Drumline: A New Beat Star Jordan Calloway Talks Role and Chemistry With Alexandra Shipp — Exclusive
Drumline: A New Beat Star Jordan Calloway Talks Role and Chemistry With Alexandra Shipp — Exclusive
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Drumline: A New Beat Star Jordan Calloway Talks Role and Chemistry With Alexandra Shipp — Exclusive

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Tonight’s the night, Drumline fans! The cult-classic hit movie is getting a sequel, Drumline: A New Beat, which airs tonight on VH1. The cast includes LeToya Luckett, actress Alexandra Shipp, and actor Jordan Calloway, who plays Alexandra’s love interest — and competition. How was Jordan able to do it all and learn to drum like the best of them? When Wetpaint Entertainment caught up with the former Nickelodeon star, he dished all!

Wetpaint Entertainment: Tell us a little about acting in Drumline: A New Beat.


Jordan Calloway: I first came across the movie when I auditioned for it and immediately I fell in love with it. First of all, as an audience member my reaction was “oh, they’re making a Drumline 2. Great, but I’m kinda scared.” But it wasn’t until I read the script and finally booked the project and got the ability to read the other drafts that I started to loosen up a bit. What it turned out to be was exactly what the title of the movie is — Drumline: A New Beat. And the reason why is because it wasn’t so focused on just one character, which it is with Alexandra Shipp, who did an amazing, phenomenal job. However, they give you a new beat in that you have a female protagonist who is just killing it and I love that. It’s just empowering to women and growing up with three older sisters, it’s empowering for women to go after their dreams and go after what they want to do. And then there’s other characters including mine, Jayven … who have so many layers as well that the audience can relate to.

Being able to say that I’m a part of something that’s going to have a positive influence on the audience and generation as the first one had on me, that was very reassuring. Especially with having to work with Nick Cannon — I mean what an experience. I grew up watching the guy.

What can you tell us about your character, Jayven?

My character, Jayven... he’s more of a dark character. He has more of a dark past. He’s trying to elude the shadow of his father, Jimmy Lapierre, who happens to be a very phenomenal, but washed-up musician. He’s way past his prime, and has fallen into drugs and alcoholism — something that Jayven had to grow up witnessing — not just witness but endure growing up as a young man and having to take care of his father, having to watch out for his father and protect his image. But while he has done this, he’s also managed to fall into that same habit. And he’s also trying to fight that … cycle of what that was. He’s a good kid. He’s a great kid, and what better way for him to search and find his way in college?

It was a blast to play Jayven because he’s just somebody who wants to be understood, he wants to be somebody who earns his keep, earn everything on his own. He doesn’t want it to be handed to him. But not a lot of people see that. Why? because Jayven puts up a wall to not let everyone in. So that’s Jayven in a nutshell.

How was it building chemistry with Alexandra Shipp, who plays your love interest?

I think that comes from doing the testing, because [Alexandra] had already booked the role. And I was auditioning with her. I mean, they were looking for chemistry that was already there and almost immediately, we had that chemistry. We were definitely feeding off of each other. Like I said, Alex, she’s definitely going places and I can’t wait to see where her career leads to. But then when you jump into when we were filming, our chemistry… we we literally working on different things at night just trying to figure out to to this and that, trying not to over work because we want to keep that natural feeling within the scene. If you can’t create the feeling between the scenes between the actors, then you create the same chemistry to be felt by the audience and it feels forced. So Alex and I we had a lot of fun and it was beautiful and we had a great time.

Last but not least, you guys do a ton of drumming. What was the training like?

Two weeks of definitely learning, but I’d have to say it definitely extended into that full month. The guy that plays my hands, Marcus Joyner, who cleans and polishes everything up, is a very talented drummer. He did his thing. And we would be off to the side practicing, practicing, practicing. He’d come to the hotel — practicing, practicing, practicing, like ‘dude, you’re gonna show me this and I’m gonna get it right.’ Why? Out of respect for those in the band. I didn’t want to do anything disrespectful. I wanted to let them know that I take this seriously as much as they take their craft seriously. I may not be as talented as them, however, there is a level of respect as an artist that needs to be shown.

Are you ready to see Jordan work the drums, and Alexandra as Jayven on the screen? Tune in to Drumline: A New Beat tonight, Monday, October 27 at 9 p.m. ET on VH1.

Will you tune in? Tell us in the comments below!