IAR EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Terry Crews Talks 'The SIngle Moms Club,' 'The Expendables 3' and 'Draft Day'

Friday, 14 March 2014 13:30 Written by  Jami Philbrick
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IAR EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Terry Crews Talks 'The SIngle Moms Club,' 'The Expendables 3' and 'Draft Day'

Terry Crews began his career as a defensive end in the NFL, but has gained fame in his life-after football as an actor in both comedic and dramatic films. 

He began his acting career appearing in Old Spice commercials and went on to star in such popular TV series as Everybody Hates Chris, The Newsroom, and Arrested Development, before landing his current role on the Golden Globe-winning series Brooklyn Nine-Nine. He has also appeared in a string of successful films including Friday After Next, White Chicks, Idiocracy, Get Smart, Terminator Salvation, Bridesmaids, and Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2. But it was his role as Hale Caesar in The Expendables and The Expendables 2, along with action stars Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jason Statham, and Bruce Willis, that made him a bona fide movie star. 

Crews will soon return to the NFL (sort of) in the football film Draft Day, which stars Kevin Costner and opens in theaters on April 11th. Then this summer he reunites with his action buddies in the highly anticipated The Expendables 3, opening in theaters on August 15th. The upcoming sequel not only stars Crews, Stallone, Statham, and Schwarzenegger but will also feature new franchise cast members Harrison Ford, Mel Gibson, Wesley Snipes, and Antonio Banderas. But first, Crews can be seen bringing the laughs in director Tyler Perry’s latest film The Single Moms Club, which opens in theaters on March 14th. 

The Single Moms Club revolves around five struggling single moms that put aside their differences to form a support group. They soon find inspiration and laughter in their new sisterhood, and help each other overcome the obstacles that stand in their way. In addition to Crews, the film stars Nia Long (The Best Man Holiday), Amy Smart (Starsky & Hutch), Cocoa Brown (Lakeview Terrace), Wendi McLendon- Covey (Bridesmaids), and Tyler Perry (Alex Cross). 

I recently had the absolute pleasure of speaking with Terry Crews about The Single Moms Club, as well as The Expendables 3, and Draft Day. The athlete turned actor discussed his new movie, working with Tyler Perry, singing, comedy, Cocoa Brown, The Expendables 3, working with his famous action movie co-stars, who he’d like to see join the franchise for a possible forth film, why Justin Bieber should play his son, and returning to football with Draft Day

Here is what Terry Crews had to say about The Single Moms Club, The Expendables 3, and Draft Day:

IAR: To begin with, as an actor, what's it like being on a Tyler Perry set? 

Terry Crews: It feels like a family. I've been a fan of Nia Long forever. Cocoa Brown was insanely wonderful. Wendi (McLendon-Covey) is always hilarious. We did Bridesmaids together. It's a cool set to be on. We had a ball. One thing that is so amazing is that Tyler is a one-man studio. That's crazy. You realize that this man writes it, he produces it, he directs it, and he distributes it. He can put out anything and it's nuts that he can take this thing all the way from the beginning to the end and put it out. I've never seen anything like it and the fact that he's an African-American that has basically bypassed the whole Hollywood system to make things his way, which makes it even more incredible!

It’s interesting that you say that because only a few people have ever been able to achieve that. There’s Oprah Winfrey of course, and Jay-Z, but Tyler Perry has really been able to do that too, hasn’t he?

Crews: Yes he has. But you know what? This is the thing. There are parallel universes. There are bands that sell out the Staples Center for several nights in a row and you’ve never heard of them. But the thing is that because Hollywood says, “Well, we don't know them so they don’t count.” Well guess what, they're the biggest things ever to the people who enjoy them. I think a lot of people are looking to Hollywood for validation. I played in the NFL. Then I went over to Europe and when I went there I realized I couldn't play in the NFL again. I realized that they don't give a damn over there. It's about something else over there. When I say parallel universes that's what it is. Tyler gets his audience. He gets his thing. He'll tell you that he knows the people who go to his movies, he knows what they want, and I'm with that. I'm all about being different things to different people. I have my fans from Everybody Hates Chris, my fans from Idiocracy, my fans from Brooklyn Nine-Nine, and my fans from The Expendables. So it's cool to be in like four or five different universes.

Can you talk about working with Tyler Perry as a director? Does he shoot a lot of different takes? Do you have an opportunity to improvise or are the scenes storyboarded and very structured?

