UB Interview: “For Better or Worse” & “Banshee” Actor Cedric Stewart Speaks to UB

cedric 3 (small)Hailing from Washington, DC, Cedric Stewart is one of Hollywood’s newest emerging actors to explode onto the scene. After attending Florida A&M University, Cedric decided he wanted to set out on a journey to become the biggest action star since Will Smith. In addition to professional acting coaching, Cedric currently trains within the Krav Maga Israeli military defense system as well as mixed martial arts.

Cedric’s first taste of the small screen was on HBO’s breakout comedy hit VEEP. Starring and produced by Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Cedric played a military officer in the second episode titled “Frozen Yoghurt.” This was just the beginning of a string of opportunities for this new actor. Cedric recently had a recurring role on Tyler Perry’s hit sitcom For Better or Worse (Season 2). He plays Tyrik, opposite the lead character Angela, played by Tasha Smith. Tyrik is the ex-boyfriend of Angela who comes back to reclaim her love. Fans got a chance to see Cedric play Tyrik as his character tried to rekindle this past relationship. For Better or Worse also stars Michael Jai White and Bobbi Kristina Brown.

Keeping up with the momentum, Cedric was recently added to the cast of Alan Ball’s new drama series Banshee (premiered on January 11, 2013 on Cinemax) and features actors such as Ben Cross (Star Trek), Antony Starr (Wish You Were Here) and Ivana Millicevic (Casino Royale). Cedric’s character, Damien Sanchez, is an MMA fighter who enters the town of Banshee, PA and starts a lot of trouble. “I’m excited to have this opportunity to work on such an amazing project. Playing a Pro MMA fighter is serious business, and if I look good doing so it’s because of the Krav Maga and MMA training I do with Otis “Black Belt” Berry at Brazu Academy in Gaithersburg, MD. He’s one of the best,” says Cedric.

Cedric appears in episode 3 (“Meet the New Boss”), which airs on Friday, January 25, 2013 at 10PM on Cinemax.

Recently UrbanBridgez.com caught up with Cedric Stewart to speak to him about his new role on Cinemax‘s new hit show “Banshee,” how it was working with Alan Ball from HBO‘s “True Blood,” African-Americans on TV, his favorite music out right now and much more!

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UrbanBridgez: The last time we saw you on our TV screens was on Tyler Perry’s “For Better or Worse.” Now the fans are gearing up for your debut on Cinemax’s new hit show Banshee this Friday. How excited are you?
Cedric Stewart: This project took a lot of blood, sweat, and tears to create. It’s a high energy, extremely intense role. Therefore, I’m more excited than words can express.

UrbanBridgez: Tell us about the character you play and how he fits into the story line?
Cedric Stewart: Damien Sanchez is an MMA champion coming into Banshee, PA for a title fight. While there, he gets into lots of trouble due to his reckless nature. Then, there are consequences…

UrbanBridgez: How would you describe the process of playing this character? Was it a challenging role?
Cedric Stewart: I had to step up my Krav Maga and MMA training regiment, working out for over 4 hours a day as opposed to the normal 2-2.5 with Otis “Black Belt” Berry. During filming, we worked on stunts and technique for daily, and then shooting the fight scenes took nearly 4 days at 6-8 hours each. Needless to say it was demanding. I also had to develop a serious asshole mentality to bring the character to life.

UrbanBridgez: What was it like to work with Alan Ball who created the hit HBO series “True Blood?”
Cedric Stewart: As it’s a new show, there are numerous elements being managed simultaneously, therefore Alan was extremely busy and I have yet to get the opportunity to meet him. I did have the pleasure of working directly with the show runner (Greg Yaitanes), producer (Stephanie Lang), writer/exec. producer (Jonathan Tropper) and director (Ole Christian Madsen). Honestly, the entire crew was Amazing. It’s the best work environment and everyone was very nice. The celebrity hairstylist, Wyatt Belton (The Wire), even showed me around Charlotte. I had a fantastic time working on this show.

UrbanBridgez: What type of actor do you think fans will look to you as? You’ve done comedy and now drama/action. What can they expect from Cedric Stewart?
Cedric Stewart: I never saw myself doing any comedy, especially this much of it this early in my career. I have enjoyed it though. Moving forward, people will see me evolve into a solidified position as Hollywood’s new leading man. My commanding presence onscreen and unique charm will propel me into more drama and action roles, thereby carrying the torch for the new generation as the young black male lead. I’ll blaze the trail created by Will Smith and Denzel Washington. I am the future.

UrbanBridgez: How do you think the landscape of television is changing in terms of African-Americans becoming more visible on the small screen?
Cedric Stewart: It’s a great shift we’re experiencing right now as incredibly talented African-American move to fill more roles on TV. It’s indicative of an overall cultural shift though, as great actors of all races continue to pop up on series television. It’s a refreshing change from all the reality garbage afloat on TV. I hope this trend continues for years to come.

UrbanBridgez: What are your Top 3 favorite shows on TV right now?
Cedric Stewart: Banshee, Breaking Bad, and True Blood. cedric 2 (small)

UrbanBridgez: What’s currently in rotation on your iPod?
Cedric Stewart: Everything!!! I love music as a whole. Thus, when I train I listen to anything from Rick Ross to Evanescence to Mozart.

UrbanBridgez: Any advice for those looking to enter the world of acting?
Cedric Stewart: You can always learn more; so don’t be opposed to spending money on acting classes especially when you are able to find an excellent, legitimate instructor. Get comfortable being told no, don’t give up-EVER, and learn to let go of yourself.

UrbanBridgez: What’s next for Cedric Stewart?
Cedric Stewart: We’re looking at a couple of TV pilots right now, and preparing for my debut in a feature film.

UrbanBridgez: Five years from now where do you see yourself?
Cedric Stewart: Cedric Stewart is a wealthy entrepreneur, philanthropist, Emmy and Academy award winner; as well as a household name and box-office record breaker.

UrbanBridgez: Any last words for your fans?
Cedric Stewart: Thank you for your support. The best is yet to come. Follow my journey on Twitter: @CedricIsAmazing #DAMIENSANCHEZ

5 Comments
  1. Hey Cedric!
    Wow! I am so proud of your success! You’re doing big things! The last time I saw you, you were doing a great job playing a drunken father/husband in Lawrence Hewitt’s, “My Brother, My Keeper.” (I initially played the role of the neighborhood dealer, in case you don’t recognize the name).
    I wish you much success in your career. You’re awesome!
    Take care,
    Julia

  2. Hello Cedric…. Just letting you know that your family supports your determination and trust that your goals to excel in your acting career will be met. Your grand dad was so proud of your accomplishments onscreen and off. We will be following you. Love…Cousin Cecelia

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