Pop-Culturalist Chats with Brandon Larracuente
Earlier this year, Brandon Larracuente left audiences speechless (and heartbroken) with his honest portrayal as Jeff Atkins in the breakout hit, 13 Reasons Why. It’s a performance so stunning, it made him a household name. Since then, he’s starred in projects including Baywatch and the upcoming (and highly-anticipated) Netflix film, Bright. Currently, he’s playing Dominic, the sensitive and caring boyfriend to Lauren, in the Verizon’s go90 and Awesomeness collaboration, Versus. It’s a show that follows two rival lacrosse players who are forced to play on the same team for a summer tournament, and one with an important message to young girls about the benefits of playing sports. Pop-Culturalist spoke with Brandon about the role, why he’s such a strong advocate for female empowerment, and why he’s inspired by adversity.
P-C: Tell us about Versus and the important message it’s instilling in young adults, especially young women.
Brandon: The whole purpose of the show is its message of female empowerment, and it’s coming to viewers at such an important time. Roles are changing in our society now and luckily women are feeling more empowered. We support women 100% and that’s what the show is about. The great thing about this series is there’s a whole campaign about women in sports and how they empower each other, and men can also empower women as well! It’s a show for everybody.
P-C: Can you tell us about your character and how he’s woven into the storyline?
Brandon: I play Dominic. He’s Lauren’s boyfriend (Lauren being played by Maddie McCormick). She gets placed on a summer team with all her rivals and she turns to Dominic for support and to vent, and I encourage her to play nice. She’s skeptical about the team and my character tells her to stay tough. She also lives in a home with her sister and her sister’s daughter, and I kind of help out around the house. I work at my family’s restaurant and I try and help Lauren whenever possible.
P-C: Like you just said, your character is a support system for Lauren, who was that for you growing up?
Brandon: My parents! They were a huge support system for me. No matter what I needed or what goal I was trying to accomplish, they always supported my decision.
P-C: How will Dominic’s relationship with Lauren develop throughout the series?
Brandon: The fans will get to see the ups and downs that they go through, like any relationship, and through everything they’re stronger together as one. The relationship is able to get through any problem that comes in its way.
P-C: How did you and Maddie build that bond?
Brandon: It’s funny, I never met her. We were suppose to meet before we started filming, but I was filming something else, so we met the first day on set. She was so warm and welcoming, and it made my job a lot easier. Of course, we got closer and closer as we continued to film. She’s fantastic to work with and I couldn’t ask for a better castmate.
P-C: Gatorade, g090, and Awesomeness are focused on creating content that inspires a generation. What inspires you?
Brandon: I’m inspired by other people that I look up to, whether that’s another actor or actress. I love reading about the adversity that they’ve overcome. It’s a reminder that we all experience hard times, but it’s important to continue to be persistent and continue to move forward, you’re bound to reach the goal you set.
P-C: Did you grow up a lot of sports and how did that shape the person you are today?
Brandon: I did! I was so competitive and super hard on myself. Growing up, I played baseball and football, and my dad pushed me to never settle for anything less than what you deserve. There would be times when I gave up on myself and he would continue to believe in me and push me to the peak of my performance. That’s transitioned into my career as an actor. I’m always tough on myself and expect to do my best, and if I don’t do that, then I figure out how I can go about it differently.
P-C: You have a young fanbase, thanks partly to 13 Reasons Why. How mindful are you of them when you select projects?
Brandon: Versus approached me for this project and it’s one that I really connected with. Firstly, I’m incredibly passionate about female empowerment, and secondly, the script was great and so were the people involved, so I was super excited. If there are any projects that come my way, it’s always important that it’s something that I connect with.
P-C: Besides Versus, do you have any other upcoming projects that you can chat about?
Brandon: Yeah! I have this movie releasing in December called Bright. It stars Will Smith and Joel Edgerton. I worked on it last year and I’m excited that it’s coming out. It’ll be released on December 22nd on Netflix.
Pop-Culturalist Speed Round
P-C: Guilty pleasure TV show?
Brandon: I do find myself from time to time watching Keeping Up with The Kardashians.
P-C: Guilty pleasure movie?
Brandon: Anything with Angelica Jolie! I’ve had a crush on her since I was a young boy. She’s an incredible actress, activist, and mom. So anything involving her, you can count me in.
P-C: A band or artist that fans would be surprised to learn is on your playlist?
Brandon: Khalid! He was just nominated for five GRAMMYs. It’s always nice to be fans of someone from the beginning and watch their success.
P-C: Favorite social media platform?
Brandon: Twitter. I would have said Instagram but Twitter is funny. Instagram is all about the pictures but on Twitter you can see how sarcastic people actually are. It’s my favorite platform yet.
P-C: Do you have a favorite play or musical?
Brandon: It’ll have to be The Lion King or Chicago.
P-C: Hidden talent?
Brandon: I can whistle really loudly, actually.
Photo Credit: Alex Lombardi/Awesomeness