Kwame Patterson steps into the spotlight for David Makes Man season 2, teases that lives will 'get destroyed'
Kwame Patterson has been waiting to play David for quite some time.
The actor - known for playing "Monk" Metcalf on The Wire, and Neckbone on the first season of The Oath - was cast as the adult version of David back in 2018 when the plan was for him to appear at the end of David Makes Man's first season. Plans changed, and a pandemic later, Patterson is ushering in a whole new era of the OWN coming-of-age drama as the grown-up version of the young David (Akili McDowell) viewers met in season 1.
"David still has a lot of old baggage and trauma that he has to deal with," Patterson says about his version of the character, "David was creating chaos when he was young, and he continues to create chaos as older David. I feel like David needs to create chaos, so he has something to fix."
EW spoke to Patterson about how he prepared to play David, what David's romantic life looks like, and much more.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What kind of work did you do with Akili McDowell to prepare for the role?
KWAME PATTERSON: I sat down with Akili, and he would show me certain nuances or mannerisms of younger David, from the leg shake to when he was going to these dazed moments or even little things like sucking his teeth. Older David does that as well. I wanted to try to match those particular things as close as possible because a lot of the time we take from our younger selves as we get older. We talked in-depth about backstory stuff, how to prepare for the character and things like that.
David's mother Gloria comments in the hospital scene that they have all changed, but David is the same. How much has David changed?
The only real difference between young David and adult David is that he's an adult and successful. That's really it because he's still dealing with the same childhood traumas and having trouble expressing his emotions. [David] still tries to keep things separate like he did when he was a kid keeping his home life from hurting school and trying to separate himself from the neighborhood he grew up in. He's doing the same thing as older David, like when he doesn't talk to Nicole, his girlfriend, about his brother being shot. That's what Gloria is saying. She's clean now, fostering kids, and he's still stuck in the same place.
David and JG's sibling bond is one of the show's most important relationships. Talk to me about forming that bond with Arlen Escarpeta, who plays adult JG?
The beautiful part about that is I've known him for 12 years, so we've actually already been brothers before we got on the show. It was a blessing to be on the show with him and have the opportunity to show our natural chemistry.
Like in the first episode when he touches my face and lip - that wasn't scripted. Sometimes the director will tell us to have fun and do what comes naturally, and because we already joke like that, it naturally just happened. Everyone laughed on set at what he did, so they kept it. We didn't have to work hard to build that chemistry; we just worked hard on studying together. We were each other's rocks and foundation to get through being the new kids on the block.
We meet Nicole in the season premiere and see some of David's love life. What can you share about how much romance we'll see in season 2?
You will see a good bit of romance. You'll see, like in any relationship, a roller coaster between him and Nicole. You will get to know David in that aspect, how he is romantically. As you see in the first episode, they have an intimate moment, and then he turned back into a schoolboy in the bathroom after. He still has those moments where he struggles with the emotional part and expressing his feelings. As the show goes on, you'll see him grow and struggle like we all do in everyday life.
Another new relationship in David's life is the one with JG's daughter Trenise. What can you share about what's ahead for them?
That dynamic begins to grow because they start to realize that they are more alike, and she starts to realize that he is somebody she can talk to who understands her, so their bond will grow. We begin to see the uncle-niece dynamic, and it allows for more love, but also sarcasm. There will be funny moments between the two of them, along with some heartwarming and serious moments.
What is adult David's relationship like with his community?
In season 2, he doesn't have a relationship with the community. This is the community that caused a lot of trauma - his mother was on drugs, he got into a lot of fights, Sky was shot, he was dealing with the drug dealers in that community. Once he got out, he didn't look back, and now he's trying to tear it down and build something new. In his mind, he wants this to be over, and that's his stance, which is not the stance of so many others in the community.
Joe Padilla is a new figure in David's world. What does he bring to the story, and how much trouble will he cause for David?
Honestly, it's not him that gets David in trouble, which is the funny thing - really, David will get himself in trouble because Joe never asked for any of this stuff that David brought up. David brings up [the new housing project and helps him run for mayor] and says he can do it in a faster timeframe than anybody else has ever been able to do it. So I put it on David more than I would on Joe, who is just about his business.
In season 1, David wants to get into Hurston. What does David want this season?
David wants that connection with his family, but he doesn't know where he fits in. David always feels like he's on the outside, and he is trying to feel like part of the family. A lot of these issues are created by David, but he's trying to fix that throughout the season.
David is also watching his mother be a mom to other kids in a way that she wasn't for him because she was dealing with a lot, including drugs and different things. She couldn't be the same mother to him as she was to JG and these foster kids. David is just trying to find his place.
What can you tease about what this season has in store for David and the people in his life?
There will be quite a few lives that are going to get destroyed, and we're going to see some familiar faces.
David Makes Man airs Tuesday at 9 p.m. ET on OWN.