Dexter Darden is a busy guy these days, with his newest project — a holiday-themed sequel to 2020's The Binge — next up for the in-demand actor. Dubbed It's a Wonderful Binge, the new film takes place sometime after its predecessor, and follows Hags (Darden) — and some of our other favorites from the first movie — as they navigate the first-ever Christmas binge. Part of the plot finds Hags hoping to pop the big question to his girlfriend Sarah (Zainne Saleh) which was something familiar to Darden, as he got engaged to his financè, singer JoJo, almost one full year ago.
Giving us a recap of The Binge, Darden explained, "In the first movie, the government has decided in 2032 to ban all drugs and alcohol, or any illegal substances, make them completely illegal for 364 days of the year. Except for there's one day when you can do everything completely legally. And so in the first movie, you kind of meet my character, Hags, who's 18 years old and really wants to binge with his two best friends, and he's going through this journey." He then shared a synopsis of the new film, revealing it can "completely stand-alone" from the first movie "because the journey follows us a bit, like maybe five years later."
Darden continued, "In the second movie, my character is now trying to propose to the girlfriend in the first movie, and my best friend, Eduardo [Franco] is trying to fix some things at home with his family. He plays Andrew. And it's really a beautiful moment just to kind of sit down and have a Christmas comedy because the binge is happening on Christmas Eve in this film, and just to know, well, on Christmas Day there's always drinks and fun libations flowing. But if on binge Christmas Day, it gets a bit crazy."
We asked Darden about the coincidence of both him and his character getting engaged at Christmastime, and he joked, "It was one of those kind of art imitating live kind of things. I read the script and I was like, 'Oh, okay. That's funny.' And then I was like, 'Oh, that's funny.'" He added, "And ironically enough, our DP on the film, Andrew, he was also the director of photography for the new House Party that's coming out, he was simultaneously getting engaged and planning that whole thing as well, so it was crazy."
The actor then explained that they shot the film about "a month after I got engaged," adding, "So it was still very fresh and new. She was coming out and visiting, and it was nice to show off the ring and do the thing." He also admitted that having already gotten engaged in real life helped him with capturing this updated version of Hags in the new film.
"I don't know if everybody's experience is like this, but I have never been engaged before," Darden quipped, "so this is my first time personally, you know what I mean? So for me, it was one of those things where I was able to provide how unique that experience was for me. So when that scene happens at the end, and I'm standing there in front of her family, and thinking about having that opportunity to do that, and what that can mean for somebody, I wanted to humanize that experience because it happens a lot around the holidays."
He continued, "People do Christmas and get engaged on Christmas. And so I wanted to just try to make it as real as I possibly could for the audience, and having a scene partner like Zainne in that moment was just really cool. The Binge 2: It's a Wonderful Binge begins streaming Friday, Dec. 9 on Hulu. The first film, The Binge, is currently available to watch at the streaming service.