Malcolm David Kelley has gone from Lost to Detroit, traveling between television, film, and music. His first major acting role was that of "Young Antwone" in the Denzel Washington directed film Antwone Fisher. He then got Lost on the ABC Emmy Award winning drama, but eventually found himself on TeenNick's Gigantic, where he met his future singing partner Tony Oller, who then formed the group MKTO.
Now Malcolm is returning to the big screen in the highly anticipated crime drama DETROIT, based on the The Algiers Motel Incident during Detroit's 1967 12th Street Riot. DETROIT hits theaters on August 4th!
1. Who or what inspired you to become an actor? I started acting when I was five years old. Just watching TV and kids in the McDonald's commercials having fun, I told my mom I wanted to do it. She found my managers, we had a meeting, and I ended up bookin' a McDonald's commercial. Then just growing up and continuing to act, I grew more in love with it. Watching Denzel Washington in Antwone Disher, direct and play in a movie, really opened my eyes on the many things you can do. So just then I was inspired to accomplish a lot in this industry.
2. Your first major acting role was in 2002, in the film Antwone Fisher, directed and starring Denzel Washington. What did you learn from working with Denzel Washington? Do you still keep in touch with Denzel today? I was born in 1992 lol so I was 10 going on 11 I think. As I mentioned a little in the answer above working with Denzel just opened my eyes to do so much. He was very involved in the audition processes all the way through. He is a great director and gets his vision across. Watching him direct made me realize that was something I wanted to do.
3. In 2004, you were cast as "Walt" on the Emmy Award winning ABC series Lost. What did you like most about your storyline? I loved working on Lost and going through that whole journey. From a pilot and not knowing where the show could go and then it turning into one of the biggest shows that still can be appreciated 10 plus years later is amazing. Working with that cast and me being one of the youngest cast mates there I just learned so much and soaked up so much from everyone. Loved my story line and how I can make things appear with my mind lol.
4. Let's just play with the Lost title/theme for a bit. If you got Lost on an island, how do you think you would survive? If you're being Lost was a choice and you could only bring five things with you, what would you bring? I think I would survive ok. lol Even though I hate bugs, I would get used to it lol. Eating salmon lol and fresh fish and fruit. The five things I would need on an island are my girlfriend, clean water, and my speaker.
5. What is one funny story from your time on Lost that you can share with us? One funny time is when we were shooting the pilot on the beach and their were wild hogs running around and I remember they caught them and we ate them lol.
6. In 2010, you appeared in the lead role of "Finn" on the TeenNick program Gigantic. In 2012, you and your former Gigantic co-star Tony Oller formed the pop duo MKTO. How long after meeting, did you you decide you form your own group? What has been the best part about working together and what's the most challenging part? Well while we were filming the first season and after we put songs on YouTube and fans loved it and our producers we signed to saw it, we met with them, cut some records, and then met with some labels ended up with Columbia Records. "Classic" went platinum. I will never forget that and the work we put in and meeting so many great people touring Australia and New Zealand and all of the U.S. and more. Can't wait to get back out there and just being on stage period and being on stage with Taylor Swift in front of 60k people.
7. Your newest single is "Hands Off Your Heart/"Places You Go." What are some favorite "Places You Go" to Eat? Relax? Exercise? Get Coffee/Tea? and Be A Child Again/Forever Young? What are some reasons you'd ask someone to take their "Hands Off Your Heart"? Hawaii definitely is a place I can go relax, eat, and exercise on the Basketball court. Def be a kid again lol. So many memories from filming Lost.
Reasons I would ask a girl to take her hands off my heart are not loving me how I love her or knowing we won't work but it might be right in the moment.
8. Up until now, you're career has been film, television, and music. Do you have any aspirations to come to Broadway? If so, would you want to star in a musical or play? If it had to be a play and musical from the current season, which ones would you like to be part of? I was so close to doing a play while being in my acting class but I ended up booking something so I didn't get to do it. It's on my bucket list to get on stage and do a musical or play. I remember my cousin doing The Lion King and Keke Palmer doing Cinderella. I went to see her as well and I have always admired the craft. As far as what play, not sure, but I like to play, have fun, and push boundaries, so you never know.
9. On August 4, you make your big screen return in the highly anticipated, DETROIT. The American period crime drama based on the The Algiers Motel Incident during Detroit's 1967 12th Street Riot. How do you feel this film relates now to the trying times we are living in where that moron of President is dividing this nation further and further apart, but the citizen's of the world are trying to keep it together? I feel everything happens for a reason. I'm just glad we are coming together realizing we have made progress but we have much more to do. We are being heard without having to rebel as we have in the past which has turned into some rioting. This time peace is a part of American history and some may know or may not know and as people we are strong enough to understand this movie has so much relevancy to today.
10. What did you learn about yourself, life, and those that supposedly protect us from making this film? Well for the people who protect us, I know sometimes they can abuse their authority as we are being victims to seeing this in real time. I think we need to have our communities' voices heard to stop this. So we need to have a conversation on protocol. What this film did for me is just enlightening me on this particular story in Detroit and reading up in other cities and my home town L.A.
11. On "Call Me Adam" I have a section called One Percent Better, where through my own fitness commitment, I try to encourage people to improve their own life by one percent every day. What is something in your life that you want to improve by one percent better every day? I want to improve on perfecting my crafts. Especially when people try to make you pick one thing. I want to put the work in to be respected at both.
At 25 years-old, Malcolm David Kelley is a veteran in the Entertainment Industry. Malcolm’s first major acting role was in the 2002 film Antwone Fisher starring Denzel Washington, where he played "Young Antwone" -- he was five. His next film role was You Got Served, in which he was cast in the supporting role of "Lil' Saint" where Malcolm played a boy fascinated with the world of street dance who gets caught up in gang mentality, with tragic consequences. The film, starring Steve Harvey, Lil’ Kim and B2K, opened at #1 and grossed $40 million.
In 2004, he was cast to play "Walt" in the ABC’s Emmy Award winning TV series Lost which became a huge cult success. Following his departure from the main cast of Lost, Malcolm appeared in several television roles, including the recurring character of "Benjamin Cooley" on Saving Grace, guest appearances on Glee, My Name is Earl, Law and Order SVU, Bones and dozens more.
In 2010, he appeared in the lead role of "Finn" on the TeenNick program Gigantic. In 2012, Malcolm and his former Gigantic co-star Tony Oller formed the pop duo MKTO were signed to Columbia Records. The duo's debut self-titled album, was released on April 1, 2014 and spawned the hit single, "Classic" which reached number 14 on the Billboard Hot 100. MKTO recently released, "Hands Off My Heart/Places You Go" and are currently on tour.
On August 4, Malcolm returns to the big screen in the highly anticipated, "DETROIT." The American period crime drama film directed by Kathryn Bigelow and written by Mark Boal based on the The Algiers Motel Incident during Detroit's 1967 12th Street Riot. A police raid in Detroit in 1967 results in one of the largest citizen uprisings in United States history. The story is centered around The Algiers Motel Incident, which occurred in Detroit, Michigan on July 25, 1967, during the racially charged 12th Street Riot. It involves the death of three black men and the brutal beatings of nine other people: seven black men and two white women. The ensemble cast also includes: Anthony Mackie, John Krasinski, John Boyega, Laz Alonso, Kaitlyn Dever and Algee Smith.