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Memphis native adds to ‘Hicksters’ and its healing-through-laughter focus

Jeremy Steven Walker

Jeremy Steven Walker, a rising Hollywood star, is taking on the big leagues by learning to master the creative arts while wearing multiple hats in the film industry.

Although Walker is a Memphis native who graduated from Germantown High School, he said the nine years he spent in Denver after high school is where and when he truly began to dabble into film and theatre arts.

“Growing up, Memphis wasn’t a city I felt was big on film and acting,” Walker said. “I think had I been exposed to it earlier, then I would’ve been able to get into the craft sooner.”

In 2008, Walker booked his first national commercial with Crocs, which aired during the Summer Olympics. Since then he has consistently booked roles and recently wrapped up the Pitsburgh-based comedy drama, “Hicksters.”

Filmed in and around the Steel City, “Hicksters” is Pittsburgh native Christina Wren’s (“Man of Steel,” “Batman v Superman”) newest comedy project.

It follows the adventures of Ruby Hadid-Robinson (Wren) and Alex Robinson (Walker), a millennial couple from New York whose lives take a turn when they lose their jobs around the same time they inherit Ruby’s late grandfather’s farm. As an interracial couple – Ruby is an Arab-American woman and Alex is an African-American man – they meet a slew of characters who learn, often through comedic blunders, that they have more in common with their new neighbors than they think.

“Unconscious biases, prejudices, stereotypes and racism all stem from fears of the unknown that have been ingrained in our lives,” said Walker. “You will see in a comedic way how we bring light to those issues on this show.”

“Hicksters” is a story about unifying, about striving to make life work as a millennial, about the current economy and cultural landscape. It is a quirky exploration of what it really means to be an American today.

“Our world is filled with so much love that should be shared,” Walker said. “Ultimately, Wren and her creative team want to highlight our similarities and how they pale in comparison to our differences.”

There are six episodes to the first season and after tuning in, I can say, Walker and Wren did a great job of nurturing their characters to reflect their humanity.

“It was really important that each character be human and relatable and have a clear point of view,” Walker said. “There’s not one perfect character or evil villain. It’s just a bunch of quirky people trying to live a life together.

“Wren wanted to make sure every character could be represented in a way that was yet funny and we could poke at all our quirks, but also honor the humanity in them.”

Walker believes that we all have stories worth sharing.

“‘Hicksters’ is an opportunity to explore the complexities of social exchanges,” he said. “Once we are open to share our stories, understand the foundations of our belief systems and open our minds to different perspectives, we can step forward, towards unity.”

The creative team decided the best way to share “Hicksters” was YouTube and www.hicksterscomedy.com. That way, there are no barriers to entry such as a membership or subscription – everyone has access.

“The best part about working and being a part of this project was the inclusion of diversity of people it took to create it,” Walker said. “Diversity is beautiful to watch.”

The creative team for “Hicksters” includes Wren (Muslim/white) and her husband, Demetrius Wren (a black man), who worked as a director, writer and executive producer. Writers Madilynn Beck (black) and Rachna Khatau (Indian) also added their own special comedic talents and personal experiences to the series.

(To keep up with Walker, follow him on Instagram @JWalkerScene. To catch up on “Hicksters,” visit youtube.com/twokidswithacamera or hicksterscomedy.com.)

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