Lance Gross talks Tyler Perry’s Temptation

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Lance Gross talks Tyler Perry’s Temptation
By Wilson Morales

March 28, 2013

Coming out this week is Tyler Perry’s Temptation, which stars Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Lance Gross, Kim Kardashian, Vanessa Williams, Robbie Jones, Renée Taylor, Ella Joyce, and Brandy Norwood.

Written, produced and directed by Perry, Tyler Perry’s Temptation is a compelling love story that dives straight into the heart of obsessive passion. “It’s about a woman who starts to get restless in her relationship and her choice to be with another man has a huge effect on the rest of her life.”

For Gross, who plays Brice, the husband of Smollett-Bell’s character, it’s his second film that he’s done with Perry. In 2008, the Oakland native starred in Perry’s Meet The Browns, opposite Angela Bassett and Rick Fox. He’s also best known for his role as Calvin Payne on the TBS sitcom Tyler Perry’s House of Payne.

Beside the two Perry films, he’s appeared in Our Family Wedding’ and most recently Matthew Cherry’s football film, The Last Fall.’

In speaking with Blackfilm.com, Gross talks about his character in Temptation, working with Tyler Perry, and his upcoming projects.

How would you describe your character?

Lance Gross: I play a character named Brice and he’s a small time guy, a hard worker, and on his way to becoming a pharmacist. He’s married to his childhood love, played by Jurnee Smollett-Bell. Her role is Judith. Along the way in their relationship, and they just moved to D.C to pursue their career dreams, he’s know Judith for most of his life. He’s comfortable with her because she’s his wife, but he gets a little too comfortable. He doesn’t even know it. He stops doing the things that he just to do, like forgetting important date. All of a sudden, this new guy comes into her life, and just shows her a whole different world of excitement. So, my character spends most of his time trying to save his marriage throughout ‘Temptation.’

What was the attraction to doing the film?

LG: It was a great script. I read the script a couple of times and besides it being a great script, I have a great working relationship with Tyler Perry and Jurnee Smollett-Bell was in the film. I jumped at it. I really admire her work. I feel like I’ve grown with Jurnee since ‘Eve’s Bayou.’ I’ve been a fan of her work so the opportunity to work with her was appealing to me.

As you mentioned, you have a great relationship with Perry, so how different is this from the last project you guys worked on?

LG: It’s night and day. Usually I’m working with Tyler in a comedy setting, but this one was way different. I’m usually joking with him on set but there was none of that on this film. It was more dark, heavier, more emotional, sexier, and steamy. This was an intense movie, so there was a different vibe on set.

Are there traits from the character that you can relate to?

LG: As far as the situation of the movie, I’ve never been in a relationship where there was infidelity. I’ve never been married, but I do have a lot of friends who are married and who have dealt with infidelity. So, I pulled from that. As far as the emotion goes, everyone has lost someone, whether it’s death or in a relationship. Sometimes it just doesn’t work. That’s what I pulled from my character. When people see the film, it’s very deep for my character. Just going through the emotions of losing my wife is a lot to deal with. I asked myself a lot of ‘what ifs’ during the film process.

Besides you and Jurnee, there’s other talent in the film. Was there a point when you and the cast got together to establish chemistry?

LG: Actually no. We didn’t even have a table read for the film. It was hard to get the whole cast together because everyone was working on different projects. I wasn’t on set when Vanessa filmed, when Kim filmed. I was on the plane with Vanessa so that was the only interaction we had. We spoke about the film from LA to Atlanta, but we never got a chance on set together.

From doing a TV series, and working on smaller projects, was that a different feeling when you don’t get to work or see the rest of the cast on one film?

LG: For this film, it worked because there was no reason for me to interact with Kim Kardashian or Vanessa Williams. My character only hears about his wife so it worked. If it was a different situation where my character had met them, I would have some kind of them to get to know them, vibe off each other and get the chemistry right. For this film, it worked.

You were recently seen in Matthew Cherry’s The Last Fall. Are you starting to do more films lately?

LG: I will say more television. I got a role for a pilot on NBC. It’s still untitled but the producer is Rand Ravich and it’s directed by Phillip Noyce. It’s a little different for me. It’s action and that’s something that I’ve always wanted to do. I’m living out my dream with this one. I play a secret service agent. It’s my first day on the president’s son’s detail and we run into a little problem. The president’s son and his classmates get kidnapped on my first day, so that’s where all the drama and action come in from there.

Does doing television put you in a comfort zone in terms of settling down and paying bills and not worrying about getting this film role or the other?

LG: Of course, because you are constantly working and at the end of the day, I have a job that I can fall back on. It’s a small cushion. As actors, we still want to strive for the best. It is but it isn’t.

When you’re not working, what keeps you grounded?

LG: I think I have a very strong base around me. I have friends that I have known since childhood before any of this ever started. I’m also very close with my family and they make a point to remind me where I came from and who I am. This life can be taken away at the drop of a dime, and just as long as I remember that, that’s what keeps me grounded.

What’s a good reason for folks to see ‘Temptation’?

LG: I think it’s a very powerful message, especially for my age group. They need to be reminded of the choices that they make. Everything has consequences and not just those around you. I think the audience comes away with something.

If you had to write the last scene in ‘The Last Fall,’ where Kyle has to decide between taking a job or staying with his loved one, what would you have written?

LG: If I could have written the last scene for my character, I would have taken that job and would have Nicole Beharie’s character and her child with me, so I could have the best of both worlds.


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