For many people, work unfortunately takes them away from their family. For Roland Buck, work reunited him with his.
Buck plays Dr. Noah Sexton on “Chicago Med.” Now in its third year, the NBC drama follows the ups, downs, fortunes, and misfortunes of personnel in a Chicago hospital. “Chicago Med” films on location in Chicago and this means that Buck is back in familiar territory. “I was born in Chicago, I was raised in Texas in a suburb of Dallas. My dad was an electrical engineer and he had a job that took us out there,” Buck told the AFRO.
Hugging the southwestern shore of Lake Michigan, Chicago has an average temperature of 21 degrees in the winter. However, Buck doesn’t mind.
“The weather you know it’s cold but it’s great because a lot of my family is there. I didn’t get to grow up with them. I only came back in the summers. I was jealous of other kids that got to spend time with their grandmas and their cousins all the time. But I think it’s a blessing because I’m experiencing it now as an adult. I get to experience it in a different way.” Buck is the second youngest of six, “I have four sisters and a brother. I grew up with two of my siblings Jasmine and Jessica. The other siblings we had different moms and they lived in Chicago.”
After family, food is probably the next best thing and Buck has also enjoyed this perk of working in the “Windy City”, which is known for some of the best deep dish pizza in the country. “There are a lot of good places to eat” He says, “Which is sometimes good and bad ’cause I gotta fit into that doctor’s coat.”
An ensemble program like all the other Dick Wolf vehicles, “Chicago Med” stands out as much more diverse and less strictly procedural. Co-starring S. Epatha Merkerson (“Law and Order”), Yaya DaCosta (“Whitney”), Marlyne Barrett (“Hitch”), and Brian Tee (“Jurassic World”) this is an up close and personal look at the lives of the characters.
Buck believes he shares some characteristics with his character Noah. “I’m persistent just like him. Also, just thinking outside the box.” Indeed, the character is a budding tech entrepreneur when he isn’t saving lives or trying to convince Dr. Reese to go out with him.
Buck has been incredibly busy appearing in a number of high profile projects. He’ll appear with Chris Rock in Netflix’s “The Week Of” in 2018 and recently completed the role of Rafael Martin in the National Geographic series “The Long Road Home.” Based on the book by journalist Martha Raddatz, “The Long Road Home” chronicles an event called Black Sunday in which American forces occupying Iraq are ambushed in a Baghdad neighborhood in 2004. Martin, Buck says, “Is an ex-gang member who had a choice between prison and the military and he chose the military to turn his life around. Now he’s fighting for his life on foreign soil.”
He describes “The Long Road Home” as going, “Back and forth from the battle on foreign soil to the battle on the home front with the wives and the children and what they’re going through.” In a profession where so much of what you do is determined by the whims and desires of others, he feels lucky to be a part of a project like “The Long Road Home.” “You don’t get to as an actor kind of pick and choose your projects. I was given the opportunity to create art that has meaning.”
A self-described wild child who, “played sports and played pranks on people and just liked to have fun and make people laugh” Buck was inspired at an early age to become an actor after watching Rick Famuyiwa’s 1999 comedy drama “The Wood.” “I watched it,” Buck said, “and it was so much fun. I was like ‘Wow, hold up, is this a job?’ I asked my mom ‘Can I do this?’ She was like ‘Yeah, you can do anything’.” Fearing ridicule from his peers, he kept that dream to himself until it was time for college where another piece of advice from his mother carried him through.
“My Mom she told me something that really stuck with me. She said, ‘You’re going away to college. You’re going somewhere that you can really re-invent yourself. You can change your name, you can do whatever you want.’ It gave me an opportunity to tell you who I am before you tell me who I am and who I’m not. So, from then on I was like okay, ‘I’m an actor.’”