From comedian to reality TV star, from NFL player to YouTube sensation, from TV actor to the big screen, Terry Crews, definitely, knows how to entertain. When it was time for him to be measured with the big action movie stars, he delivered... twice. Starring in The Expendables 2 with a legendary cast including Sylvester Stallone, Bruce Willis, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Chuck Norris, Crews is back and bigger than ever.
In the sequel, Barney Ross (Sylvester Stallone), Lee Christmas (Jason Statham), Yin Yang (Jet Li), Gunner Jensen (Dolph Lundgren), Toll Road (Randy Couture) and Hale Caesar (Terry Crews), with newest members Billy the Kid (Liam Hemsworth) and Maggie (Yu Nan) aboard, are reunited when Mr. Church (Bruce Willis) enlists the Expendables to take on a seemingly simple job that goes wrong, killing one of them and the rest of the mercenaries seek revenge.
Crews is ready to put the gear on once more to play Hale Caesar, as he admits, the character he was born to play.
Entertainment Affair caught up with the actor to talk about how the football player became a movie star.
EA: How did you go from NFL player to actor?
TC: Wow! Big transition. When I met my wife, I told her that I wanted to play in the NFL and then we were going to move to LA and make movies (laughs). After my NFL career was over, my wife looked at me and said: “Remember when you said you wanted to go to LA? Let’s go.” and I said: “Really?!”. I wasn’t trying to act at all, I was trying to get behind the scenes. We moved to LA and we went broke. A friend of mine that I met while doing a bouncing job, invited me to an audition. It was my first audition ever and I got it! It was for a show called Battle Dome. After that, I was acting full time more out of necessity than a dream. I never saw myself as an actor.
EA: Most of the roles you play are comedies. What drags you about comedy?
TC: I love comedy. Let me tell you something, comedy is harder to do than any other genre. Everyone knows what’s traumatic, everyone knows what action is, but nobody can agree on what’s funny. It is a very subjective thing, it is very difficult to make people laugh. You have to be able to laugh at yourself. I don’t mind the embarrassed feeling that you get. I don’t need to be a superhero in anybody’s head. It makes it fulfilling for me to do it.
EA: Were you always the funny guy?
TC: I was the guy who told the jokes at the family reunions, I was the guy to do the imitations in the locker room. I was that guy. It was a natural progression. The NFL is where I got my comedy chops. The locker room is merciless. If you are sensitive about jokes, the locker room is not the place for you. It toughens you up. It can make your life miserable or you can have fun and I was the guy making people miserable. (Laughs).
EA: What can we expect from The Expendables 2?
TC: The first movie we did had lots of constraints like budget and schedule. It was a hard movie to make. After it came out, it became bigger than what we thought. Now coming back, we had no constraints and this is the movie Sly wanted to do in the beginning. This is a go big or go home movie. It is one of the biggest, best, baddest, manly movie ever made.
EA: With so many action movie legends in the cast, how was the dynamic in the set?
TC: There is, definitely, a competitive level. Nobody wants to be the weak link. Nobody wants their one liner to be better than the other guy’s one liner. (Laughs). There was a lot of compensating. I had a big gun and I think I was compensating. The way Sly (Sylvester Stallone) wrote it and Simon (Simon West) directed it, everyone has a moment. It feels like a real team. Big personalities took a back seat to how great the story was.
EA: Were you intimated by any of them?
TC: I was intimidated in the first one more about Sly (Sylvester Stallone). For this one, the intimidation level went down, but you never lose your star struck. You get used to Sly, but then you see Arnold, and then you see Willis and then you see Chuck, and then you see Van Damme and then you realized it is bigger than me. (Laughs). It is better than us on our own.
EA: Who were you more excited to work with this time?
TC: I was really happy to work with Chuck. I was like: “Wow!”. You hear the jokes about how he is, but one of my favorite movies is The Way of the Dragon and he’s the man who fought Bruce Lee on camera. You better enjoy them while you got them. Jean Claude Van Damme was the guy who turned down the first Expendables and it really worked into our favor that he would play the villain in the second one. It is cool to have that full circle and it fuels the storyline of what The Expendables are. When you see Sly versus Jean Claude, you remembered back when he didn’t want to be in the first one and the stuff that was said on the internet about the movie not having a good story and this is kind of a cage match between two superstars. (Laughs). And that’s what you want! You want to argue with any star, bring it to The Expendables 3.
EA: The Expendables 2 is a revenge movie. Do you think we, as a society, should take justice into our own hands?
TC: I don’t think we should take justice in your own hands, but I do think you have to protect yourself. There is a moment when it is not revenge, it is about getting you before you get me. Evil men prosper when good men do nothing. It’s about being proactive. Some people say, “”Let it go”, but if you let it go, they’ll come back. If they take your lunch money on Monday, you better be damn sure they are going to take your lunch money on Friday. Is it revenge or are you protecting yourself? The Expendables is more like let’s get this guy before he gets us.
Photo credit: Frank Masi