Actor Tyrese Gibson talks Fast Five, shooting this and Transformers: Dark of the Moon at the same time, future projects, his new book and TV show, and much more
When actor Tyrese Gibson signed on to portray Roman Pierce in 2003's 2 Fast 2 Furious, it was only his second movie role after Baby Boy in 2001. Now the actor can't stop working with blockbuster movie roles, a best-selling book ("How To Get Out of Your Own Way"), and a new music album due out next month. I recently had the pleasure of speaking with the talented actor (and unabashed fan of MovieWeb) to discuss Fast Five, which hits the shelves on Blu-ray and DVD October 4. Here's what he had to say below.
After your involvement in the second movie, were you ever approached to appear in The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift or Fast & Furious? Can you talk about how you were brought back in for this one?
Tyrese Gibson: Yeah, they reached out to me for the fourth one, but with scheduling and all sorts of other stuff, it just didn't work out. I'm glad I came back for Five, because, I believe, along with everyone else in the cast, that this is the best one in the whole franchise. If four would've happened, it would've been cool, but Five is the best one.
I think a lot of the fans agree with that too. It's grossed the most out of all the other films in the franchise, which is pretty amazing. That normally doesn't happen.
Tyrese Gibson: Like fine wine, it gets better with time, I guess.
It's cool because you can see all of these connections. It's cool to see that these characters are all connected. Was it fun just reading the script to see how all of these guys come together?
Tyrese Gibson: I just think that's a reflection of the director, who is brilliant, Justin Lin, and the writer, Chris Morgan. To have so many personalities and energy all in one movie, the question is how can all of them make sense? How can all of them have an arc, a beginning, a middle, and an end? What is the purpose and plan behind each character in one movie? I think, at no point does anybody say, 'Well, why are they there? Who is that? What's the point of them being in the movie?' I just think they did a great job executing on that level, and I was just honored they called me to come back. 2 Fast 2 Furious was my second role as an actor, ever, in my whole career, after Baby Boy. To go from an urban movie to a full-on international movie was the biggest leap, ever, in my career as an actor. I go to Germany and they go, '2 Fast 2 Furious! 2 Fast 2 Furious!' They don't know my music, they just know I'm the guy in 2 Fast 2 Furious. That's a real blessing, man, for people to connect with you overseas like that, through films.
It must have been great reading the script too, because you have almost all of the best lines here.
Tyrese Gibson: (Laughs) Well, a lot of that stuff was on the fly. There's only so much stuff that can be written. A lot of that stuff was on the fly, we just kind of were in the moment. I'm cool with everybody so they just let me play around a little bit and come up with stuff in the moment. We just figure out the funniest way and the most clever way to capture it and then you just hope that it works. I'm not a comedian. I'm just a guy who kind of catches you off guard with some funny shit (Laughs).
I know you were filming both this and Transformers: Dark of the Moon at the same time.
Tyrese Gibson: Seven months. Seven months of magic.
Yeah. I was reading all your stuff on Twitter and I thought that was insane, pulling off two huge movies at the same time. Did it take a lot of finesse with the scheduling for both of these movies?
Tyrese Gibson: Well, the woman who made all of that happen is named Isabella Castro, she's the magic woman behind the curtains. She's my VP of Operations. She handled all of the communication between directors, producers, executives, studios. I don't know how SHE pulled it off. I think what I was doing was much easier than her. To be honest, it was one of the best summers of my life, ever. I was just hoping that I didn't get sick. It's one thing for them to commit and say, 'Do you really want to do both movies at the same time, because we can schedule around?' Then you sayd, 'Yeah' and end up being fatigued and tired and sick. Then they say, 'Well, he wouldn't be sick if he wasn't shooting two movies at the same time.' So, I never wanted them to be able to say that and, fortunately, they didn't. The good thing is, it's not like I'm in every single scene in both movies. That's how it worked out. If I was Shia LaBeouf, I couldn't have shot both movies at the same time, so it worked out. I loved it.
Justin Lin really took this franchise to new levels with the three movies he has done. What would you like like to say about working with him as compared to any of the other directors you've worked with?
Tyrese Gibson: Well, I can say that Justin Lin, I've never seen him sweat. I look at him like a Zen master, somebody like (L.A. Lakers coach) Phil Jackson. I don't say that in a facetious way. You've got Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson, and everybody else on the movie set. How is it possible that, at no point, any of us, felt like we didn't know what was going on, where we were supposed to be, what we were supposed to be bringing for a scene, and, no disrespect, but he happens to be one of the smallest people on the set, in height? So, you're the smaller guy on the set and you have all of these big people with muscles walking up to you saying, 'What do you want me to do in this part? What do you want me to say?' He became like the Zen master on the set. It was a lot of fun, I never saw him sweat, and he just made us feel good about everything we had going on. I think he has a very unique way of making everybody feel like a star, that they're bringing something special to the screen. You have a lot of directors who are called 'star-f*&$ers.' It's like you're on the set and you can tell, it's so blatantly clear who the director favorites are. Sometimes I've been the favorite, other times, other actors have been the favorites. I don't think any actor deserves to feel like another actor is the favorite. We all deserve to feel like, somebody may be getting more camera time, but everybody uniquely feels special and significant while they're all working on the same movie. Justin Lin made us all feel very important while we were working on this movie.
There is a gag reel on the DVD, which I haven't had a chance to check out yet...
Tyrese Gibson: Well, you're gonna gag (Laughs).
How much are you responsible for the material on the gag reel?
