Who says you can’t have it all? Terry Crews has had an NFL career, a television career with two successful series, a decade-long film career with 30 films and counting, a big family and a happy marriage… and he still considers himself to be a ‘new guy’! Crews been spotlighted recently in his own BET reality show The Family Crews, but there doesn’t seem to be much chance he’ll overexpose himself. The fans just can’t get enough, and neither can Hollywood!
Even on a busy press day, Terry Crews’ energy beams through the phone with positivity and graciousness for his life. Engaging and ready for action, the actor shows no signs of slowing down as his new movie Lottery Ticket hits theaters tomorrow (August 20).
Hopefully the family film will follow the Number One box office success of The Expendables last week, which he also co-stars in… and why not get more people out to see him in Middle Men, which hit theaters two weeks ago? Can’t make it to the movies? That’s ok too, because you can catch Crews on his TBS series Are We There Yet?, which just got picked up for 90 episodes!
UrbLife.com found out how Terry Crews balances his crazy work schedule with family life, and he really does make it sound so easy!
You’re like the busiest man alive these days!
Terry Crews: It’s so crazy, I was just telling my publicist how I’m tired of telling people how great I am! [laughs]
You can back it up, so it’s not just talk!
Terry Crews: This is a dream come true for me. I’m a little kid from Flint, Michigan and to get these kinds of opportunities with these movies coming out, it’s beyond me and it’s awesome.
In Lottery Ticket you get to play your sinister role, but the character shows vulnerability. You don’t get that very much in movies like this one.
Terry Crews: I got that all to myself, I play this tough guy who all of a sudden has to show humility and it’s kind of cool. With my wife and kids I don’t feel like I have anything to prove, but once you have four daughters who have Barbies and you’re doing tea sets with them… I’ve been doing that for over 20 years and you can’t be tough after that.
You’ve worked with Ice Cube for a while now and your TV show Are We There Yet? has been picked up for another 90 episodes. With three movies this year and your television show, how are you balancing all of that with your family?
Terry Crews: With my wife you can’t say no, and one of our problems is I remember not working. It’s like you have a grandparent who can remember being hungry and they save everything, they say, “Don’t throw that away, you better eat that” because they remember what being hungry really was. People think they’re hungry, but they’ve never really been hungry. My grandmother remembers sitting in a house for two days when all they had was a sandwich.
That’s how I feel. I remember when no one was calling, and I used to pray and ask God for one opportunity. I remember just praying for an audition, I’d get the audition and not get the job and I’d have to go on another one. I was hurting, and now when jobs call and I get these offers, I get to do what I love. [Now] my wife is like, “You have to pull back and learn to say no.”
I only have one speed, so it’s kind of a wild deal where there can be too much of a good thing, but I’ve turned down offers and I’m so happy to have the ones that I do. Lottery Ticket, The Expendables and Are We There Yet? it’s been one of the best things to ever happen to me in my life.
You’re also in Middle Men…
Terry Crews: That’s a wonderful movie, but you can’t really adequately promote all three at the same time! [laughs]I’ll wind up saying something like, “You have to see Middle Expendable Ticket” and that just won’t work.
How do you feel about the message in Lottery Ticket?
Terry Crews: I love it, I’m a family man. With five kids I want a movie we can all go see that isn’t animated. I’m a big fan of family fare, there’s a reason these movies make money. One thing I love about this movie is the feel is like a Friday, but for everyone. It’s like a blend of Barbershop and Friday, done by the producer of both, Ice Cube. It stamps his brand which is unique, Tyler Perry has his brand and Ice Cube has his. This man has put on so many stars over the years, whether you look at Chris Tucker, Jamie Foxx, Donald Faizon, Katt Williams… to be a part of that thing is just awesome.
People have no idea what actually goes into producing something. The show Are We There Yet? took almost two years just so we could do 10 episodes. Everybody was waiting for that deal to implode… it takes patience, perseverance and hard work and a lot of people aren’t willing to do it. I know actors and rappers that aren’t willing to do it. One man, does it and he creates 100-200 jobs.
How is it for you working with the dynamics of the super big names versus the new guys?
Terry Crews: I always feel like the new guy myself, but I always like to tell people that Lottery Ticket is like a funny, urban version of The Expendables. [laughs]You take any of these stars to the mall with you and they’re going to get swamped. Walk into the mall with Bow Wow, Charlie Murphy and Mike Epps, Loretta Devine, Brandon T. Jackson… it’s big. These are big stars.
Naturi Naughton has been killing it from day one, and with these movies people love you forever. When I did Friday After Next people to this day still call me Damon because it’s something they love. I did Who’s Your Caddy?, Soul Plane, and I never forget that audience because they’re my bread and butter. When Hollywood decides the big budgets are done and that they don’t want to work with me anymore, I can always come back to my people and we can work.. It’s a wonderful thing, I always want to entertain them.
These stories transcend gender and age. On the surface it’s “Black cinema,” but people can relate to those in these movies even if they aren’t from the hood.
Terry Crews: Look at the fan base, when you go see Lottery Ticket you aren’t going to see an all-Black audience unless you’re in a Black theater. The audience is Hispanic, white, they want that experience. It’s a real universal story for everybody. It’s just like the essence of Hip Hop.
What will we see from you in the next year aside from Are We There Yet?
Terry Crews: My agent and I have been looking for an action comedy for some time now, you look at The Expendables being action and Lottery Ticket being as great comedy, I fit in both of those. It’s a weird deal, but I really have both and I would love to bring what I do to an action comedy so people can be satisfied in both of those. We’re looking for a project and we have some in mind.
I’m definitely doing an Expendables sequel which Stallone has already told me of and I was with it. I’d do it for free but my agent would kill me! [laughs]Sly doesn’t make a movie unless he can do five or six of them. I’m ready, and this is something I’ve been looking forward to a long time.
I’d love to do another movie with Cube, maybe a fourth Friday. If we could bring Chris Tucker back with Mike Epps, Katt Williams, Tiny Lister and everybody, that’s the one I’m waiting one. I want to get that done in the next couple of years.
Follow Terry Crews on Twitter @TerryCrews