Miles Mussenden is a familiar face given the number of commercial spots and television roles he’s in. Now, the fast-talking New Yorker dishes on his latest role as Otis Johnson on Freeform’s Cloak and Dagger.
As an actor, the audition process can be grueling. Waiting on the fruits of that labor can be even worse. Miles shared the excitement of when he got the call.
“When you first find out everything is kind of surreal. The world is spinning around. I got a call from Jeph Loeb who is the Head of Television for Marvel. He said, ‘This is an opportunity to do your best work.’”
That conversation gave Mussenden all the focus he needed. The Marvel enterprise reigns supreme in box office numbers and television spin offs. Miles has been acting on and off for years and he acknowledges this is the role of a lifetime.
The Brooklyn native began his acting in the halls of his elementary school.
“They were doing these plays and I wasn’t really interested in them, but I got such a positive response from the plays I did.” Miles reminisced on his experience, “We used to have a teacher that was very into it and would take us down to Broadway.”
However, the acting bug was only temporary. His neighborhood lifestyle seemed to be a distraction and the melodies of 90s reggae came calling.
“I grew up in Brooklyn and it wasn’t cool to say you wanted to be an actor when you grew up. So, I kind of put that on the backburner and decided to go into music instead. That was just the cool thing at the time. I grew up around a bunch of West Indians in Brooklyn. We used to go to parties and grab the mic and do our thing.”
The love of music led him to working with major artist and eventually owning his own record label.
“So, as I got a little older and met the right people, I got deeply involved in the music. I started going to Jamaica and producing for Shabba Ranks, Dennis Brown and Gregory Isaacs. In those days it was a lot of fun. I’ve been on tour with Shabba and those are fun guys. For part of Shabba’s tour, I ended up being a hype man by default.”
Despite his success in the music industry, Mussenden was a victim of the 2008 economy crash. He admits the failures during this time lead him back to his first love of acting.
“About 10 years ago the economy went kind of crazy and my business went down the tubes. I went bankrupt. That’s when I started acting professionally.”
Ten years later, he is now a series regular on Cloak and Dagger. Mussenden recognizes the shows major themes and says they’re not afraid to deal with contemporary issues.
As the TV father of main character Tyrone Johnson, he admits, “It’s a lot of responsibility I feel to being a father to an African American male teenager. We are dealing with a lot of issues of today. That’s what I love about this show. We’re not running from it. It’s raw and it’s gritty.”
Miles admits the show will only get darker from here.
Setting the stage, he says, “On the show my son, Billy, is also killed. So, I think you’ll see how that trauma affects a family. It doesn’t go away. We’re really getting to the heart of some of these issues these families are dealing with. Every decision you make affects your family. We’re going to see [the characters] grapple with these decisions and have super powers to boot. It’s going to affect the family dynamic in a real way. It’s not just about people flying around in pantyhose. You’ve got some real life things I’m hoping the audience will appreciate.”
The actor admits this is a major point in his career. He has only been acting consistently for about ten years and despite his many directions, this is a full circle moment.
“It all clicked and 10 years later I’m a regular on a Marvel series. I’m living the fantasy.”