Tyrese Gibson: Well... you're gonna gag. That's all I have to say (Laughs). Listen, it gets wild on these movie sets. I'm just in the moment, bro, having fun. Trust me, they didn't even capture half of the magic that they could've captured in this movie. It would've turned into a straight comedy hour if they kept all that stuff in.
I know they brought Chris Morgan back to write Fast & Furious 6. I know it's pretty early still, but have you been in talks for that yet? Is there anywhere you would like to see this franchise go in a sixth movie?
Tyrese Gibson: I just hope that they keep the concept of the heist going. I hope they allow me to be more a part of the decision-making, how we're going to get this mission accomplished, instead of having the mission thrown at us and we become disgruntled about the mission (Laughs). I just hope they allow Roman to be Roman Pierce, have some fun and play my part. I'm not fighting for camera time, but we had a lot of fun promoting it (Fast Five). We went to eight different countries, and I just love it. I have a girlfriend who's from Dubai. She was overseas and she said, 'Every theater was sold out, for weeks and weeks and weeks, because of Fast Five.' We were all speaking in Arabic and they were still laughing and having fun with all of the shit we were doing in the movie. These are things I couldn't imagine doing and being a part of as a kid, so it's all kind of unreal.
Five Brothers has been circulating for awhile. Is there any movement on that?
Tyrese Gibson: You know what, I just really hope that Paramount considers and understands the cult following behind Four Brothers. All of our careers have sort of went to another level since Four Brothers, with Mark Wahlberg, myself, André (Benjamin) has been kind of low-key, but Garrett Hedlund, even though he passed away in the first one, his career has blossomed. I hope that they're able to press the button on it. To be honest, I think it just takes one meeting with (producer) Lorenzo di Bonaventura, (director) John Singleton, myself and Mark Wahlberg at Paramount, and they'll green light it and we'll be ready to go. The script is already written and we all really want to do it. We just have to get Paramount to press that button. Maybe the fans from your website can write Paramount some letters about how they were able to relate and identify with the movie, and how much they love it and how much they would love to see Five Brothers be made. The script is already done and ready to go. I would love to do Five Brothers, love to do it.
I would love to see that. Is there anything you're lining up right now that you can talk about?
Tyrese Gibson: Something I'm very, very passionate about is my new album, which is coming out. It's called Open Invitation and if you go to my Twitter page, you can actually see my album cover on the main page. It's called Open Invitation, and it's my best R&B album to date. It's coming November 1, 11/1/11, and we've got two #1 singles already. The first single is called "Stay," and my leading lady in the video is Taraji P. Henson. On YouTube, you can watch the trailer for my video too, we did it like a movie. We're going to launch the actual video and I just shot the video for my other single called "Too Easy" featuring Ludacris. The album is coming November 1 and I'm very, very excited to be doing music again.
You're becoming the new King of All Media.
Tyrese Gibson: Yeah, man, it's fun. I've got a New York Times best-seller, my book How To Get Out of Your Own Way, which is available on Nook and Kindle and iTunes, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, you name it. I don't know, man. I think, ultimately, you have a lot of people who talk, and a lot of people who do the work and walk. They walk and get opportunities and blessings and they're looking to be an inspiration and motivate folks to take advantage of our America. We have a lot of access to a lot of shit out here. For people to be broke, hungry, lonely, and miserable, there's no excuse. This is America. Let's move!
I was also curious if you've heard anything about the future of the Transformers franchise. It seems Michael Bay and star Shia LaBeouf are moving on, but have you heard anything else about what they're trying to do with the franchise?
Tyrese Gibson: My humble prediction would be that... we're at $1.1 billion. This is the biggest year of my life. I'm on the other side of $1.7 billion in box office receipts, between both films. I think, with the success of Transformers: Dark of the Moon, both Michael Bay and Shia probably want a break from the franchise, but there's no way, I believe, that, at some point, they're not going come back to do Transfomers 4. Maybe they need a few years to get a few other creative things out of their system, which is understandable, but for people to love this franchise around the world like they do, it's damn-near crazy to not give the fans what they love and enjoy again. So maybe two years, maybe three years will go by, you never know, but I believe, and hope, that we are able to do another Transformers. I'm a real Transformers fan, outside of the fact that I'm in the movie, but I just hope we're able to do it again one day. It's the first film in Paramount's 99-year history that has ever grossed $1 billion. I hope we're able to figure this out.
I know you've been writing scripts for some time now. Is there any movement on that front as well?
Tyrese Gibson: You know, there's a lot of heavy buzz about my reality show that I'm producing called K-Town, which is like an Asian version of Jersey Shore. We're in talks with a lot of major networks, the E! channel and a few others. We're just trying to figure out all of the particulars, and blast off.
Awesome. Finally, what would you like to say to the few people who didn't get to see Fast Five in theaters, about why they should pick up the Blu-ray and DVD on October 4?
Tyrese Gibson: I think the Blu-ray and DVD of Fast Five really turns up and you feel a part of the process in a major way. They've got Tyrese TV, they've got Paul Walker TV, Vin Diesel TV, behind-the-scenes. The cameras just followed us around and it's just a lot of fun. I don't want to give it away, but it's definitely a lot of fun. The fans should pick that up. Fast Five is the movie to watch with your family during the holidays. With Thanksgiving and Christmas coming up, this is the DVD to get.
Awesome. Well, that's about all I have. Thanks so much for talking to me. It's been a pleasure. It's great to get to talk to you, especially after chatting on Twitter for so long.
Tyrese Gibson: (Laughs) Yeah, follow me! Tell them to follow me. I ramble and ramble on Twitter, but tell them to follow me. It's adventurous. I've just got to get my spell check button right, but I'll get it together (Laughs).