'Lottery Ticket's Terry Crews Says 'Typecasting Is Good', Compares Sylvester Stallone To Quincy Jones

At first glance, Terry Crews may look massive and intimidating, but he’s really the guy who smiles warmly, says hello or cracks a joke or two. Casting directors get it. Over the course of his acting career he has often been stereotyped as the bully⎯but more like the goofy bully you can’t help but love.

Crews is enjoying a busy actor's working holiday; he's doing tough guy double duty in two films during the month of August; starring in the action-packed, number one movie in the country The Expendables, and the urban comedy Lottery Ticket in theaters now. And of course you can catch him weekly in the new TBS comedy, Are We There Yet? (check your local listings). Crews talked to VIBE about the correlation between starring in two polar opposite films, his thoughts on being typecast and battling Isaiah Mustafah, that 'other' Old Spice Guy. ⎯Starrene Rhett

 

VIBE: Word on the street is that Lottery Ticket is a new hood classic, like Friday.

Terry Crews: I got my whole career going in urban comedy and [I hope] it's [one of the places] where my career stays. One good thing about these movies, even if it’s a typical role⎯you get to enjoy [a career] longevity because people watch them year after year. People still come up to me about Friday After Next all the time. All these movies⎯Who’s Your Caddy and Soul Plane⎯they’re [modern urban comedy] classics. Lottery Ticket has the vibe of Barbershop. It’s just one of those movies that people can watch over and over again.

Was there a lot improvisation with the dialogue? What was your inspiration for playing Jimmy The Driver?

Oh yeah, totally. Originally in the script, [my character] Jimmy the Driver was just driving around town. But we decided to expand upon this experience that really happened to me when I was at a Super Bowl in Detroit. I met a guy that was working at a Super Bowl party and he quit in the middle of the party and just got a drink right there. And I was like, 'Hey man, ain’t you supposed to be working?' And this guy took his little work vest off and said, 'Man, this party too good!'" [laughs]. I said, 'Oh my God that’s Jimmy the Driver.'  I told [Lottery Ticket director] Erik White that story. In the movie, Jimmy was there to do a job —to watch these guys— then all of a sudden he becomes a part of the posse. And that’s what makes it so fun. It’s [taken from] stuff from real life and then we ad libed. A lot of the character was just made up on the fly and we just kept going and adding stuff.

It’s fun watching you play these types of roles. But in a way, do you ever feel like you’re typecast?

Yeah, but let me tell you, typecasting is good. Typecasting keeps you working [laughs]. Bill Cosby was typecast, but he’s in his '70s and he’s still paid. Typecast me as an action star, as a comedian, as a big funny dude⎯I have no problem with that. Now I’m in a place all by myself. [Casting] people are asking for a 'Terry Crews type' and it’s an honorable place to be. It starts off with doing things that everybody expects and then it goes to surprising people with what you do. Arnold Schwarzenegger did it. He was the big muscular dude but then people saw that he was funny [and could be the] Kindergarden Cop. He was typecast: as the cop, the tough guy, but not only is he the cop, he’s also the 'kindegarten cop.' So it’s about twisting all of these things that people expect and giving them way more in the end.

What would be your ideal role to play?

After being in The Expendables, one of the best action movies of all time, and then completing The Lottery Ticket that could be one of the funniest movies of all time, I see myself doing a great action comedy—I haven’t done that yet. [So far] I’ve either been in either the all-comedy world or all-action one but I’m ready to blend [the genres.] I’m just waiting for the right project. 

Describe was it like working with Sylvester Stallone in The Expendables?

It was awesome. Stallone co-wrote The Expendables, directed it and starred in it. I don’t know what else to compare it to other than being a musician and getting  [a chance] to work with Quincy Jones. This is one of the guys that invented the genre, [without him] there would be no action [films] as we know it. Stallone is also the face that launched a billion workouts. So to be  an action movie [with him], which is something he does best⎯and the fact that he picked me [to co-star in it]? Plus it’s not just him, it’s Schwarzenegger, Bruce Willis and Mickey Rourke? I can keep going [with the all-star cast.] It’s a dream come true. I literally had to pinch myself the whole the time. And my thing was to make sure I wasn’t the weak guy. I had to make sure I was ready.

