The guys star in the new YouTube Red movie Alexander IRL, which is about two brothers who are left home alone and must come together to achieve their goals.
Alexander (Rivera) decides to throw a legendary house party to win friends and woo his crush, while his brother EJ (Nathan Kress) wants to use the party to impress his venture capitalist boss by building a mobile app to get kids unglued from their phones.
We caught up with Brent and Marcus to talk about the film and “unplugging” from social media every once in a while.
“Yes, I actually try and do that,” Brent told us. “I obviously have to, and want to, keep my followers involved in what I do in my life, but at the same time I do take breaks, I do have time for myself. I recently just went to San Francisco with six of my friends and we just kind of took three days and just did whatever in San Francisco which was pretty fun. So I definitely try and get away from my phone and live inside “in real life.” [Laughing] IRL baby! Wooo!
Marcus told JJJ, “Yeah taking time to unplug is super important and I think I make sure to do that every time I get home. I just take a few moments to chill or take a nap. Sleep is actually my hobby, it’s so fun to sleep. So I definitely take time to hang out with my dog, chill with my friends, talk to my family members sometimes [Laughing]. So yeah, taking time to unplug is something that’s important to me.”
Alexander IRL premieres on Wednesday, January 11 on YouTube Red!
Click inside to read our full interview with Brent and Marcus…
JJJ: How did you guys meet and what were your first impressions of each other?
Brent: We first met when…wait, did we meet before we started the movie?
Marcus: I think we had maybe met once before for a brief period.
Brent: Yeah, I think we met a little bit before but then we actually met officially right before we started filming the movie. And it was a blast actually working with Marcus, he’s such a funny guy and he cracks jokes whenever he can, and he’s just super awesome.
Marcus: Meeting Brent for the first time was super cool, he’s a super nice guy. I didn’t know what to expect when first going in to meet him, and I think that he probably had mutual feelings. And getting to get in and meet him and realize that we have very similar personalities, super laid back, super chill, it was super cool getting to meet somebody who’s just like me. So it was cool to get to hang out with him and chill and just have a good time.
JJJ: Did you do anything before or during filming to bond as friends on-and-off screen?
Brent: I mean, not really anything that we set up. It was just more natural, and we kind of just bonded right when we met, and it was like that with the whole cast too. We played pranks on each other, we did funny stuff to each other, and like all this crazy stuff on set too that just made us closer.
Marcus: I feel like, exactly what Brent said, I feel that we naturally bonded as we began to film more and more and just got to hang out with the entire cast. It was just so much fun getting to hang out with people my age who were doing the same thing, just acting and having a good time. I think we just bonded naturally as filming progressed, and didn’t really set up anything fake or just like “Oh we’re all going to go to the arcade now! We’re going to have a good time and eat some pizza real quick!” [Laughing] If that did happen it was naturally, nothing set up by our director and producers so it was just super cool to have a natural bonding experience.
JJJ: What made you want to play these roles and take on this project in particular?
Brent: Well, for me, I do social media and post videos online, and this was definitely something new to me. Rob Fishman reached out to me, and I’ve worked with him for a couple of years, and he reached out to me and had this project that he wanted me to be a part of. After hearing it, I was really, really excited and I knew that I had to take this opportunity, so we started doing it and I think it turned out fantastic.
Marcus: I really think this movie has a really positive message to all those teens out there who are maybe struggling with who they are or trying to fit in, and it really lets you know that everybody has a place in this world, and that everybody can have a good time and just really have the best teen experience that you can have. And I feel that that’s what our characters finally discover when we throw this radical party. I feel like radical’s a word from the 90s, but that’s really the only way to describe it, because it was just like so lit. So I guess that lit is probably a better term to describe it, but getting to play Darius was amazing because I feel like he’s such a relatable character. He’s somebody where we all either have the friend, and if you don’t have the friend you are the friend who is Darius. So I feel that Darius is a super cool character, and he’s just really cool.
JJJ: What is your most memorable moment from set?
Brent: For me, my most memorable moment would probably have to be the two kissing scenes I had on camera. I’ve never done that before on camera. In my video’s I’ve had people kiss, but never myself, so this is definitely a new experience for me. You know, having people watch you kiss someone is a little awkward, but I moved past it.
Marcus: [laughing] I think my favorite part on set was getting to work with Bo [Mitchell] and Brent was pretty awesome. And at the time, the song “Panda” was like just coming out and to hype ourselves up before every scene, especially like the dance scenes, we’d just scream “BRRRAH!” at the top of our lungs, and it was just so fun, and to just relate to everybody and have a good time was super cool. [Laughing] I feel like having a good time is a theme that’s just present throughout the filming of Alexander IRL.
JJJ: Brent, are you interested in doing more acting? What was it like stepping into your first acting role?
Brent: Well, stepping into my first acting role was definitely one of the best things I’ve ever done. It was a great experience, and I’ve learned so much from doing this movie. And I am definitely interested in doing more acting. You know, I’ve acted in my little videos and my skits and stuff and it just gave me more interest, and especially with this movie it’s given me a lot of interest in acting, mainstream like this movie, and I think it’s a cool thing. I’ve learned so much from all the characters and all the actors and producers and stuff, and so I’m definitely really, really interested in it and it could possibly be something that I really want to do in the future.
JJJ: Marcus, how does your character differ from Andre on Black-ish? Who are you most like?
Marcus: I feel like Darius and Andre definitely have a bunch of similarities in the fact that they’re both very interested in computers. Darius loves programming and coding, Andre Jr. also loves those same things, so I feel like they’re definitely very similar characters but at the same time they’re pretty different because I feel like Andre on Black-ish, he’s not as harsh as Darius. Darius tells it how it is to people’s faces, and doesn’t care what people thinks, whereas Andre’s going to think about it a little bit more and take everyone’s opinions to heart. So I think that Darius is definitely very harsh in comparison to Andre, but then he learns to have fun and have a good time through the creation of the app in our movie and just unplugging and getting to experience real life and have a party and hang out with other people his age instead of just being on his computer. So I feel like the characters definitely vary, but in certain ways I feel like I have aspects in me that are like Andre Jr., and in certain ways I feel like I have aspects in me like Darius. I really like telling people how I actually feel, which is definitely a characteristic of Darius, but at the same time I do care about people’s feelings and care about how other people are feeling. So I feel like I am similar to both characters in different ways.