May 2003
2 Fast 2 Furious : An Interview with Tyrese

Interviewed by Wilson Morales

2 Fast 2 Furious: An Interview with Tyrese

After blazing into the film industry with an electrifying performance in Baby Boy, musical talent Tyrese is back to on the screen again in 2 Fast 2 Furious, the sequel to the blockbuster The Fast and the Furious. Directed by John Singleton, his director on Baby Boy, Tyrese plays Roman Pearse, an ex-con who hooks up with his pal Brian OíConnor on a police case. In an interview with blackfilm.com, Tyrese talks about his role in 2 Fast 2 Furious and being in the film industry.


WM: Are you a big car enthusiast?

T: My thing was that Iím making a film debut, and I know outside of the performance I put on, people will come in see what Iím all about since Iím replacing Vin Diesel so I wanted to make sure that whatever Iím driving in this movie was sexy, right, and within my standards. I had to make a few adjustments before they put that on camera.


WM: What did you do?

T: I brought some rims that were added to the car I had so that it wouldnít just look ďniceĒ on camera. They were a lot of different sponsors for this film when it came to automobile stuff. They put a bunch of cars together and they designed them. They did the whole thing and everyone was pretty happy with cars except me. When I got there, my car was purple. It had an ugly paint job on it and had an ugly spider web on the hood of the car. The whole interior was bright yellow. So I told them that Iím from the West coast and Iím a Lakers fan, but ďGod DamnĒ. So I just had to turn it around. I got it painted. I told them what kind of paint job I wanted on it, so that was the outcome. I had them turn the yellow interior into silver and suede interior and had them do little details things that I wouldnít noticed and people that are into cars would notice. Iím just glad that Universal (Pictures) was understanding of my comfort zone when it came to the car and they turned it around before we put it on camera.


WM: Would you drive that car?

T: Yeah, I would. I like Mitsubishis but I donít own one, but the way I did that car, the paint job was so original and just crazy, and you can film it from any angle and would still look hot. I would drive that car in a heartbeat. I got one on the way.


WM: Do you identify with the character in the movie?

T: I identified with him a lot on a whole bunch of different levels. Heís got pains and certain things about his background I can relate to. I know where that type of pain comes from like somebody withholding information that police is coming to get you and you having to do 3 years. I can relate to kind of pain. I have never done time but I have a lot of friends who have and itís not easy doing time over someone elseís fault.


WM: Can you talk about working with John Singleton?

T: Thatís my dawg! He told me recently that we canít do another movie together anytime time soon. One of the lines in ďBaby BoyĒ was ďLeave the nest! Get out of the house! Leave the nest!Ē He told me that I have to leave the nest. Iím scared. The convenience of working with John was like going into the studio with R. Kelly. You can do a song like ďI believe I can flyĒ. You can do a fiesta remix and an ignition remix and do the world greatest. Itís no certain genre of music that you canít get from one man. The fact that he does his ghetto classics and he has these isms that he puts into all these movies that all of the hood and everybody loves is great; the fact that heís doing something thatís PG-13 and itís limited to the amount of curse words you can say, and itís got a bunch of different nationalities in there where everybody looks good is worth noting. Thereís nothing he canít do. Also, heís so focused on the storyline and making things believable and making sure all of the dots are connected that folks on the set look at him and say ďWhat the hell are you talking about?Ē Itís the subtle stuff that when you see it again, you will notice a scene where me and Paul are going at it by my trailer, and my character touches his ankle. Itís because although heís out of jail, he still feels the pain of having the ankle bracelet once there. The audience will see it. Thatís Johnís way and we love him for that.


WM: Did you do your own stunts on the film?

T: I did a lot. They thought I was crazy. When people see it, they will see they really contained themselves from talking bad about me. They may say I was excited about being out there but they wonít say I was crazy as hell, or that I didnít listen or wasnít following instructions well. We had a good time on all levels. There was so much pressure but yet I didnít feel one lick of it. When it came to the fight scene between me and Paul (Walker), John said ďIím not going to tell you how to do anything, and weíre not using any stunt people. Youíre going to have to work it out, and come to the set, prepared to fight.Ē And we had to fight.


WM: How was working with Ludacris?

