From Tempe to Tinsel Town, Brandon Magee Continues to Thrive

Brandon Magee always brought the energy when he was a linebacker and outfielder at Arizona State. 

From 2008-12, the multi-sport athlete accumulated 231 total tackles, 24.5 tackles for loss, 10 sacks and three interceptions. He was also the heart and soul of the team in the locker room.

He played for the Dallas Cowboys, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Cleveland Browns after ASU. Magee spent time in the Boston Red Sox organization as well.

Those who knew Magee at Arizona State knew he would be successful in whatever he ended up doing. He’s proving that now in Hollywood.

Magee put that intensity on the field into a project that is near and dear to his heart. On Dec. 1, 2020, it was announced that “Redd Zone” would be produced by Westbrook Studios and released by Netflix. The movie tells the true story of Tia Magee, Brandon’s mother, who will be played by Jada Pinkett Smith. 

After Brandon’s best friend, Dominic Redd, was murdered at the age of 15, Tia housed and supported 17 boys within their community. Eventually, all of them attended college and four ended up playing in the NFL. 

“The last couple of months has been flat-out insanity,” Brandon said. “After the announcement, I had not had a normal day. It’s been boom, boom, boom…every single day. And with that schedule, it’s exciting. I love it. I’m thriving in it. I’m having more fun than I’ve ever had in any career, period, right now in Hollywood.”

Brandon Magee
Courtesy Instagram/@tiamagee_

The project tells Tia’s story and is dedicated to Redd.

“(Dominic Redd) changed my life forever,” Brandon said. “Everything you see me do on that field, in the weight room, in the media, giving back to community, the type of person I am, is because of him. He had that same impact on other guys that live at the house and outside the house in the community. So it’s a given: I was put here on Earth to tell my friend’s story.”

Hollywood Staples Join Redd Zone

Magee went to Hollywood with a concept ready for the film, but he recalls that the athlete card got him nowhere in Hollywood. As he was looking for supporters and mentors, he met a fellow Sun Devil who has been crucial to the project in Howard Burkons, who most notably was co-executive producer of the Denzel Washington film John Q.

The duo met at an ASU alumni event, and the writer and producer has helped Magee put his family’s story into a script and a film.

“Howard Burkons literally changed my life everybody involved with Redd zone. Without his guidance, there’s no ‘Redd Zone,'” Magee said.

“I did not know this guy. And he saw something in me early on where I didn’t know anything. He believed in me so much, that he literally taught me everything he knows and he’s still teaching me to this day.”

As Magee and Burkons fine-tuned the project, another Hollywood heavy hitter came aboard: Jada Pinkett Smith. 

For years, Brandon has always envisioned that this project would get made and their community’s story would be told to a wide audience. But even he had to take a second to process that a star of Pinkett Smith’s magnitude would star in the film.

“It took a couple of days for that to sink in, to be quite honest with you,” Magee said. “(My mom) was really excited about that. There is no actress that can play my mom Miss Tia better than Jada Pinkett Smith, I can guarantee that right now.”

Going from the Field to Film for Brandon Magee

While it was a completely new landscape for Magee when he got to Hollywood, he’s using the same tenacity and discipline needed on the football and baseball fields in the film industry. He’s used to working in front of his counterparts, but moving behind the scenes, when no one is watching, has made him reach new levels.

“In Hollywood, producers and writers are unseen. Nobody knows how hard they’re working,” Magee said. “So if you thought I worked hard, when I can see them, I’m working even harder by guessing that they’re working harder than me. So I’m always leveling up every single day. I’m out there doing something to improve my life. I will never be caught. There’s nothing that could stop me and no one. It’s a wrap. It’s about to be scary time out here. There’s nothing that could stop me.”

While he’s gone from Corona, California to Tempe, Arizona to the NFL and now Hollywood, Brandon Magee hasn’t changed. 

Though it’s a studio instead of a stadium now, expect the same impact he made on and off the field with the stories he’s going to tell.

Next Reads