Acting was not something Donovan Carter ever imagined himself doing for the rest of his life.
His life since he was nine years old had been all about football, which led to a college career playing Defensive Lineman for the UCLA Bruins, before a short stint with the Oakland Raiders. However, when that ended unexpectedly, he had to find something new to do instead, and with some hard work, he wound up landing a lead role on a new HBO series, Ballers, which premiered in 2015.
Carter sat down with Enstars to discuss the unexpected path his life took, working on Ballers, and his thoughts on the biggest scandal to hit pro-football in years.
Enstars: What about Ballers drew you to the show?
Donovan Carter: Just the fact that it was HBO. I mean, HBO is just a great...it's HBO. At the end of the day, they're one of the best TV networks out there, I think. And working with Dwayne [The Rock Johnson], Mark Wahlberg...and it's about sports, you know? I played sports most of my life, and I love sports, so It's kind of one of those things where I was like, I wouldn't mind doing this, this is something I would actually watch myself if I wasn't in the show.
Your cousin, Clinton Portis, played for the Washington Redskins and the Denver Broncos, and you have other connections to professional football as well through your father and your own stint with the Raiders. How much of that past do you use as inspiration for your character, Vernon Littlefield?
I use it a lot. Everything that I learned from football, I translate to my regular life. Like football has taught me so much about my work ethic and my time management, and just listening to direction...learning how to make plays and how to redirect at a moment's notice...and I got a few friends in the NFL that play and they help motivate me with my character.
You get to work with The Rock on a daily basis. What are three things he has taught you?
He definitely taught me to work hard, and work on your craft. He's taught me that it's okay to make mistakes, nobody's perfect. And he's taught me to stay humble and to stay grounded.
Is it safe to say you've now caught the acting bug and would consider taking other roles in the future after Ballers ends?
Yes, I've definitely got the bug, and this is what I want to do for the rest of my life. You know, people ask me, and I'm...even when I first got the part for Ballers, I was trying to figure out like, what if? This is one of those businesses where you just never know. It's tricky and you just never know what's going to happen, but I love it and I want to do this for the rest of my life. I go to class, and I'm looking to get more roles, you know, to further my career.
So would part of furthering that career include auditioning for movies as well?
Yes, yes I want to do a variety of things. Movies, TV shows...I mean, I love radio, I love comedy. I just want to entertain people.
What do you like to do in your spare time away from the show?
I like to hang out with my friends. I like music, I love listening to music. You know, I get a good book, I love reading. I just like to go with the flow. I'm not the kind of person that plans stuff like this and that, I'm kind of spontaneous. I like to wake up and just see how the Lord's going to bless me today.
So you say that you like to read, any good books that you're reading right now?
Right now? Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill.
Fans like to always know this sort of stuff, so is there anyone special in your life at the moment?
Anyone special? Not at the moment. I'm 26, I'm young, I'm just figuring out what I want to do in life, so i'm really just committed to my career right now and I'm all in for that. Then, when I have time for other things, I'll be ready for that, so...but I'm single [Laughs}.
If you had to pick one NFL team and say they're your favorite to root for, which would it be and why?
That's easy, the Washington Redskins. It's funny because I play a Cowboy on the show, but I'm a Redskins fan, and they're rivals. But I was born in DC, my mom lives in Maryland...I was raised in LA though, and in LA, we don't have a team, so I just gravitated to the Redskins, and then my cousin played there so that was even more reason to cheer for them.
As was previously mentioned, you came from a football background, so I need to ask your opinion on this whole Deflategate thing since it's still a big deal a year and a half later. Where do you stand personally? Should Brady have been penalized? Was the penalty too harsh? I'd love to hear your point of view.
It's interesting, it's been a long process, where like, they already won the Super Bowl and there's been another Super Bowl since then. I mean, I'm not sure, people have been doing this stuff for ages, you know, they say if you're not cheating you're not trying, that's what some people say. I don't know because I haven't done a lot of investigating of it, because I kind of just think it's ridiculous. We're talking about football, you know? There's more things to talk about.