Later this month, Donovin Miller will be playing Lino in the new Nancy Drew spin-off series of Tom Swift on The CW, where he will be acting alongside a cast including Tian Richards as Tom. Donovin’s other work includes joining Series 2 of the Disney+ show Diary of a Future President as CJ, playing Wes in Chicken Girls and Rooney’s Last Roll and he was part of the podcast series The Burned Photo. We caught up with Donovin, who tells us about his upcoming role of Lino in Tom Swift, joining Series 2 of Diary of a Future President and filming for Chicken Girls and Rooney’s Last Roll.
You will be playing Lino in the new series Tom Swift on The CW, can you tell us about the show and your character?
Tom Swift is a show that tells the story of a genius inventor and all of his endeavors from creating futuristic tech to living the best 20-year-old life that any other person would dream of. Lino, his adoptive brother, looks up to Tom as any younger brother would to their older brother. While inventing is more Tom’s forte, Lino’s gift is in his athleticism. Lino can pick any sport he wishes to without batting an eye and be flawless at whatever sport it may be. While some of Tom and Lino’s interests may be different, Lino still always wants to be around to help Tom and be included in his adventures.
Was there anything that drew you to the role and what is he like to play?
I would say the thing that myself and Lino immediately clicked with was his overwhelmingly positive and fun-loving nature. Lino is constantly in a good mood and tries to lighten the mood whenever he can with the swift squad and almost acts as a positive grounding point within the group. Being able to step into the life of Lino is a blessing, there are challenging moments that Lino presents to me but I love every second of it. Lino is the person I wanted to be when I was 16, and even now, one of the staple attributes of Lino and pretty much the entire cast is his style, and I enjoy pulling some stylistic choices from the show into my actual wardrobe in real life.
How was it working with the rest of the cast, which includes Tian Richards as Tom?
This cast couldn’t have been more welcoming and I’m so grateful to be a part of it. Although I am the “baby” on set with me typically being the youngest, I am included in so much and I feel comfortable and welcome, and they share some lessons and stories with the intention of helping me grow to be the best person I can possibly be.
How much did you know about Nancy Drew before booking the role and what do you enjoy most about being part of the new spin-off?
One of the most monumental things about being a part of this show is being a part of it from the very beginning. Up until Tom Swift, I had not been a part of the very beginning of a brand new show. It truly gives the entire production crew and cast a family feels to it, and I look forward to growing with all of the wonderful people who made this possible.
Why would you recommend watching Tom Swift and who do you think the show will appeal to?
I would recommend Tom Swift to anyone who is looking for an adventurous show with lots of twists and thrills. If you enjoy edge of your seat drama with some light comedy mixed in, this is the show for you. I would also say anyone who loves the art of invention and sci-fi style shows, here on Tom Swift, we have a lot of that to offer.
Last year, you joined the cast of Diary of a Future President as CJ in Series 2, what was he like to play and how was it on set of a Disney+ series?
Playing the character CJ on Diary of a Future President last year was quite the adventure. There was a very heavy emphasis on the “cool” and “laid-back” high school kid and it was a lot of fun to play around with that on the set and make different choices to bring the essence of CJ to life. Being a part of a Disney + set was unlike anything I had experienced prior. I was definitely intimidated by it all but the crew and cast were all work-driven which inspired me to step up to the plate and ultimately do what I was brought there to do.
What are some of your favourite memories from filming Diary of a Future President?
One of my fondest memories from Diary of a Future President was when I stepped out onto the “Night League” set for the first time, and I literally felt like I was in the scene of a movie and I was watching it from like this crazy third-person view. It definitely fulfilled one of my elementary school fantasies of what I dreamed high school to be when I got older, and it was just cool.
How did you find the experience filming for Chicken Girls and Rooney’s Last Roll as Wes and how was it having this as your first regular character?
Playing Wes in both Chicken Girls and Rooney’s Last Roll was an extremely enjoyable experience. The entire cast clicked with one another and it felt like one big group of friends having a good time. We were given a lot of creative freedom and it felt like I was making a show that I would’ve watched when I was younger and wanted to be a part of.
Do you have any stand-out highlights from working on Chicken Girls?
My favourite moments from my time on Chicken Girls were the press and content days. It was just a collective day of fun photoshoots and recording fun videos in our own time. I feel like I got to know my castmates the most on those days and had tons of fun.
Where does your love of acting come from and how did you start?
My love of acting comes from my childhood. I modelled a lot when I was younger and, while I loved modelling, I felt like I wanted to do more related to television and film. I initially started with improv, which really sparked my interest in the craft, and following that I did a lot of theatre. My love and appreciation for the craft continued to grow as I grew within it and I continue to develop my passion and love which drives me to become better every day, and it is catalysed when I am working.
How do you like to spend your time away from your career?
I really enjoy driving on my free time. I am an avid car guru and I appreciate spending time on a really nice canyon road driving a fun car for a good amount of time in a day. I also enjoy writing from time to time depending on the mood I am in and I’m currently trying to establish a reading habit for myself.
What are some of your favourite TV shows and films to watch?
My favourite films to watch are anything done by Quentin Tarantino, from Once Upon a Time in Hollywood to Pulp Fiction. The films are so immersive and enjoyable and I also feel I learn a lot about a great performance when I watch these films. The characters are all so personalised and diversified by the actors and I admire the actors’ ability to create such a strong character. Tarantino’s ability to create such monumental films that many look to for inspiration is admirable at the very least.
We understand you are part of the podcast series The Burned Photo, how did this come about and what was it like to record?
I did indeed make an appearance in the podcast The Burned Photo, where I voice a young boy. The story of this young boy was heartbreaking and very moving to record, and although I was not on camera, I feel I took on all of the emotion and embodied the pain that laid within the character.
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