Crews: He knows what he wants. I said, hey man, I'm going to go 100%, is that okay? If you need to pull me back, just tell me. On a scale of one to ten, if you tell me to give an eight, I'll give you that. If you tell me it's a five, I'll cut it in half. He was like, “Just go.” He doesn't do a lot of takes. It’s like Clint Eastwood School. He likes it to be really natural and if it feels too forced, he's done. He's that kind of guy. I knew to come on set ready. He totally expects you to know what you're doing. That's why he hires you. That's why he trusts you. You get the feeling his eye is on everything. This is a one-man studio. He's watching craft service, he's watching all the lighting guys, he's watching everything that's going on and he's cognizant of it all at the same time. Those are skills that have been honed over the years.

You're very funny in this film and you have some really hilarious moments. How much of those were scripted by Tyler Perry, and how much was you just putting your Terry Crews spin on them?

Crews: Tyler knew why he hired me. He kind of set up the template and he put the line down. He said, “Now go Terry, give it what you got.” I'm not one to shy away from holding the ball. When you get the ball, run with it. When I saw Tyler cracking up over at video village as he's watching the playback, I knew I had him. All you want to do is make your boss laugh. When he was cracking up he was like, “We got it Terry, dude you're killing it.” 

You have a few moments where you character sings in the movie, were you comfortable with doing that?

Crews: I sung in White Chicks, but when I sing it's for laughs. I can sing a lot, but it's always for a joke. I sung in Click with Adam Sandler. It is fun, but I can't really sing. It's like when Eddie Murphy sings. You go wait a minute, Eddie Murphy is singing? I don't think I'll have an album coming out anytime soon. But you know what, I'm not going to rule it out either. I'm all about entertainment.

Well, you have done it all. You've conquered sports, TV, movies, and comedy, so I wouldn't be surprised if you eventually make an album as well.

Crews: Well, if you’ve ever seen my Old Spice commercials, then you know I can sing too.

Was your chemistry with your co-star Cocoa Brown instant?

Crews: Yes, instant. We sparked right away. I always had been a fan of her because she has been doing the comedy circuit for years. When I got a chance to work with her it was great. It kind of reminded me of the first time I worked with Kat Williams. There's a magic that happens when you get to work with fresh, new, comic talent because they're risky, and they're ready to do things. That's me. I like to stay on that edge and just try something. If you fail we could just stop it and try it again.

I’m really looking forward to the upcoming The Expendables 3. In addition to yourself, and returning cast members Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, and Arnold Schwarzenegger, you welcome on board new cast members like Harrison Ford, Mel Gibson, Antonio Banderas, Kelsey Grammer, and Wesley Snipes. Did you have a chance to work with all of them?

Crews: I don't have scenes with everyone, but the thing is that I thought the series couldn't get any bigger. The first Expendables was like the biggest action movie of all time. Then the second one I was like, oh my God, it's way bigger. Now it's stratosphere level. This is in deep space now. We're way far gone from Earth. It's the biggest movie in the universe right now. When you look at all the talent, all the great moments, and I mean, Antonio Banderas is in this thing. Come on man, this is nuts! Wesley, Harrison and Mel too, I thought it couldn't get bigger but it got a whole lot bigger.

How do you top yourselves for a fourth film? Is there anyone that you guys haven't had in the franchise yet that you would like to see join for the next installment?

Crews: Yes, this thing could keep going. Steven Seagal, Jackie Chan, even Justin Bieber! I want to see Justin play my son. I'm telling you by Expendables 6 he's going to be my kid and I'm going to help him get his life together. Justin Bieber will be my son! I'm kidding of course. I said that one time and someone printed it. I'm just kidding guys.

Finally, you are also in the upcoming film Draft Day. What was it like getting back to your roots and appearing in a football movie?

Crews: This was the thing that was so special about Draft Day; it was a movie that had been officially endorsed by the NFL. There are so many movies where you have the “St. Louis Penguins” and it just doesn't hit you with the authenticity that the NFL brings. This thing is incredible, it's directed by Ivan Reitman and stars Kevin Costner. There are just so many great people in this movie. I was floored just to be involved. I always say this, but it's always my revenge on the NFL because when they cut you they feel like we're never going to see you again, goodbye. Now they’re forced to see me all the time everywhere. It feels good. It feels really good because a lot of times I'm the example to players that you know your life keeps going after football. The best things have yet to happen to you. You can't just think that being an athlete is the best thing ever, because it's a short career no matter what it is. I don't care if you're playing golf for twenty years that's still short, especially if you live to 70. You've got to do something else.

Well, Terry I wish you a long career in the entertainment industry. You are always a pleasure to talk to and thank you for taking the time to speak with me today. 

Crews: Thank you my man. Thank you so much sir!     

The Single Moms Club opens in theaters on March 14th.

The Expendables 3 is scheduled for release on August 15th.

To watch our exclusive video interview with Kellan Lutz about The Expendables 3, please click here

Draft Day opens in theaters on April 11th.

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