokes. We are fleshing out his identity, which I'm really excited about. We've got a very different take on his journey, but still maintaining those lovable aspects about the character. So flipping the whole thing on its head is really exciting for me.”
Scribner is also looking forward to flipping scripts and developing projects under his new media company Scribner Productions, a partnership with his father Troy. The two are currently optioning scripts and eyeing novels to adapt that will elevate young Black voices.
“I love fantasy, and I love sci-fi and things like that. We never get any love in that department,” said Scribner. “Why can't we have our Black version of The Lord of the Rings or Star Wars?”
With his media footprint growing, Scribner is set to become a cultural disruptor in Hollywood, putting Black stories front and center.
"There are just so many avenues to create your own way and build your own path. I feel like I'm interested in a lot of stories that aren't traditionally offered to African American people. I want to be able to create the stories that I want to see,” he adds.