‘Echo’ actor Dannie McCallum’s origin story starts in Edinburg

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Dannie McCallum is pictured on the red carpet on Jan. 10, 2024, outside the Regency Village Theater in Westwood, Los Angeles, California. (Courtesy Photo)

Dannie McCallum’s origin story begins in Edinburg.

It’s where she raised pigs in FFA, played sports, was a self-described nerd and took her first steps on a theater stage.

Now, the 29-year-old actor portrays Maya Lopez’s inspirational Choctaw ancestor Tuklo in Marvel’s “Echo,” streaming on Disney+ and Hulu.

“I’m so fortunate to have grown up in the Valley,” McCallum said. “It’s a wonderful place to raise children. I try to get home as much as possible.”

McCallum’s parents are Raul and Laura McCallum, Edinburg North High School math teachers and athletic coaches. She is a 2012 ENHS alumna.

“My parents were always really confident in me,” she said. “Had they tried to tame me as a child, I would have absolutely followed their lead. But they really did just let me be a kid, and let me explore, and said, ‘You can do anything and be anything.’”

McCallum took that advice and ran with it. While attending Texas State University, she had her first experience on a set, as an extra in a “Hunger Games” film in Atlanta.

Her biggest dreams include embodying another on screen.

“As an actor, my job is to mirror the human experience. That doesn’t go for the kind of human I am — I love when it’s nothing like me. If I can step out of my shoes for a bit, that’s my favorite kind of project.”

The artist, who grew up identifying her Mexican roots and Scottish bloodline, also looks ahead to the possibilities for her in film and television.

“We’re coming into a time when diversity in this industry is so welcome,” McCallum said. “As much as I want to highlight where I’m from and who I am, there’s something really important about an audition for a part that’s no ethnicity.”

She said she’s also looking for projects that are “outside the box,” specifically when it comes to the differently abled.

“My brother is disabled,” McCallum said. “We need to get over the stereotypes about what disabled looks like.”

In the future, watch for McCallum in the Robert Zemeckis film “Here,” starring Tom Hanks and Robin Wright, which is expected to be released this year.

Dannie McCallum attended Edinburg North High School. (Courtesy Photo)

Five Things with Dannie McCallum

>> All-time favorite place in the RGV: “I guess Edinburg North. My parents are still coaches and teachers there. I grew up running around the halls and eating all the snacks in the teachers’ lounge. That school raised me.  Or the skate park near by house.”

>> RGV food you crave the most: “Oh my gosh, honestly  it’s Mexican food or it’s barbecue. My dad makes excellent barbecue. There’s also breakfast tacos! The Laredo Taco Company raised me in high school: a Q taco with bacon. (The Mexican food in LA) is still great, but it’s not what we’re used to. And Whataburger, of course.”

>> One way you make LA feel like home: “When you first move somewhere and you get a job and you’re working to save money to make sure you can survive  my community became my coworkers. But also going to church out here. I’m not a partier.”

>> The part of this job you could do without: “I’d leave the ‘no’s and take the ‘yes’es, but in reality it’s what builds your tolerance in this industry. There’s a time when you go into the room and everything disappears, and you’re really in it  those are the ones you go, ‘Wow, I felt that.’” It’s all a learning experience. You win or you learn.”

>> Your dream job/role: “I really love drama pieces and I really want to do something that challenges me as an actor, to really sink my toes in. I would love something that I have to transform for  I would like to just play a human, without any labels.”