Comedian and actor Marlon Wayans is taking over primetime on Wednesdays with his new eponymous show, “Marlon,” which is loosely inspired by his real life. NBC describes it as “an update to the classic family comedy centers on a loving (but sometimes inappropriate) father committed to co-parenting his two kids with his very-together ex-wife.”
Rolling out had the cool opportunity to interview two of the show’s youngest stars, Notlim Taylor and Amir O’Neil. They play Marlon and Ashley Wayne (Essence Atkins) kids.
Notlim Taylor, 15, plays Marley Wayne. Her foray into the world of entertainment happened when she was six-years-old. She’s been seen as a guest star on the award-winning ABC comedy series “Black-ish” and the feature film Grace Stirs Up Success in 2015. The young teen is vegetarian and a certified black belt in karate as well as practicing gymnast and dancer.
She hopes to lend her voice to inspire young women like herself to be strong and follow their dreams. She is also an advocate for education and anti-bullying messaging.
Amir O’Neil, 10, plays Zack Wayne. The Jacksonville, Florida, native moved with his parents and eight siblings to Southern California. An actor, rapper and breakdancer was determined to be on TV and his dream was realized when he and his twin brother, Amari, were signed by the Savage Agency, one of the most successful youth talent agencies in Hollywood.
Last year O’Neil and his twin had the honor of performing their anti-bullying rap for one of their idols, Stevie Wonder, at the All It Takes star-studded fundraiser at the University of Southern California.
Here’s their interview.
Tell us about your characters.
Amir O’Neil: Zack is playful and laid back. He looks up to his father. It’s really fun working with Marlon.
Notlim Taylor: Marley is really strong and educated. She’s mature for her age. A lot of people say that about me.
How long have you been acting?
Amir: I have been acting since I was seven. My brother is also an actor. He’s on the show “Training Day.”
How did you get into acting?
Amir: We wanted to be actors since we were babies. We wanted to be on Disney and Nickelodeon. We were shy and didn’t join an agency until we were seven. We improv as well. We can be [funny] when we want to.
To whom on TV do you look for inspiration?
Notlim: Zendaya. She has this squeaky clean image. If someone told me something bad about her, I wouldn’t believe them. She’s so respectful … mature and she’s very wise for her age. She’s a really good role model for young Black women.
Amir: Tyler James Williams, ever since I saw the film Let It Shine. I have many more. I can’t really say all of them.
What has been the most exciting about working on this show?
Amir: Meeting Marlon Wayans and all the cast. I’d met Notlim before and it was good to see her again.
Notlim: Having the opportunity to be here with these people. I had just come out of a situation with flaky people and flaky friends. I’ve never had friends. Coming here and having Amir and Marlon supporting me is amazing.
What was the audition for your role on ‘Marlon’ like for you?
Notlim: I wasn’t nervous. I have never really been nervous about auditions. I auditioned with my brother. I felt that I could do this one and that this wouldn’t be another audition where they would tell me, “Oh, we didn’t want you because you were too short.” I went in there and every time I’d sit in the waiting room, I would stare at this status of Marlon and his brother. I saw me and my brother [in them]. I told myself, “I think I can do this.” I had never really seen myself in a position like this before and I am like what did I do to deserve this opportunity.
Amir: Me and my brother auditioned. If I get the part, it’s like he gets the part. They can’t tell us a part.
Follow the show: Facebook.com/NBCMarlon; Twitter: @NBCMarlon and Hashtag: #Marlon.
The series premiere for “Marlon” is August 16. It airs weekly Wednesdays on NBC (9-9:30, 9:30-10 p.m. ET).