Photo Credit: Vinni Ratcliff
Q. What are some of the recent projects that you've been working on?
A. I did three films before Crossover so everything is kind of rearranged. I did a film called The Beautiful Ordinary, I did a film called Cutting The Mustard. I did a film called Divine Intervention. These are all films not scheduled for feature, they're all independent. They're not films that have gone to feature yet and neither are there any dates for them.
Q. What can you tell us about the premise for the film Crossover and about your character?
A. Crossover is a coming of age story written and directed by Preston Whitmore. It's about two young dudes who are best friends who are both extremely talented in basketball but have two different ambitions. My character, Noah Cruise, is an aspiring doctor. His mother passed away and his grandmother who raised him wants him to go to medical school. He's extremely talented in the game of basketball and gets a scholarship to UCLA. He wants to use his scholarship to go to med school while all the while the neighborhood, friends and his girlfriend want him to go and play pro basketball. He just wants to study medicine and I think that's what attracted me to the script. It's so often not told, it does happen, that a black man saving lives is not noble enough versus going to the pros. I felt that is what made me want to be involved with this script.
Q. Your character is quite talented in basketball, was this natural skill for you that you were showcasing or did you have some training?
A. It's a little bit of both, I have been playing basketball since I was a kid. It's one of my favorite sports so I am very in tune with the game of basketball. I could already play but we had to go to training to define our skills that we already had, that I already had. We had train because it was a different style of basketball versus the regular game. I had to go and train and play with these guys who are known for making a fool out of you.
Q. You're obviously in great shape as well, did you have to do any training for your body?
A. No, I work out on my own and that has nothing to do with basketball. That has to do with cardio and being able to run up and down the court constantly. I play basketball and training was hard, but it wasn't hard to a certain point, I was sore but I'm an athletic dude so it wasn't really that hard or far fetched versus me having to train on roller skates for the film Roll Bounce. Now that was insane, I had never skated before. Basketball, when I do that on my own free time, I love it. The only thing I didn't like was waking up in the morning. I don't play basketball at nine or ten in the morning, so waking up in the morning was probably the hardest part of training.
Q. What was the most challenging part of your role in Crossover?
A. The basketball. Because the acting part, I have been doing that for twenty years. This character was nothing like me in the sense of, yeah I'm a sensitive guy, but I'm not like that. He was a little extreme, but he rides motorcycles and I ride motorcycles. The character, with dealing with his past, wasn't really a stretch for me. The hardest part would be the basketball because of the demanding time and hours we had to put in. It was eight in the morning until about one in the afternoon, that's a lot of hours dribbling that ball. So, I would say the training, but the acting part wasn't bad.
Q. You get to work opposite of Wayne Brady in the film. He is known for his comedy, what was it like getting to work with him in a dramatic setting?
A. This was my second movie with Wayne Brady, he was in Roll Bounce too, but in this movie we interacted more. Roll Bounce had more of a comedy sense to it. Wayne Brady to me as a talent, as a whole, I love Wayne Brady. I think he's great, it was cool to see him in a different light. Some people bought it, some people didn't. I personally thought he did a great job and he's probably one of the nicest dudes in the industry, I have love for Wayne Brady.
Q. Why should viewers take the time to check out the film?
A. Because of the positive message for anyone as far as education and schooling. It's a fun, feel-good film, it's a semi-love story. There's a little love story in there, with my character and Eva Pigford's. There is some betrayal and some deceit, these are the different colors for people to see. Everyone knows someone like the characters that we play. You've got the nice guy, you've got the egotistical basketball player, you've got the woman who is just a bitch, you've got the cool girl with her head on straight. You've got the sports agent, you've got different characters that people know or have come across.
Q. Do you have a latest obsession? Is there any activity, music group, book or sport that you're really into?
A. It's frustrating out here trying to let Hollywood pick roles for you. That's my new obsession, trying to figure out what I want as far as a unique idea. I'm very critical and a perfectionist. I will write stuff and trash it, I guess just coming up with a project.
Q. What would you like to say to your fans and supporters?
A. Anybody who has been following me since I was a little kid, or seen me here and there, they continue to watch and support things that I do, all I can say is thank you. That's what keeps me going, this business has ups and downs but the people who are out there who genuinely like what I do and enjoy watching me, that means the world to me. That's going to make me a better actor and it's going to make me keep going, I appreciate it.