Melvin Jackson, Jr. Interview: ‘This Eddie Murphy Role is Mine, Not Yours’
Melvin Jackson Jr. is nominated for Best Short Form Actor at the Emmys for playing himself in “This Eddie Murphy Role is Mine, Not Yours,” on which he also served as co-writer, executive producer and casting director. It was actually the potential for Emmy recognition that finally spurred Jackson to make the web series, having conceived of the project three years ago. “I told my friends, ‘Hey, I want to shoot this and submit it for Emmy consideration,’ because last year, a friend of mine — Kim Estes — won in the same category,” he explains in an interview with Gold Derby (watch the exclusive video above).
“It was going to be a short film and […] it’s better to watch it all the way through, but of course, for the purpose of Emmy consideration, I had to cut it up into six episodes,” Jackson explains. Having shot the series “like a movie” with a “4K look” over two days and having uploaded it to his YouTube channel in April, Jackson next had to personally get the word out about his Emmy eligibility. “I wanted to campaign like a politician, like I was running for office,” he says.
Jackson had “to think outside the box” for how to be “cost-effective” in campaigning. He recounts that “it was really a thought-out process” that included business cards, car decals, t-shirts, a social media push and “an Emmy campaign team of friends and family.” Jackson campaigned with his wife Kelly Jenrette, who had also self-submitted for consideration (as Best Drama Guest Actress for “The Handmaid’s Tale”). Both Jackson and Jenrette received their first Emmy nominations this year after over a decade each in television. “I come as me — genuine — and that’s important for people that get to know me, that vote for me — that they know me as a person first and then get to know me as an actor,” Jackson says about how his performance resonated with voters.
“This Eddie Murphy Role is Mine, Not Yours” follows Jackson as he takes extreme measures to land the lead role in an Eddie Murphy biopic, but the 119-second finale (38 seconds without credits) sees others still auditioning, leaving viewers to wonder if Jackson gets the part. “Yeah, he gets the role,” clarifies Jackson, adding that a potential second season would pick up sometime after he gets it. Jackson explains, “I’m trying to find a way to make it make sense without being overkill, so I think it’s just all about being creative with the process of it.”