What was training like?

It was hardcore. You wanted to make sure you were better in shape than the other guys. It was a healthy rivalry though. It wasn’t like people were trying to smack each other [down.] It was more like you and your sister you dress up and one wants to look prettier. Or you and your brother are wrestling on the ground and one of you is gonna try pin the other down first. I was just at an Expendables premiere in Vegas and it was like no matter what this movie does, we changed the world a little bit because we [all] got together. This is something you may never see in your life again. And this is a weird segue, but I have to take it back to Lottery Ticket, because I view it as a funny, urban Expendables.

[Laughs] Really?

Yeah, because you got all these stars, you got Bow Wow, Naturi Naughton, Brandon Jackson, Ice Cube, Charlie Murphy, Mike Epps⎯these are our guys and this is our all-star cast and there hasn’t been a big [urban] movie like this in a really long time. So it has the same feel as The Expendables to me in a lot of ways and I’m excited to be a part of both of these movies.

Speaking of competition, who would win in an Old Spice Battle between you and Isaiah Mustafah?

[Laughs] Isaiah would outwit me, he’s smarter than me. I’d come out screaming and hollering and Isaiah would say, “Look right there," then hit me with a pipe. I've gotta give it [up] to Isaiah, because the ladies like him. You can’t touch Isaiah because the ladies love him.

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50 Cent And Kenya Barris Developing TV Series Based On 'The 50th Law'

Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson is teaming up with actor and director Kenya Barris to create a television series based on Jackson's New York Times bestseller, The 50th Law, co-written by author Robert Greene. The Power executive producer and black-ish creator will join forces to create an original show that will stream on Netflix. No word on its premiere date or who has been cast for the series.

In true, 50 Cent fashion, Jackson took to his official Instagram to celebrate and share the news. "Netflix now you know this is a problem, Kenya Barris is no joke," reads his post's caption. "And if me and you ain’t cool, you ain’t gonna make it. 😆Let’s work! 💣Boom🔥 🚦GreenLight Gang #bransoncognac #lecheminduroi #bottlerover"

Jackson will serve as co-producer by way of his G-Unit Film & Television company which has a hand in Starz's Power Book II: Ghost and ABC's For Life. Barris will work alongside his #blackAF co-executive producer Hale Rothstein for the pilot and show's script under his production company, Khalabo Ink Society.

Speaking of Khalabo Ink Society, Barris' and his company will have a hand in a couple of upcoming projects: Kid Cudi's upcoming adult animated music series, Entergalactic and MGM's upcoming biopic on the career and life of comedy legend, Richard Pryor.

Fif's G-Unit Film & Television imprint, more original programming is on the way: Power Book III: Raising Kanan premieres this summer and Black Mafia Family has begun shooting its series debut. His current shows —Power Book II; and For Life—have been renewed for another season on Starz and ABC, respectively.

Jackson and Greene's The 50th Law is a semi-autobiographical book that tackles lessons around fearlessness and strategy while including inspiring stories from 50 Cent's life and tales from notable historical figures. It went on to be a New York Times Bestseller in 2009.

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Questlove Is Directing A Sly Stone Documentary

The Roots' own Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson will be directing a documentary about the life of Sly Stone, founding member of legendary funk band, Sly and the Family Stone.

The untitled feature film "follows the story of the influential artist, king of funk, and fashion icon Sly Stone, a musician who was breaking all the rules at a time when doing so was extremely challenging, even dangerous. The pressure of explosive mainstream pop success and the responsibility of representing Black America forced him to walk the fine line of impossible expectations."

“It goes beyond saying that Sly’s creative legacy is in my DNA," said Questlove in a press release. "....it’s a black musician’s blueprint....to be given the honor to explore his history and legacy is beyond a dream for me.”

“Sly’s influence on popular music and culture as a whole is immeasurable, and what his career represents is a parable that transcends time and place,” expressed Amit Dey, Head of MRC Non-Fiction. “Questlove’s vision, sensitivity and reverence brings the urgency that Sly’s story and music deserve, and we’re excited to be working with him to bring Sly’s story to life.”