T: Lu is going to shock a lot of people. Hell of a debut. He listens. Heís got a big voice, heís very aggressive, and he has a very strong presence. I wasnít in the theater when the film was being test screened but I heard he got a big applause when his character came on screen. It all makes sense. Me and him were on set and was like, ďThis is what it is all about.Ē Weíre musicians united and taken it to a whole new level.


WM: Were you a fan of the first film?

T: I never saw it. I donít watch movies. I donít ever go to the movie theaters. I have DVDs but itís because people are always at my house and I want something for them to do and watch. My ass hurts when I sit down for too long. Once you start watching too many movies and have too much information about stuff, then you donít come and everything seems brand new to you. Iím pretty open to anything and I try to have fun.


WM: Do you have a cut on the soundtrack?

T: Yeah. Me, R. Kelly, and Ludacris did a record called ďPick up the phone.Ē I had told Ludacris that there was no way in hell this soundtrack would go by without me and him doing a record together. I was in Chicago working with R. Kelly and in the middle of a session when I told him that me and Ludacris were doing a soundtrack and we could use him. He was like, ďOkayĒ and came on board. That was a really big deal for me cause I got a chance to work with the R & B King that I always wanted to work with. Now, he will produce my next album and weíre going to keep it really sexy.


WM: What do you want to do next?

T: I donít know if you ever get hold of scripts but I want you to know that on my next project I commit to, if you get a hold of the script someway, somehow and actually read it and enjoyed yourself, because if youíre going to take me out of my music for 3 or 4 months and throw me these big checks and big trailers or cribs while weíre filming, and take me out the world of music, the project has to be just ďstupidĒ. Itís got to be so on. All of the cards have to be lined up. Donít tell me that such and such is the executive producer and then you have a terrible director. Donít tell me that such and such wrote it and then we will be filming on the cusp of Ireland. Iím committed to this movie thing but I have very high standards to get me to commit to a project. I turned down upwards of 14-15 million dollars worth of movies because the projects had some elements of hoopla, but I couldnít do it. Iím not getting in that.


WM: Who do you want to work with in this business?

T: I ran into Director Michael Bay when I was out there in Miami. Martin Lawrence and Will Smith have really embraced me as a man, and as an up and comer whoever Iím going to be in this Hollywood thing that theyíre deeply in. Theyíre educating me on how to get into the $20 million dollars club. Thatís a club I really want to be in, with the fellas. They invited me to the set of ďBad Boys 2Ē a few times so I can check out the atmosphere and check out whatís it like filming a movie on that level. I got acquainted with Michael bay and Jerry Bruckheimer. I would like to do a film with them. I also love the work of Steven Soderberg and Antoine Fuqua.


WM: How do you keep the pretentiousness of the business away from you?

T: So many people in Hollywood are so jaded. Hollywood is so different and fake. I come from the music game. When you get on the stage after they introduce you and the fans start screaming cause they know you and they know your music, they have embraced you as a recording artist. But in Hollywood, you get excited cause the next man is excited and they donít really know why they are excited. Theyíre only happy cause someone else is happy. Thatís just a trip. I have managers, agents and attorneys. Thatís typical in this business. My agents would go see my movie and get amp and call me up and say ďOh my God, you were the best thing in the movieĒ and go on and on. I would say ďThank you, but come on nowĒ I appreciate that but itís so easy to believe that kind of stuff and take it all in and start thinking that I was the best thing in the film, but Iím sure Paulís people told him the same and Cole Hauserís people told him the same thing. We did a great movie so compliment us all and tell me that you enjoyed my part in the film, but donít try to boost my ego, because if Iím not aware of myself and I donít work hard at keeping myself on the ground, what youíre saying to me is going to easily take over my mind and have me looking at Paul and telling him that I stole the movie from him and thatís not what itís all about. Paul is my partner and we work really hard and have subtleties and not making this thing contrived and forced. Heís a surfer boy from Huntington Beach and Iím a ghetto ass dark-skinned cat from Watts. Who would ever believe that we really grew up together on screen but we were able to pull it off to me. I just try to focus on stuff like that. It was a team effort and we all contributed to the outcome of this.


WM: What car do you drive most and who are you listening to?

T: Right now, I have two cars, a range and my CL-600 312. Itís all white with a beige interior and of course, Iím bumping to R. Kelly.