Marlon Yates ('Straight Outta Compton')
'Talking Attitude with Marlon Yates!'
Smooth-talking heartthrob, and soon to be the breakout star of this summer's highly anticipated biopic of Ice Cube's 'STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON,' Marlon Yates portrays one of the legendary crew members in NWA known as "The D.O.C."
'STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON' shows the rise of NWA and their emergence from the streets of Compton in the mid-1980s, revolutionizing pop culture with their music and tales about life in the hood. 'STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON' is set to premiere August 13th, 2015.
A native of South Central Los Angeles, Marlon played football and basketball while being heavily recruited by top-notch colleges throughout his amateur career.
Following his underlying passion for the arts, he decided to pursue his interests in acting, studying in some of NYC and LA's top acting communities and was quickly booked for his first national campaign for K-Swiss. Marlon has since appeared in commercials for brands such as McDonalds, Nike, Hyundai and Timberland.
When he's not filming, Marlon enjoys playing video games and taking guitar lessons while staying fit with various forms of kickboxing and yoga. He lends his time philanthropically to his newly founded organization BCAA, where he looks to create after school programs and artistic outlets for youth in the inner city community.
I recently caught up with Marlon Yates, and first wondered what he had already known beforehand of the character he portrays, the legendary NWA crew member known as "The D.O.C."? "I actually didn't know much about NWA. Of course, I had heard about them, but I wasn't a fan. I soon became a fan during and after the film. They were amazing for being so young!"
And as for "The D.O.C." (Tracy Lynn Curry) himself, did you immerse yourself in Fila Fresh Crew and NWA music before and during filming to get your creative juices flowing, perhaps? "I definitely immersed myself into the music of NWA as soon as I got the call that I may be cast in the movie. I went right to Pandora and added NWA AND THE D.O.C as new stations to listen to."
Did you get to meet "The D.O.C." whilst you were filming, to enable you to get a feel for his mannerisms and such? "Yes, I met the D.O.C a few times on set, he told me he had watched a few of the dailies from set and he liked what he was seeing!"
NWA are widely considered to have been among the earliest and most significant popularizers of the gangsta rap and west coast hip hop subgenres, but having surrounded yourself with all that on set, is it the kind of music you yourself like to listen to on your own time also? "I grew up in the hood, so gangsta rap is what I pretty much grew up on! I am a huge Dr. Dre and Jay-Z fan."
Casting calls for 'Straight Outta Compton' began way back in the summer of 2010, the last set coming in early 2014, so where did your audition fit into that timeline? "I auditioned in April of 2014 and had originally gone in to play Dr. Dre. The next day I spoke to the director and he said, " Man, you might a little too handsome for the Dre role, but I have another role for you!” So they called me in 3 months later to test for THE D.O.C. and I did a chemistry read with the rest of the cast. The rest is history."
When your days of filming 'Straight Outta Compton' were done, what was the one thing that you learned about NWA and those times that you never knew before - and maybe surprised you to learn? "I learned that NWA were real life ROCKSTARS!"
Being that we're not called Exclusive Magazine for nothing, please reveal a little behind the scenes juicy tidbit of information about the filming of 'Straight Outta Compton' "A little behind the scenes action, hmmm, let's just say me and Jason Mitchell, who plays Eazy-E, really tried to live the rock star life for a little while."
It's been said that just seven days into filming that a drive-by shooting took place directly in front of the cast and crew members while they were on set! Were you there that day to witness this for yourself, perhaps? "That's not true, it was a few blocks away and I wasn't there that day."
Another actor I have interviewed for 'Straight Outta Compton' was Allen Maldonado, who plays "Al." Did you happen to hang with him at all whilst on set, and if not, who did you find yourself hanging with the most - and what did you usually get up to? "I didn’t cross paths with Allen Maldonado, but the person I really clicked with was the actor portraying Eazy-E, we became like brothers. We still hang out to this day. We did everything together!"
Being that this is your first film role, you have still managed to land a fair few TV commercials beforehand - K-Swiss, McDonalds, Nike, Timberland, etc. So, what's next for you? "What’s next for me, not sure yet but I hope it's something as big as SOC!!!! I have a made for TV film coming out in June on TV-One, so I’m excited to have multiple projects happening."
Your Twitter feed is updated on a very regular basis, but are you really such a "Tweeter," or is that done for you?! "I tweet very randomly, but I think I might be addicted to Instagram. Pictures are worth a thousand words!"
You are big into Yoga, a guru of sorts, so being that I've had three (3) back surgeries (L3-L5), have bad circulation in my left foot, sometimes get tingles in my right foot, and a lot of days get out of bed hunched over needing pills and a coffee stat, what positions in yoga would be of help to me? "I wouldn't consider myself a guru just yet, but I would suggest you find a really great teacher. Someone really patient, that's older and wiser will teach you the proper alignments for your body and techniques to help you release the pain. At one point, I had really bad knees and a friend of mine introduced me to a yoga guru who has changed my life and mentality and really helped my knees heal tremendously!"
Finally, and yes, we ask everyone this very same question, we here at Exclusive Magazine LOVE penguins! So, we would like to know if you do also, and/or if you have a personal story about one/some? "I'm not a big fan of birds for one specific reason. I once bought a hat in San Francisco. When I walked out the store and I was putting it on, and a bird pooped on top of my hat. But other than that, I think they are very interesting!"
Interviewed by: Russell A. Trunk
'Straight Outta Compton' - Trailer
Marlon Yates @ Twitter