For years an African-American television and film staple, Boris Kodjoe is ready to crossover this coming fall with starring roles in Resident Evil: Afterlife and NBC’s new J.J. Abrams helmed sitcom Undercovers. Here, the 37-year-old actor speaks on going mainstream
VIBE: How exciting was it shooting the next edition of the Resident Evil series?
Boris Kodjoe: That was great. I had an amazing time shooting that. I worked with Mila [Jovovich] who is an amazing actress and her husband Paul [Anderson] who’s the director and we all ended up becoming friends. It was just a great experience. As an actor you never know what to expect on set but Mila is a superstar and a super human. Plus as an actor it was [a role] I never experienced before also.
Give me a little insight to your character.
His name is Luther West. He’s an ex-pro athlete who heads the crew of survivors in L.A. He’s the guy who she first meets when she encounters a small group of survivors as she searches the world for people who have not been killed by the zombies. So they team up and start kicking some ass.
Are you big into Sci-Fi or horror movies even?
Not really. It’s never really interested me. When I first got into the movie I started watching the other movies and getting psyched by all the characters in the video games and then I really got into it but before that I really didn’t know much about it.
“Nicole [Ari Parker]’s ride or die. That’s my teammate. Don’t play with her. She’s real!”
As many years as you’ve been acting this is your first potential blockbuster movie. Will this be the next chapter in your film career?
I think my chapter has started. The last one was Surrogates with Bruce Willis and it kind of started me in that direction. I’m sure that movie played a part in me getting Resident Evil afterwards. It’s funny; people have a hard time envisioning you in different roles so they usually hire you to play the same part you played in the last movie. We also shot this movie using the same cameras that James Cameron used to shoot Avatar.
Now you seem most excited about your new sitcom Undercovers. What about it has you so thrilled?
It’s a mixture between Mr. and Mrs. Smith and Hart To Hart. There’s action, suspense, romance… NBC gave us a perfect time slot. This is definitely a new chapter [in my career]. It’s really a dream project.
The trailer looks action-packed. Are you doing your own stunts?
Yeah I train for everything. As we travel the world I encounter different styles so everything from Capoeira to Kickboxing to Jujitsu. I’ve trained a bunch of different times in my life but never to this extent but it keeps me in shape so it’s great.
Besides the action, the script seems really engaging. I think you nailed it with the Mr. and Mrs. Smith and Hart To Hart comparison.
Yeah and it’s about the relationship of these two people. They’ve hit a rough patch in their marriage where it’s kind of slow after five years of being domesticated, and they have an opportunity to get back into the [C.I.A. agent] game. There’s a risk involved obviously because they’re married but at the same time it gives ‘em a chance to reinvigorate their relationship. So they go for it, travel the world and kick ass.