Written by: Mark Pollard
Up and coming actor Sheaun McKinney credits his acting career and success to none other than his lovely mother. With a background starting in theatre to now starring in a hit series, Kontrol gets the scoop on McKinney about his role in HBO’s comedy series, Vice Principals, and what it’s like to go back to high school.
Vice Principals is the latest comedy created by Danny McBride and Jody Hill. The show follows two Vice Principals, Neal Gamby and Lee Russell (McBride and Walter Goggins); as they fight dirty for the newly vacant position of Principal at their high school. The series, which was filmed at an actual high school in Charleston, South Carolina, will span only two seasons, each covering a semester at the school. For McKinney, this brought back lots of memories.
“Filming was absolutely surreal, we filmed in an actual high school and it really took me back because it was books there that I remembered reading back when I was in school. Walking the halls, the cafeteria, being around a bunch of kids, you actually realize that you never really get out of that high school state of mind. Everywhere we go once we graduate the structure and the hierarchy of what we do it’s pretty much the same. So you never really get out of high school, but it really was surreal being back there and working in that environment.”
In Vice Principals McKinney plays Dayshawn, a cafeteria worker whose job positions him near the eye of disciplinary storms, Gamby’s closest friend on campus.
“DayShawn is one of the coolest dudes you’ll ever meet, he is Neal Gamby’s voice of reason you know, and Gamby is his homie so that’s where his allegiance lies, but DayShawn is %100 cool and is way smarter than most would think and will also hit on every single teacher that’s around him lol.”
So what’s different about this show compared to other high school series and spin offs do you ask? Well according to McKinney this series is the show of the summer and a must watch. Especially now in our political climate, its a good laugh to have.
“The show is fearless, especially now with our political climate and all, you can watch something like this and definitely get a laugh at how outrageous some of the characters are while also finding a correlation with some of the actions. Also having a very strong beautiful black female leading the show Dr. Belinda Brown (Kimberly Hebert Gregory), you’ll see that she runs the show and whether these two dudes like it or not she’s the captain of the ship.”
With a cast full of talented actors, McKinney goes on to explain how it was like filming with the cast and crew.
I come from a theatre background. I studied theatre in college and I’ve always preferred theatre to film, but from top to bottom I can honestly say its been one of the best experiences that I’ve has as an artist. The whole crew set a tone from the very beginning that everybody was approachable, no egos, no bad attitudes, one of the best experiences I’ve ever had.
Interestingly, it’s an almost failed college class that got McKinney into acting in the first place. When he admitted to his mom that he was failing a humanities class and that the professor had offered extra credit for auditioning for a play, she didn’t give him much of a choice.
“To make a long story short, my mom said, Your Ass Is Auditioning.”
McKinney goes on to say, “When I realized that this provides a certain platform to reach and affect people that’s what kept me going. I started my own theatre company right out of college with two very close friends of mine and we realized what the work can do if we stick with it and put the love into it, it can impact whatever it is your trying to impact.”
As for the show McKinney said, “It’s the funniest show of the summer. We need to watch T.V. that is going to make us talk, and think, and also make us have some kind of emotional response whether it’s good or bad. But at the end of the day just something that is going to make you laugh. I can guarantee that at some point in every episode your going to say, I can’t believe they did that and then your going to laugh.”
What’s in the future for this talented actor do you ask? Well alongside his rap sheet of theatre/film work, McKinney goes on to say, “I’m most excited about writing my own work and creating my own content. I still have my theatre company and also a web series that I have on Vimeo called “Make It Happen”, but I’m most excited about just generating my own work in the future.”
Sheaun McKinney’s Twitter