Just call him Pretty Boy Richard.
The reformed gang banger, hailing from Los Angeles, California, is a familiar face in Hollywood, ever since his innocent 1998 Cousin Skeeter Nickelodeon role and goofy Arnez character on One on One. The 32-year-old’s latest film, Chocolate City, has the ladies everywhere feenin’ in anticipation for its May 22 release.
Upping his game to the extreme, Ri’Chard is ditching his straight-laced demeanor and taking his talents to the pole as a struggling stripper in Paramount’s latest sensual feature flick alongside fellow eye candies, Tyson Beckford, Ginuwine, Darrin Henson and Michael Jai White.
Vixen caught up with the actor as he dished on what fans can expect from the movie, what makes it different from Magic Mike and what he looks for in a woman.
What can fans expect from Chocolate City?
Robert Ri’Chard: The movie is amazing. It’s the most entertaining film; it’s so clean, fun and sexy. It’s got great comedy to fights with something for everybody. I’m so honored to be on the film. It’s going to be everyone’s favorite movie.
What was it like playing a stripper?
To be honest, it was a little nerve wrecking because I was on stage with Tyson Beckford, the most famous international model and other real talent. It was a bit of a gut check because there was 400 women screaming on the other side of the curtain and I had to go out there and perform for them. It wasn’t a joke.
How does it compare to Magic Mike?
It’s like Magic Mike at Disneyland- we’re on the same boulevard. I’m a big fan of Channing [Tatum] because we worked together before on Coach Carter together. The same fans who enjoyed that movie will enjoy this movie. It has a different flavor and different taste but equally, if not more, entertaining. We keep raising the bar. Magic Mike XXL is coming out this summer and they’ll try to raise the bar and when our sequel comes out we’ll try to raise the bar. Then they’re be a Magic Mike vs Chocolate City super movie! Like Chocolate Magic!
What are the qualities you look for in a woman?
The three most important qualities are the three S’s; smart, sweet and sexy. You’ve got to have a good head on your shoulders.
What is your biggest turn on?
Confidence. We all come in different shapes and sizes- I’m not 6’7 foot tall, although sometimes I feel like it walking through the mall, but you just got to wear whatever you got the best you can. Some girls have curves, some have big heads, but whatever you got, you got to embrace yourself and be confident. It’s something you can’t wash off. That and class, because you can pay for school but you can’t buy class.
What is your biggest turnoff?
My biggest turnoff is everybody’s biggest turnoff, no matter who it is, you can’t smell bad. You got to maintain proper hygiene across the board.
What game show would you be really good at?
I’d probably be good at Jeopardy and Family Feud. Because everybody thinks I’m dumb, and they’re right, but being dumb has it’s advantages because you don’t over think things. Being ignorant does have its advantages.
Many fans know you best from our role as Arnez on “One on One.” Do you still talk to your former co-star Kyla Pratt?
Of course I do, I still talk to everybody. I stay in the zone. I love to go to work. I’m passionate about my craft. I love what I do and I want to have excellence because you get immortalized at the office. What I do at the office, people will see forever, so if I don’t bring it, I’m never going to be able to live that down. I take my work super seriously and I uphold everyone around me to the highest standards.
But as far as off the clock, I grew up being silly, never took myself too seriously and I love people so much. And that’s always been me.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to follow your career path?
Preparation is everything. You have to be the monster when nobody is looking. Look at Stephan Curry in the playoffs, who’s just murdering the game. What that comes from is being in the gym when nobody is watching with intensity. I go to work with that same mentality; if you’re sleeping, I’m working. If you’re eating, I’m working. I’m going for the top.
What else can we expect from you this year?
The Man in 3B, based on the Carl Weber’s New York Times best selling book, with Lamman Rucker, comes out this fall.
Another movie, titled Bolden, who invented jazz He was like R.Kelly, 100 years ago. He’s a schziospenzic, but he’s an amazing trumpet player who invented a genre of music. I play George vacay – a French clarinet player for a New Orleans orchestra, who’s invited by Bolden to join the band but ends up hating me because I’m better than him. But it’s a great movie that’s going to push technology like never before, like Avatar. The way they manifest his scho is out of this world.
Photo credit: Paramount