Dexter Darden Talks Hags’ Mission In ‘The Binge 2’ & How He’s ‘Bonded’ With Eduardo Franco (Exclusive)

Dexter Darden talks about the 'blessing' of returning for 'The Binge 2,' honoring 'Half-Baked' in the upcoming sequel, and more.

Reading Time: 5 minutes
Dexter Darden
View gallery
Image Credit: AFF-USA/Shutterstock

Dexter Darden isn’t holding back. The actor currently stars in Hulu’s The Binge 2: It’s A Wonderful Binge, the sequel to the 2020 film The Binge. HollywoodLife spoke EXCLUSIVELY with the actor about getting the chance to reprise the character of Hags.

“Anytime you get a sequel, if there’s not a superhero attached, it’s a blessing, right? For us, we were like this little niche comedy that came out on Hulu that we hope people liked and appreciated and found funny. So the fact that you guys watched it enough to come back and give us a second chance to do it again, it’s truly a blessing,” Dexter said.

Dexter Darden
Dexter Darden in ‘The Binge 2.’ (Hulu)

No matter what shenanigans or adventures Hags pursues, Dexter loves that “he leads with that word: love. Everything he does is out of the kindness and the purity of just wanting to make everybody around him happy, whether it’s setting up the prom-posal for Griffin or taking Andrew along with his journey so that his parents don’t like to have their little crazy things, or whether it’s engagement and trying to get on one knee and ask his girlfriend to be his fiancee. He’s trying to do it all out of the love. I think that’s the best thing. I learned a lot from Hags, to be honest.”

Dexter gets to work alongside Stranger Things star Eduardo Franco again in the sequel. The actor calls Eduardo one of his “best friends,” and there was never a dull moment on set with these two actors.

“We’ve bonded really since The Binge, and I love him like a brother,” Dexter continued. “We already have so many inside jokes because we’re talking all the time on the phone or talking about this recent video game that dropped. So he’ll make an obscure reference on camera, and I just won’t stand a chance. I’ll just be like what, where did that even come from? That’s the cool thing about Hags in this movie is creating those spaces for geniuses like Eduardo Franco to be able to do what he does, you know what I mean? There is nobody who looks like him, who acts like him, who delivers like he does. So having a chance to play scenes alongside of him and work with him is always a blessing. It’s so fun because you just never know what you’re going to get.”

Dexter has another sequel in the works, and it just so happens to be Half Baked 2, the follow-up film to the 1998 cult classic. Dexter plays JR, the son of Dave Chappelle’s character in the film. “We really want to do our best to kind of pay homage to the original and bring it back in a new, cool, creative way that isn’t cheesy, that isn’t corny, that isn’t campy, but that honors the iconic-ness that is Half Baked,” Dexter told HollywoodLife.

Dexter Darden
Dexter Darden and Eduardo Franco in ‘The Binge 2.’ (Hulu)

To prepare to play JR, Dexter watched a lot of Dave’s comedy. “He’s one of my top 5 entertainers of all time, whether it’s stand-up or film. I’ve watched a lot of him and kind of got the voice down a little bit and started kind of diving into what I felt like his son would be because it’s a beautiful amalgamation,” Dexter said. “It’s not just Dave. Rachel True is back as Mary Jane. She is my mom. Having Rachel with me, kind of helping me guide and navigate this space of what it was like doing the original and that mystique that was on set that Dave was bringing that you guys were bringing as a cast that made it so special. Rachel really, really played a pivotal role in helping me stay grounded in who I wanted to be.  I have great cast mates in this movie with Moses Storm and Ramona Young. The three of us really have some great chemistry.”

But Dexter’s not done yet. The Maze Runner alum is also starring in the upcoming Disney+ film Chang Can Dunk. Dexter grew up playing basketball, so he’s got a few skills up his sleeve.

Chang Can Dunk is directed by Jingyi Shao and stars Bloom Lee and myself. Bloom plays this high school sophomore who wants to learn how to dunk a basketball before this, the year is over. I play his coach who’s trying to teach him how. It’s a beautiful coming-of-age story. It’s so much deeper than just trying to learn how to dunk a basketball. It really opens up the world in terms of the culture of what basketball means to so many different people in so many different ethnic backgrounds,” Dexter revealed.

Dexter Darden
Dexter Darden in April 2022. (AFF-USA/Shutterstock)

Prior to these new projects, Dexter starred as Devante in the Saved by the Bell revival. Despite critical acclaim, the show was canceled after two seasons. “What we had was definitely special in the sense of the cast we had, the talent that we were bringing to that show, and the topics of conversation that we were approaching, were extremely unique and important,” Dexter explained. “It’s unfortunate that Peacock had to part ways with us and, hopefully, it can find a new space to exist. But right now, you can still catch it on Peacock and watch those.”

In addition to his various new roles, Dexter also got engaged to JoJo in December 2021. The actor revealed the latest on wedding planning. “We’re definitely taking some time. She’s working on music. We’re just taking some time to let the season pass. Let’s get this work done. Let’s do what we need to do for each other and ourselves, and then we can get back to the hoopla and the festivities,” he said.

More From Our Partners