The project will mark the four-time Grammy Award-winning artist's second directorial project (see his Sundance award-winning Summer of Soul) by way of his Two One Five Entertainment production company. Award-winning actor and rapper Common will serve as an executive producer via his Star Child Productions along with Derek Dudley and Shelby Stone via ID8 Multimedia. Derik Murray and Brian Gersh of Network Entertainment will serve as producers with Zarah Zohlman and Shawn Gee as producing partners.

The film's official title and release date has not been announced.

Earlier today in partnership with BET Digital and Sony Music's “This Is Black” Black History Month campaign, an animated music video for the group's 1968 hit single, "Everyday People." Revisit the classic song down below.

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FX's 'Hip-Hop Uncovered' Shows How Big U, Deb Antney, Haitian Jack, Bimmy & Trick Trick Hustled The Game With Street Savvy

Rarely do the strong survive long enough to tell their story in their own words, so bear witness to some of the most notorious deal makers and street shakers in FX's new docu-series Hip-Hop Uncovered. Hailing from hardcore locations all over the map, California's Eugene "Big U" Henley, Queens, New York siblings James "Bimmy" Antney and Deb Antney, Detroit's Trick Trick and Brooklyn's infamous Haitian Jack, represent the mind and the muscle of the rap world's background boss section, where the real money and moves are made.

After last week's two-episode debut (Feb. 12th) of a six-episode season, we have the cast member's thoughts on what it was like taping the show and why they participated in the series. Remember, these storied behind the scenes executives are normally in the background, but are now telling their important stories that weave their importance in the industry that shapes the world...hip-hop.“A true dime is steel-heavier than a dollar.” Watch Hip-Hop Uncovered Fridays at 10 pm ET on FX.

Deb Antney: "By doing the show, it was very therapeutic. I’ve opened up and let you get a glance of what is in my Pandora’s box. I’ve shed pounds, even inches. I’m truly grateful I’m here to tell any part of my story. Now get ready for my book Unmanageable Me.

The show allowed me to showcase my truth the way it needed to be told. The Debra Antney way!

Being Debra Antney was not always glitter or gold. Like most, I went through some things. I was defiantly a product of my environment, it made me who I am today! I always knew how to get myself to the top and that’s exactly what I did. Thank you for being a part of my journey."

 

 

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Big U: "I loved filming this show. It brought up so many memories going back to the house I grew up in, remembering those special moments with family. It was fun to sort of relive my past, but the best part was really seeing my evolution. I’m such a different man today than I was back then. I feel good that the world will get to see the person I’ve become. I did it because for the first time, I knew I could be in full control of my own story, especially since I’m an Executive Producer on the series."

 

 

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Trick Trick: "[Taping the series was] weird as f---!! Because, I’m not used to that type of attention. I’m very private, but oddly enough, it was somewhat... refreshing!

[I did the show] because Big U called.”

Bimmy:

"Well, I choose to do the series because I was told who was involved from the cast to an all-Black production. Taping was like me living my past all over again and we show[ed] the world how we really lived and the things we went through."

Haitian Jack: "Taping the series, to me, was definitely a great experience.  Everybody that was on there, [producers] Oby, Rashidi and everyone else were very polite to everyone and we got everything we asked for.  When you have a crew like that, it makes it really easy for you to work with it.

[I did the show because] I like when they started to say, 'Let’s dig back into the past,' because that’s what my life is all about, the past.  The fact that Big U came up with it and hit me up with it is another reason because I respect what he is doing out there with the kids and his foundation. So I didn’t mind teaming up with him and everybody else, Deb and Trick Trick, Bimmy. I think we have a great cast and I’m proud to be a part of it.  I think we did it because we all knew where hip-hop came from because we lived it.  We wasn’t just some people who just popped up out of nowhere and started blogging about it. We were there.  We watched the deaths, we watched the lifetime prison sentences.  We lost a lot of friends to death and prison. We all lived it.  They are going to get a good account of what went on in the 70s and 80s."

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