When Jamaican dancehall artiste Shenseea released the music video for her single titled Run in July, it featured the singer getting revenge on an ex played by Trinidad born US-based actor Darrius Marcellin.
For Marcellin, 35, the role was just the latest highlight in an acting career he has been meticulously building over the last six years.
Marcellin told Newsday, “When last I checked, that video had over 5,000,000 views on YouTube.
“I remember my agent called and told me that there’s an artiste by the name of Shenseea who wanted me to be the lead role in her music video.
“I said, ‘If she’s from the Caribbean, best believe I am going to do it.’”
When the music video was filmed in May, Marcellin worked with Christian Breslauer, who is best known for creating music videos for artistes like The Weeknd, Lil Nas X, Marshmello, Doja Cat, Roddy Ricch, Jonas Brothers and Bebe Rexha.
“To get to work with Christian and see how he shoots was just really cool, because he was so laid back. He commended my ability to understand what the concept was and execute it with not having to do (many) takes. Working with Shen was really cool, and she is a really cool girl.
“Since then, a lot of different Caribbean outlets have reached out to see if I was willing to work on different things.”
The experience reminded Marcellin that his risky decision in 2017 to trade his comfortable life in New York for an uncertain one in Los Angeles was paying off.
Born and raised in San Juan, Marcellin went to St Mary’s College, Port of Spain, where he played Intercol football. At times, heplayed matches against the likes of Kenwyne Jones and Julius James.
“I always had very big dreams. As a young kid I would always imagine myself entertaining or being on the big stage. I was always looking to create what we would call ‘content’ today.
“I just remember as a little boy I would imagine myself in Madison Square Garden and stuff like that.”
But little did Marcellin know that a sports scholarship he would get in 2015, for playing football at St Mary’s, would bring him closer to this dream.
“I had many scholarship offers, but I always wanted to go to New York, because my mom lived there. I chose St Francis College in New York, which was the only Division One School closest to the city.
“I started business management studies at the college in 2006, because I always had an entrepreneurship mindset. Yes, I had dreams of playing professional soccer, but business was something that was a natural skillset.”
In college, Marcellin would experiment with creating a business of his own and in 2017 he created an entertainment company called TTR Group in 2007 with his friend Troy Gordon.
While the company was a blend of his love for business and entertainment, it was also a way to earn a living.
“At the time, in 2006/2007, professional soccer players in America weren’t earning that much money, so I thought to myself that I wanted to provide a good living for myself.
“When I first moved to New York, I didn’t have that much money. So I was cleaning homes and tutoring people to make a living.”
With the company, Marcellin hosted numerous events across New York City and by 2015 the company had made profits over US$500,000.
But Marcellin was also saving some of the company’s profits and exposure to make his leap into the entertainment world.
“Me following that journey of my entrepreneurship opened doors for me to start my acting career and do something that was a passion of mine.
“Starting this company, working really hard at it and becoming well-known – not only in New York, but across America and across the world – it was something that afforded me the luxury of paying for my acting classes.”
In 2015, he started classes with Susan Batson, an acting coach known for working with the likes of Lady Gaga, Nicole Kidman and Oprah Winfrey.
“Those acting classes were life-changing, and it changed my life to today, because the technique in which we learned how to act had a lot to do with feeling things within your soul and spirit.
“Any time you picked up a script, it was so that you can feel what that character on paper felt.
“Those classes were very impactful, because now I can go up on any stage and be vulnerable.”
But after finishing his studies with Batson, Marcellin didn’t aim for acting on the big screen right away.
Like when he first created his entertainment company, Marcellin wanted to work his way up and earn a living in the process. So some of his earliest acting gigs included off-Broadway shows and acting in minor roles on TV shows like Law and Order.
“While I was on set shooting an episode for a show called Pandora’s Box in 2017, I was getting makeup done for the role of a police and the makeup artist looked at me and said that I would have done well in LA.
“Something came over me after that and I decided to book a one-way ticket to LA.
“I packed up all my stuff and took all my savings to move to LA to pursue my dreams as an actor.”
That year, Marcellin made the risky decision of packing up his comfortable life in New York and moving to Hollywood where he currently lives.
When he first moved, he quickly realised to establish a career in the city was much less idyllic than he envisioned.
He first tasked himself with messaging over 200 agents and managers in hopes of finding someone who could have helped him make the right connections. But only three people replied.
“I found a manager, his name was Chris Giovanni, who helped me build my career up.
“He thought me things like developing my business profile and look to fit LA.”
Soon after Marcellin signed with a talent agency and booked a Lexus TV commercial.
The role may not have sounded much to Marcellin but he soon learned the benefits of doing commercials.
“The commercial aired for two years, and I didn’t know much about the commercial world, but that one job landed me over six figures. The commercial showed everywhere, and every time the commercial showed, I got paid. So I made over $100,000 on that one commercial.
“From there I started to develop my commercial career, because I realised you can make a lot of money from doing TV commercials.”
To date, he has done over 100 TV commercials in the US.
Marcellin also appeared a 2019 Netflix romantic comedy, Always a Bridesmaid, which starred Emmy-nominated actress Yvette Nicole Brown.
He also recently filmed a role in a new Disney Plus show and a football-themed movie. Little Angeles. produced by Dean Cain. who played Superman in Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman. The movie is carded to be released in 2022.
“Growing up, I saw him (Cain) on TV acting as Superman. and when he called me on the phone to be a part of his movie because he knew I played soccer, it was awesome.”
For Marcellin, the experience of creating his acting career is one he wouldn’t change. and now he wants to help other young people achieve their goals.
In 2020, he set up a new company, Ultrain Sports, to help coach and mentor young football players. He recently connected with a US billionaire who invested US$500,000 in the company.
“My goal is to also start my own movie production company from this, where I could create movie and TV shows for people like myself and for people who are underdogs to have a chance to tell stories. Deep down inside, everyone has greatness and that ability to reach heights to make everyone proud.
“Sometimes I look at myself and I remember that some days I would have to be toting buckets down in San Juan, but I always kept dreaming.”
Marcellin last visited TT in 2018 for Carnival with his friend South African comedian and television host Trevor Noah. The two became friends while Marcellin lived in New York.
“I was just talking to him (Trevor) about Carnival, and he said, ‘When things open back, we have to come back again for Carnival.’”
You can keep up with Marcellin on Instagram @darriusmarcellin