Brandon Larkins Attains His Entertainment Industry Aspirations

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(photo credit Jamaal Murray)

Actor-writer-producer Brandon Larkins is creating a variety of purposeful content in the entertainment industry.

The Baltimore, Maryland, native’s passion for the arts was initiated when he acted in a school play at the age of 7. In addition, Larkins relished the opportunity to perform Michael Jackson songs during his classroom show-and-tell on Fridays. However, since his father was a former athlete, Larkins originally foresaw a future in sports rather than show business. 

Following his high school graduation, Larkins attended the University of Maryland Eastern Shore on an athletic scholarship for track and field. Toward the end of his college education, the arts again emerged as a pastime of his. Then, in 1999, a friend of Larkins’ who was an actor invited him to visit the set of a project he was working on at the time. Subsequently, Larkins started to work with an acting coach, “and things just took off” from there, he says.

In the years since, he has gone on to gain parts in movies and TV shows such as Annapolis, The Wire, Cougar Town, and 9-1-1: Lone Star. Larkins’ latest role is Axel, a new caregiver to Ryan, in General Hospital. He made his debut as the recurring character on Nov. 28, and Larkins has appeared in two episodes of the long-running soap opera thus far. Larkins anticipates that his contributions to the Emmy-winning series will likely continue into 2023. 

“Being on General Hospital has been a total blessing. I’m so grateful to God for that opportunity,” Larkins said.

Each week, the General Hospital cast films around eight episodes that are completed four to six weeks in advance of each show’s air date. Larkins makes sure to step on set ready to deliver, as this process is a fast-moving one.

(photo credit Cameron Radice)

“Working on a soap, everything is fast-paced,” Larkins said. “… It’s always best for the talent and the actor to come in prepared, to know your lines. Because we’re doing maybe one blocking, we’re doing one rehearsal, and then next thing you know, we’re shooting it. So there’s not a lot of room for a lot of takes and a lot of mistakes. Me being the new guy, I always come in prepared.”

In 2017, Larkins began acting in and serving as an executive producer of Chronicles of Jessica Wu, an action-drama series created by Zane Hubbard. The show follows Jessica Wu (Helena-Alexis Seymour), a young girl who is on the autism spectrum and becomes a hero in Los Angeles as she uses her martial arts skills to defeat the villains of her city. Hubbard’s real-life daughter is an autistic person, and Larkins explains that the filmmaker combined “his love for his daughter and his love for the history of comics” when building the series. Furthermore, displaying an empowering image of women is another focal point of the program. 

“… What [Hubbard] really wanted to highlight was bringing awareness to individuals with disabilities to showcase to the world that they’re just like you and I. They have feelings, they have special abilities, they have special talents,” Larkins said. “And with Jessica Wu … he wanted to showcase girl power. There were no superheroes out there who were on the autism spectrum. So you have that one aspect, but then on top of it, you make her a female; you’re really driving home something that we just don’t see.”

The filming of Chronicles of Jessica Wu Season 3 recently wrapped, and this set of episodes includes the legendary A Different World alum Jasmine Guy guest starring as the character Barbara Baldwin. Hubbard wrote the part knowing that he wanted “a woman of power” and “a woman of confidence” who could also act “on the bad side” to portray Barbara, Larkins says. Larkins has been a fan of Guy’s since childhood and suggested her for the role. After reaching out to Guy’s management team, he and Hubbard were delighted to learn that the School Daze star was interested in coming on board. The onscreen performances of Guy, Larkins, Hubbard, Seymour, and castmates like Jasmine Hester and Aria Song are set to debut at a third season premiere event this month.

Another recent project of Larkins is a family sitcom, On the Phintz, which he created, wrote, co-produced, and stars in. The show centers around Phintzy Van Trillo (Sophie Mackenzie Nack), an adopted preteen who is the middle child in a devoted family. As Phintzy and the rest of the Van Trillos move from Baltimore, Maryland, to Newport Beach, California, they go by the slogan of showing each other love and support “to the heavens and back.” Larkins came up with the idea for On the Phintz amid the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, and its cast and crew has filmed their first three episodes, which have since been merged to create a pilot presentation. Calling upon his history of songwriting and music production that began before acting, Larkins also penned the show’s theme song.

While writing the series, Larkins sought inspiration from his favorite comedy shows that he watched during his childhood, among them Sanford and Son, Family Matters, and The Golden Girls. He additionally explored modern sitcoms to incorporate a tone that’s compatible with current television trends. The finished product displays an interracial family with a heartfelt storyline that drew in thousands of applicants vying for lead roles. Nack, Daijah Peters, Jaden Baker, Frankie Blair, Debra Cardona, Alma Marian, and Juliet Rusche are the performers who emerged victorious in securing main parts alongside Larkins for On the Phintz.

“I wanted to create a show that the world had never seen. I wanted to showcase a little Asian American girl … with a family that the world might have never seen before, or that the world may have said, ‘Hmm. Asian American girl and a Black family? Huh.’ That was done purposely,” Larkins said of the series. “I wanted to highlight and showcase things that we have never seen before or that we maybe don’t see too often. And I didn’t want to play it safe. I didn’t want to do the traditional sitcom family, because there are families in this world that look like the Van Trillos.”

Furthermore, the family-friendly program seeks to entertain and unite relatives of all ages in a manner similar to classic sitcoms of the past. It has generated an interest from a number of talent executives, Larkins states, and he hopes to secure financing for filming more episodes in 2023.

“ … This is a sitcom that is geared for families,” Larkins said “It’s one of those shows where we want the entire family to sit down like they used to do back in their living rooms and watch it together. The Leave It to Beavers, the Donna Reed Shows, The Munsters, The Addams Family, things like that, where families can enjoy it together.”

Larkins moved to Burbank in 2008 and has lived locally ever since. As he’s continued his entertainment pursuits, the show business history of the city has served as a source of motivation for Larkins, who also values Burbank’s safety. Now that he’s a cast member of General Hospital, which is an ABC program, Larkins has fulfilled a dream of playing a notable part in a major entertainment company.

“Burbank is the only [Southern California] city that I’ve been in, and I love it here. I’m very happy. It’s a joy, it’s safe. It’s fun to live here,” Larkins said. “And also, I love being inspired by the studios here. You got ABC. You got Disney. You got Warner Brothers. I can leave out of my apartment and walk to Cartoon Network in five minutes. NBC was here at one point in time. … Burbank has so much history. Now, being on General Hospital, I drive by Disney and ABC, and I just look up at the water tower and go, ‘Oh, my goodness, I’m a part of the ABC/Disney family.’ It’s just a blessing. And it’s all here in Burbank.”

The performer is currently developing a Christmas movie that will be shot in his hometown. The holiday season is Larkins’ “favorite time of the year, ” he states, so this is an aim he’s held for years. He’s visited Baltimore to scout for filming locations and is now preparing the script of the film. Down the line, one of Larkins’ greatest ambitions remains to create chances for people who are too often underrepresented in the entertainment world.

“Sometimes in Hollywood, studios and networks, they play it safe. They go with the actors or the talent that people already know. And I get it. It’s about ratings and box office numbers and all that, but I also like to create for other individuals that may get overlooked,” Larkins said. “That’s very, very important to me. When I started my career, someone whose name is Shamos Fisher, he took a chance on me in 2002, and he cast me in HBO’s The Wire. And to this day, some 20 years later, I never forget him. I’m still thankful. So I, too, want to create opportunities for individuals like that as well.”


Follow Larkins on Instagram here or Twitter here.

    Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center

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