An interview with Donovan Carter: from Gridiron to Hollywood. Staying Humble


Donovan Carter’s starring role as the young and talented NFL defensive tackle ‘Vernon Littlefield in HBO’s popular series “Ballers,” has garnered a true fan base from both those that watch and those that truly know the DC native and former UCLA football player. Speaking with Donovan at the premiere of Ballers and Insecure in Charlotte NC at the Fillmore, his demeanor was that of one that recognized the blessing that was given to him, and to be where he is right now.
But let’s let Donovan share more with you about his journey!

UT: Donovan! I know you guys are on a whirlwind right now. The show Ballers premiere, just received an Emmy nomination, how do you feel?

DC: God is good man! I’m blessed! Happy to be here, I’ve never been to Charlotte NC before. Just happy to be here and show the fans the first episode of Ballers and Insecure, and have some fun!

UT; Well hopefully this QC heat is not draining you guys right now! We’ve heard that the show is going to be fire this year!

DC: Yes it definitely is! It’s a good season and I’m excited to see what everybody thinks. We’ve worked hard on it.

UT: It’s impressive that you’ve went from football to Hollywood and working with many talented people in this industry. Tell us how that has been for you.

DC: It’s been crazy. I thank God every day, because I was at a point in which football was over and like a lot of athletes, and people, you’ve got that transition in which you don’t know what you want to do, and trying to figure out what am I here for on this earth? And God blessed me with an opportunity to audition for this show, and I just went for it. I didn’t have any experience, I just took a leap of faith, and it ended up working out. Here at season three…I couldn’t have wrote a better story for myself! If you would’ve told me this when I was in school, I would’ve thought you was crazy. This is what I want to do for the rest of my life, so I’ll continue to work hard to be a better actor and continue to be successful in this business.

UT: Your character Vernon is going through a transition right now, has some financial issues. That’s one of the things that seem apparent in this type of industry, such as football. With you having that background in football, what words of wisdom would you give to up and coming athletes or those that are trying to get into the world of acting?

DC: I would say save your money. Everyone tells me to save your money because you never know. And don’t be afraid to ask questions if you have something on your mind or you need some help. Don’t let that pride get in the way! So many people have that pride or that ego, I feel like you could lose an opportunity when it could be something so simple. Also, use your resources, whatever you got, tap into that. Network is key out here.

UT: So what can we expect out of your character Vernon this year?

DC: Continue to just follow me and my best friend Reggie on the show, our lifestyles. We’re two guys from the hood, we made it out. We’ve got all this success, all this money, doing the best we can to learn from our mistakes and set ourselves up for the future. But you know, they’re two knuckleheads man, so you expect some type of nonsense to go on! They are just those type of guys.

Jazmyn Simon and Donovan Carter cut up on the red carpet at premiere of “Ballers” in Charlotte NC. (photo by UT Media)

UT: So out of all of this that has occurred with you, who has been your biggest mentor?

DC: My biggest mentors, always my coaches from college. My co-stars….they are like my family. Jazmyn (Simon) that’s my big sister. Dwyane (Johnson) Omar (Benson Miller) Troy (Garity) I can call on and ask for anything, and really God. God is my biggest mentor. I just come to Him and pray, and give Him all my cares, all my fears, and He always fix it! I’m good with that.

UT: Thank you Donovan!
DC: Thank you man!