Sarunas Jackson on ‘Insecure’ and ‘Games People Play’

Sarunas J. Jackson poses in the press room at the 2019 BET Awards at Microsoft Theater on June 23, 2019, in Los Angeles, Calif. Liliane Lathan/Getty Images for BET

Sarunas Jackson is becoming a household name with his roles on Insecure, Good Trouble and Games People Play.

On HBO’s Insecure, Jackson plays fan favourite Dro, who is happily married to Candice. But they are in an open relationship, so he is also sleeping with Molly.

Global News sat down with Jackson in Toronto to talk about Insecure, Games People Play and Good Trouble.

READ MORE: Issa Rae on ‘Insecure’ Season 3, Drake and Toronto culture

Global News: Dro is definitely a fan favourite on Insecure. How has your experience been playing that character?
Sarunas Jackson: It’s the biggest blessing for my career because that’s what’s gotten me to where I’m at now. There’s continued blessings that stemmed. I love it because it forces conversation about certain things. I’m a person that’s not necessarily like a traditionalist so I’m accepting to whatever works for people works for people. And I’m happy to be a part of the character that forces that conversation for others too. It kind of aligns with what I believe.

Everyone loves Molly and Dro together.
Yeah, I know!

Do you feel a lot of pressure from that? Every time an episode of Insecure airs people go crazy on Twitter about you two.
Community watching is what I call it. It kind of reminds you of back in the day before there’s a lot of social media and streaming services. If your show came on Thursday at 7 p.m., everybody watches at the same time because that’s the only time you can really watch it. When people watch the show on Sundays our phones are blowing up. It’s exciting. I love it.

During Season one, were you team Daniel or team Lawrence?
OK so, I like both the brothers right, shout out to Y’lan (Noel) and Jay (Ellis). But I’ve always been considered the ambassador of the Lawrence Hive. I will say I was Team Lawrence.

I was team Daniel because Issa left Lawrence to be happy with Daniel.
And then left Daniel (laughing). Their storylines were very intriguing and I’ve been both those guys. I’ve been a little bit of everybody to be honest so I think everybody has and that’s why we get such investment from people.

I interviewed Issa Rae last May and she told me she has a lot of creative control with HBO which is awesome. Have you had any say over the things Dro does?
The thing is the writing is so good, you don’t really need to do much. As far as my acting choices, I’m not limited and none of us are. That is why I love working on this show. You’re able to do your thing and you’ve got a lot of hype. Natasha Rothwell, who plays Kelly, improvises so much because she’s such a genius. They keep a lot of it. There’s some things that I’ve improvised that they kept too. I was happy that they did. They’re very open and because HBO gives a lot of creative control to Issa, you get what you get.

How does Dro differ from Isaac on Good Trouble?
I will say they do have a lot of the same beliefs. The main difference is that Dro’s in a relationship where his wife wanted an open relationship. And Isaac comes from a home where he’s never seen that before. Monogamy is his thing. But both characters are committed to their partner. That’s all that matters is that you respect and commit to your partner. I think those are similar but the only difference is that Dro is willing to explore.

How was your experience been working with BET for Games People Play?
It’s been fun because that’s my first lead in a show. I’ve had big roles and recurring parts in shows but as far as a lead, it’s big. And to work beside Lauren London is great. And working with Jackie Long, Karen Obilom and Parker McKenna posey has been great. I love all of them. The events we get to do with BET are fun.

It’s almost like you and Jay [Ellis] switched. He was on The Game on BET where he was dating Lauren London in the show and now you’re on BET on a different show dating Lauren London.
Exactly (laughing). That’s funny!
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What’s next for you in 2019?
I’m focusing more on developing my own stuff like films. I’m working with Toronto native Stephan James on stuff. Right now we’re still finishing Good Trouble. I have a podcast with Nick Young a.k.a Swaggy P called Uninterrupted on Spotify. I’m also working on another film project that I’m working on with my boy Jidenna.

(This interview has been edited and condensed.)


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