All American: Da’Vinchi talks about Darnell’s journey and whether he’ll be back next season

All American -- "Coming Home"-- Image Number: ALA207b_0295b.jpg -- Pictured (L-R): Da'Vinchi as Darnell and Daniel Ezra as Spencer -- Photo: Tina Thorpe/The CW -- © 2019 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved
All American -- "Coming Home"-- Image Number: ALA207b_0295b.jpg -- Pictured (L-R): Da'Vinchi as Darnell and Daniel Ezra as Spencer -- Photo: Tina Thorpe/The CW -- © 2019 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved /

All American star Da’Vinchi chatted with us about his character Darnell, and what we can expect from the rest of this season and next.

Season 2 of All American has been a wild ride with new characters, and plenty of dramatic storylines. One of the newcomers, Darnell Hayes, was introduced as a potential rival to Spencer, although their relationship has grown quite a bit from where it began. We had the chance to chat with da’Vinchi, who portrays Darnell in the show.

SPOILER WARNING: The following article contains spoilers from season two of All American.

The charismatic actor is making quite the splash in Hollywood. Before All American, you might have seen him on the hit Freeform series, grown-ish. He is also set to start in the upcoming Ben Affleck film, The Way Back, which hits theaters in March.

The actor has several projects brewing on the horizon. Still, he made it clear that he’s loving his experience on All American and even teased a little bit of what’s to come in Season 3 and whether or not we can expect to see Darnell stick around.

Hidden Remote: To begin, what has your experience been like working on All American?

Da’Vinchi: It has been great. Honestly, it doesn’t even feel like work — besides the 15-16 hour days. But it feels like a great family, everyone has great energy. Everyone is so humble.

HR: Are you a football fan or player in real life? 

DV: Yes, I play football, I love football. Football is like my first love. But with the hitting and everything, my mother didn’t want me to stay in there, if it was up to me I would have definitely wanted to be in the NFL.

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HR: Were you at all intimidated about coming onto a show during its second season? 

DV: Not at all. I was ready to do it. I already knew a lot of the people; I met them outside of production in different ways. In season one, I went into the casting office probably six times, to read for my character and a whole bunch of different characters. It felt like something that was supposed to happen. It felt very comfortable.

HR: Season 2 has been so intense dramatically for all of the characters, especially with Cory’s death and everything between Spencer and Darnell. 

DV: I loved the tension they had, I must say. It was very fun to play that character that everyone hated, and then they slowly started liking him.

HR: Was there anything about playing Darnell that you found particularly surprising or challenging?

DV: I think episode seven [“Coming Home” — the episode where Cory dies] was challenging because that was like the deepest on-screen thing that I ever had to do. That entire day I was basically in a mood so I could lock-in.  It was challenging, but I loved it, I really loved it.

HR: The bulk of Darnell’s storyline revolves around his relationship with Spencer, seeing their growth has been great to watch. Did you and Daniel [Ezra] get to work together on building that relationship off-screen, at all?

DV: We’re always working together, so when we’re in between takes or the cameras are off we’re just talking and having good conversations. We bonded naturally. We have this connection in how we see the world.

All American
All American — “Only Time Will Tell” — Image Number: ALA212b_0469b.jpg — Pictured (L-R): Michael Evans Behling as Jordan, Da’Vinchi as Darnell and Daniel Ezra as Spencer — Photo: Tina Thorpe/The CW — © 2020 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved /

HR: I know you can’t say much about the final episodes of this season, but are you hopeful for Darnell to return in season three?

DV: I can tell you that I don’t think Darnell is going anywhere. I think he’s definitely going to be in season three and getting involved more in the community. He’s there to stay.

HR: Is there any particular storyline you’d like to see for Darnell moving forward, maybe a potential love interest? 

DV: It’s so funny that you mention that. Something about this project that I loved is that they didn’t use me as a love interest. It was so great. Usually every project they’re like “he’s going to play the boyfriend of so-and-so” in the character breakdown.

That’s something that drew me to this role is that the breakdown had nothing to do with him being a ladies man, nothing, none of that. I was so happy. I  just don’t want to be typecast. I think Season 3, I don’t know, he might have a little shorty.  But I’m glad that’s not what he’s known for and now he can go into Season 3 and have that because people got to know his character and him as a person before that.

I don’t know anything for sure yet, if I did I would say. Hopefully, it’s not one of the girls that are already on the show. I don’t want to recycle all the girls in the cast. I don’t want to deal with Spencer’s exes (Laughs).

All American
All American — “The Art of Peer Pressure”– Image Number: ALA213b_0148b.jpg — Pictured (L-R): Da’Vinchi as Darnell and Jalyn Hall as Dillon — Photo: Kevin Estrada/The CW — © 2020 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved /

HR: If you’re able to, can you say how you think fans will feel about the ending of this season? 

DV: I think they’re going to love it. The ending, it’s going to be great, it’s going to make people want Season 3 to come out ASAP. It’s a strong ending and a good start to Season 3. Season 3 is going to be so dope.

Season 2 is amazing, and Season 1 was great obviously, but Season 3 is going to bring in a new dynamic that people are not expecting. It’s going to have even more real-world situations in it.

HR: You’re also starring in the upcoming film The Way Back with Ben Affleck, what was it like working with him?

DV: That was really great, it gave me peace in my spirit because I was having a conversation with him about height. He’s tall, and I’m tall, I always felt insecure as an actor with a height. Sometimes in auditions, I’d say I was six feet — I’d lie unless it’s like an athlete role then I’ll say my real height.

For All American I said I was 6’1″ because I knew Michael [Evans Behling] was 6’1″, so I knew I’d fit right in. But Ben Affleck said that people — because he’s like 6’4″ — would tell him that he was too tall to be an actor and he told me, “don’t listen to that sh*t.”

Look at where he’s at now. It was really good to hear from someone else that actually is tall and he’s had that experience. There’s a project I’m up for right now, I don’t want to say its name, but it looks like I could probably have it, but my height is an issue right now.

HR: I always thought it was a thing that people liked tall guys.

DV: That is true, but on-screen 5’9″ is 6 feet, so when you’re actually 6-6’3 you look like Shaquille O’Neal. On grown-ish, Yara [Shahidi] had to stand on an apple box to kiss me, and I’m not even that tall!

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This interview has been edited for length and clarity. 

New episodes of All American air on Monday nights on The CW. The Way Back will premiere in theaters on March 6.