Since retiring from the NFL, Terry Crews has traded in his helmet and cleats to pursue an acting career while also becoming the ultimate family man and fitness enthusiast. Over the past several years, omnipresent Terry has been seen almost everywhere, whether as the pecs-popping pitchman for Old Spice, portraying the overworked dad on “Everybody Hates Chris,” a tough guy in The Expendables film series, the loveable goofball in White Chicks, Will McAvoy’s bodyguard on HBO’s “The Newsroom,” or randy congressman Herbert Love in “Arrested Development.”
2014 has been a busy year for Terry, who has already appeared in Tyler Perry’s The Single Mom’s Club, and in Draft Day opposite Kevin Costner. And later this year, he will be starring with Sly Stallone in Reach Me, and reprising the role of Hale Caesar in the “The Expendables 3.”
Terry is currently a series regular on the Golden Globe Award-winning TV sitcom “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” playing Sgt. Terry Jeffords, whose ripped exterior belies a sensitive and beleaguered interior. Crews also just added author to his resume with the release of his first book, Manhood. And it was recently announced that starting this fall he will be serving as host of the game show “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?”
Here, he talks about playing “Nickens” in his new movie, Blended, co-starring Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore.
Kam Williams: Hi Terry, thanks for the interview.
Terry Crews: Oh, you got it, Kam.
KW: Congrats on the Golden Globe for your TV show, “Brooklyn Nine-Nine.”
TC: Thank you! It blew me away when we got that Golden Globe. What an honor! I had no idea. It’s an awesome show and one of the best things I’ve ever done.
KW: And you get to play a complex character in Sergeant Terry Jeffords.
TC: That’s the best thing, that [scriptwriters] Mike Schur and Dan Goorhore created real people everybody can recognize. That’s real cool!
KW: I loved Blended, and I’m not a fan of Adam Sandler’s lowbrow brand of humor. But this one is different and kept me laughing non-stop.
TC: That’s great! And it touches your feelings along the way, too. That’s the thing. What’s so good about the Adam-Drew [Barrymore] collaborations is how she tempers him. It’s the real deal. Their 50 First Dates was the first comedy that I ever caught feelings on. I was like, “Whoa! I’m feeling the romance here. I want them to get together. Why do I care so much?” And I got emotional about it. That is what they bring, a magical combination that works every time.
KW: You provide the comic relief throughout this movie. Just when we’re about to forget about Nickens, he pops up again with that Greek chorus.
TC: You know what’s wild? Adam called me up and before I’d seen a script, he said, “Man, I wanna do this movie with you that we’re shooting in Africa. Are you down, brother?” I had no idea what was going on, but I was like, “Let’s go! This is awesome!” I’m a card-carrying member of the Happy Madison Productions family. Adam put me in The Longest Yard, Click and The Benchwarmers. Every time he calls, it leads to nothing but great things. That’s why I just said, “Let’s do it!” We didn’t really have this character all straightened out. We sort of figured it out as we went along. He came up with a great idea. He said, basically, “Let’s make him the South African Tom Jones.” Once we had that, we were off and running.
KW: Had you been to Africa before?
TC: No, that was my first time, and I loved every minute of it. I traveled all over South Africa. I was in Cape Town, Soweto, Sun City and Johannesburg. I would’ve visited Durban, too, but we just didn’t have the time. We met the most beautiful people and ate the best food! And we went on safari in Madikwe which is near Botswana. It was amazing. Some people say Sante Fe is spiritual, but you haven’t experienced anything until you’ve been to Africa. You know the world is bigger than you are after you see Africa.
To see a trailer for Blended, visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_w168vuhjRo