THE GOOD GUY. People say kindness is a rare thing to find these days. Thank heavens for Dexter Darden, then!
Outfit, tie and pocket square by Tommy Hilfiger
It takes a special person—and a special actor—to bring an already well-liked character to life on the big screen. Luckily for fans of the popular “Maze Runner” series, they have Dexter Darden.
The 24-year-old plays Frypan, one of the post-apocalyptic survivors in the book-turned-movie franchise. Following the success of the first movie “The Maze Runner” (2014), the second installment titled “The Scorch Trials,” was recently released in theaters.
DA MAN talks to Darden about his role in the film and more.
DA MAN: What are you working on at the moment?
Dexter Darden: Well right now I’m working on my music! Music has always been a passion of mine, so
I always wanted to take the time to make a solid musical project that people can enjoy!
DA MAN: How would you describe “The Scorch Trials” in one sentence?
Dexter Darden: A non-stop thrill ride, with a young talented cast, who delivers performances that everyone can really appreciate.
DA MAN: You’re playing Frypan, the resident cook, in the movie. Do you cook in real life?
Dexter Darden: Oh, yeah! I love to cook. My mom taught me to cook at a very young age, so it’s something that I take pride in.
Sweater by H&M
DA MAN: What kinds of food can you cook the best?
Dexter Darden: Um, a lot of things, but people say that my ribs are some of the best they have ever had!
DA MAN: In the last movie, Frypan is pretty much the joy-bringer of the group, and he’s one of Thomas’ [the main character, played by Dylan O’Brien] loyal supporters. What about you in real life? What do you think is your role in a group?
Dexter Darden: I think it’s pretty much the same in real life. Bringing joy and putting smiles on the faces of others. Also I’m always the one singing! [Laughs]
DA MAN: How good are your survival skills in real life?
Dexter Darden: I’d say they’re okay. I’m built more to survive in a city, but I don’t know about actually trying to survive the Scorch!
DA MAN: How long do you think you can survive in an actual “Maze Runner”-like situation?
Dexter Darden: By myself? Not long at all! The conditions those kids go through are way too extreme!
DA MAN: “The Maze Runner” cast looks a lot like a little close-knit family. What do you appreciate the most about each and every one of your friends?
Dexter Darden: We most definitely are a family! Everyone has their own little role that we bring to the table. The one thing we all possess though is keeping it 100 percent all the time as you should in any friendship. We love and care for each other so much, so we understand that the base of any friendship is honesty.
“One of the main things [Paul Newman] taught me is that kindness is key, and that’s something I take with me everywhere”
DA MAN: Let’s talk about your beginnings now. You were discovered by Paul Newman when you joined his Hole in the Wall Gang Camp. What was it like to work with him?
Dexter Darden: It was an honor. At the time, I didn’t realize I was working with a legend. I always just thought I
was working with a friend. I learned so much from him, and also learned how to find strength in myself. One of
the main things he taught me is that kindness is key, and that’s something I take with me everywhere.
DA MAN: What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever gotten?
Dexter Darden: Paul Newman taught me something a long time ago and it’s stuck with me ever since. “Auditioning
is the job and booking is the reward.” I take that with me on my acting journey so that I never get complacent.
Outfit and tie by Tommy Hilfiger
DA MAN: What kind of actor would you like to become?
Dexter Darden: Just one who is respected as a versatile talent who can do many things. Like Will [Smith], Leo
[Leonardo DiCaprio], Don Cheadle, Denzel [Washington], Gary Oldman. I just want to be someone people want to go see, because they know they won’t be disappointed.
DA MAN: You can act, sing and dance. What other gifts would you like to have?
Dexter Darden: Hmmm, “like to have”? I wish I could play more instruments and draw. Those two things have always inspired me, and are talents I wish I could possess.
DA MAN: Do you have any project in the future besides the “Maze Runner” series?
Dexter Darden: Well we start shooting “The Death Cure” (the third part in the series) soon, so once that’s done and out the way I’ll be able to start looking for more projects that I can dive into. I am also working on my music, though. I want to drop a project very soon, because music is something I’m passionate about.
Photography: Austin Anderton
Styling: David Sung Kim
Grooming: Elie Maalouf at Jed Root
Videography: Pedro Correa