Edi Gathegi Talks New Crackle Web Series, StartUp

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Edi Gathegi Talks New Crackle Web Series, StartUp
Posted by Wilson Morales

September 6, 2016

StartUp poster 2

Starting Tuesday, September 6, 2016 on Crackle, Sony’s streaming network, is the highly anticipated scripted drama, “StartUp,” starring Martin Freeman, Adam Brody, Edi Gathegi, and Otmara Marrero.

The 10-episode, one-hour series is set amongst the unconstrained, yet opportunistic streets of Miami and weaves a complex and exciting narrative, focusing on the high-stakes struggle of what one will do to reach ultimate success. But this is not your average startup incubator story. “StartUp” is about the emergence of GenCoin, a brilliant, yet controversial tech idea centered around digital currency – an idea that gets incubated on the wrong side of the tracks by three strangers who don’t necessarily fit the mold of “tech entrepreneurs,” and a crooked FBI agent who will go to any length necessary to take them down.

Edi Gathegi

Martin Freeman plays FBI agent Phil Rask, specializing in financial crimes. Rask crosses paths with Nick Talman, played by Adam Brody, a sharp and intelligent financier at a boutique firm in Miami, but it’s not Talman that Rask is after–it’s his father. Nick has a problematic relationship with his wealthy, irresponsible father, who disappears and forces Nick to stash his ill-gotten gain—instead of going to the FBI, he decides to hide the money by investing in a tech startup pitched by the unorthodox Izzy Morales, a tech whiz out to change the world, played by Otmara Marrero. Edi Gathegi also stars in the series as Ronald Dacey – second-in-command of the local Haitian gang. When Ronald discovers that the money he left with Nick’s father has vanished, Ronald moves on to the next best thing—his son. An unexpected partnership forms between Ronald, Nick and Izzy which culminates in a dangerous alliance that make them a target for Rask (Freeman), who plans to take a journey to the very pit of darkness to take down the unsuspecting trio.

StartUp - Edi Gathegi as Ronald Dacey

Black film.com recently spoke with Gathegi, who’s best known for his roles in “Twilight,” “X-Men: First Class” and NBC’s “The Blacklist.” 

How would you describe Ronald Dacey?

Edi Gathegi: Ronald is the moral compass of the show. He’s a very complex man who has a lot at stake. He’s a family man who would do anything for his family and he actually does it.

Having done a fair share of TV shows and films, what was the attraction to doing this?

StartUp 3 Edi Gathegi as Ronald Dacey

EG: I wanted to do a streaming show. It was picked up for 10 episodes off the back. That’s exciting for an actor. It means that I would be employed for a couple of months out the gate. For a streaming service, the future is headed in that direction with all the great content that Hulu and Amazon and Netflix have. I think Crackle is starting to make a name for themselves in that regard. Not to mention, I get to work with a wonderful cast that included the great Martin Freeman.

StartUp poster 3

To get into character, did you work on the accent?

EG: I used a Floridian accent. I didn’t grow up in the most wealthy neighborhood, so that accent is me at 17 before my theater training and Master’s Degree from NYU.

There’s a scene in the series where towns are described like Little Haiti and other parts of Miami. Was that something made up for the show or is it close to accuracy?

EG: Little Haiti is definitely true and part of Miami and the character Izzy Morales, who created GenCoin, was born and raised in Hialeah, the Cuban community of Miami. That’s also where Otmara Marrero, who plays Izzy, is from. I think she was either born there or grew up around there. She was authentic to that area that she got that job over every other actress.

StartUp - Otmara Marrero, Edi Gathegi and Adam Brody

How was working with the cast?

EG: This cast was very interesting because we had a great supporting cast. There’s my community, there’s Adam’s family life and Otmara’s family life. So each of us had our own little world but the four of us got along so well. Adam, Otmara and I are sort of a unit and Martin has his own thing but he’s also part of the unit. We all got along so well and it was a great dynamic. Then we had other actors like Wayne Knight and Aaron Yoo, who’s a good friend of mine, came on and played good roles. The list goes on and on but everyone was fantastic.

How tech savvy are you?

EG: I’m that tech savvy at all.

Edi Gathegi 2

Are you part of the social media world with Twitter, Instagram or Snapchat?

EG: Yes. I’m a social media user with Twitter and Instagram. I’m nowhere near as knowledgable to create an app. I think that’s a hard hustle. Just like anything in life. You have to dedicate time and resources to find or create an app that connects with people.

As you mentioned earlier, streaming services are growing. What’s going to make Startup appealing to folks to get them to look at Crackle?

EG: Crackle is known to industry insiders but it’s relatively unknown to people outside of that. It’s a risk. Who knows how it’s going to do but the hope is that our product that we deliver is so good, thanks to the showrunners, cast and the crew, that if people who will look at it and like it, they will get the word out.

Edi Gathegi as Mr. Solomon in The Blacklist

How’s working on The Blacklist as Matias Solomon?

EG: I’m not going to spend too much time on The Blacklist. I think that ship has sailed. They did a wonderful thing by adding my character to its spinoff, The Blacklist: Redemption. I will be a series regular on that and we start shooting that later this year. The first season should have 8 episodes and then we’ll see what goes from there.

Edi Gathegi 3

What’s great about TV that you take on these series?

EG: I love movies but there so many amazing products and development on television that are available to watch online and at home. There are over 400 TV channels and there’s a lot of good content where filmmakers are going to TV because there are good stories to tell. It’s very hard to get a medium size movie financed and shot. I just finished a feature film with Keke Palmer called ‘Pimp.’ It’s an independent film that will hit the festival circuit next year but I like to do it all and I like to stay busy.

Clip – Izzy’s GenCoin Pitch

Clip – My Code is the Shit

Clip – ‘This Ain’t the Boy I Raised’

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