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August 24, 2012 1PM EST

Q&A with Terry Crews

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  • Q

    Thank you Terry Crews for joining us for today’s Q&A. Welcome Terry! What is your favorite part about playing Lonny?

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    Terry Crews says:

    I love that Lonny is not a lunkhead. He's part psychologist, warrior and babysitter. A very smart man who's seen the world and applies this knowledge to his job. He views himself as an independent contractor and makes it very clear that whatever lies under his jurisdiction is his to command. But like all smart men, he recognizes his boundaries and where his authority stops. I get to play both dynamics at the same time. So cool!

  • Q

    Will you save Will's life this season or next?

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    Terry Crews says:

    Hmm... I don't think Aaron would like me giving out any spoilers! Let's say that Lonny serves a great purpose on this show, and it's being set up very well by Aaron. He is a master story weaver and Lonny's purpose will be painfully evident before this season is over.

  • Q

    Was this role challenging - if how so? What type role would you like to play that addresses something you are moved by or passionate about?

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    Terry Crews says:

    This role was a huge challenge for me in that it's written more like a play and in most of my career I've relied on an enormous amount of improvisation. Not so here. Aaron's writing is so intricate and layered that every word I say lines up with something in the story, either in the backstory or in future episodes and it doesn't only effect my character, but all of the others as well. No improvising necessary. It was a challenge to nail but once you learn to trust the words-- things look effortless. I love this type of role and the way Aaron writes him. Lonny begins to discover and care a lot about Will after his initial rough meeting. I like playing characters that allow you to empathize with other characters you'd think you'd have no empathy for, because in a lot of ways, Lonnie represents an outsiders view of what is happening, and that can be the most fun to play.

  • Q

    Do you and Jeff Daniels ever connect over both being Michigan natives?

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    Terry Crews says:

    Yes, we did! Although I try very hard to not let the fact he attended Central Michigan affect my view of him (I went to rival Western Michigan)! We've talked about how much the state has changed and a lot of the good things we remembered about growing up there, but then it was time to get back to work. I never want to disrupt his flow as he has the hardest job on the show, bar none. He's truly amazing to watch and I often steal techniques from him. Hey, when you're both from Michigan, it's not stealing-- it's borrowing.

  • Q

    What was Will's rational for admitting he was wrong to Lonny after his impulsive pysch appt;even though he's been wrong mostly to Mackenzie?

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    A
    Terry Crews says:

    I never want to speak for Aaron, but it's my opinion that in that moment Will shows his vulnerability to Lonny and Lonny becomes an understanding, listening ear and treats this information with great care. Nothing like a friend that knows all your faults and still likes you. Lonny has spent a lot of time in the company of famous, successful people and knows the games they play but also understands their lives are extremely difficult. Will needed to talk to someone- Confess to someone- and Lonnie empathically filled that need.

  • Q

    Love that "Lonny" said he "played for Clemson." Made my native-South-Carolinian heart happy. How did the writers arrive at that choice?

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    Terry Crews says:

    I met one of the writers at Aaron's home during a viewing of the show and he revealed to me that his wife was a Clemson graduate and that fact was put in for her benefit. He knew she would get a great kick out of it and she did.

  • Q

    What hardships have you encountered through your acting career?

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    Terry Crews says:

    Sticking with your career when the going was rough. My wife and I have gone through tremendous financial and creative difficulties while fighting to live this dream. Sometimes it's about giving a gift of art no matter what you are paid for it, if you are even paid at all. Also you have to be on a first name basis with failure. You go give your all at an audition with no guarantee at all you will get anything. You do a film or project and it may fail miserably but you have to get right back up and give your art because it's the only thing that satisfies you. But when it works one time -- when you see your art out there for millions to see and you get strong reactions, good OR bad, it makes it wonderful because you know it was worth it. You feel like you are changing the world.

  • Q

    How does your "Lonny" role compare and differ from previous roles you've played?

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    Terry Crews says:

    Wow. I LOVE playing my reserved self. I have had a very physical acting career but on NEWSROOM, it's not about physicality but it's about presence. I get to just BE. Strong, sensitive, quiet strength can be much more intimidating than the screaming loud guy and I'm so glad to get to show this side of me, which to be honest is a lot like who I really am.

  • Q

    I enjoyed your work in Everybody Hates Chris. What is most memorable about working with Chris Rock?

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    Terry Crews says:

    He has a great world view. He has the ability to take a tremendous amount of pain and take it and make comedy out of it. He mines comedy out of pain. All the experiences that would take out a lot of people, a lot of people would use them as excuses for failure, and he's turned it around and mined these experiences for comedy. It was an awesome show that I was honored to be on that still finds new viewers on syndication every week and I'll always be proud of that show. Chris is a gem.

  • Q

    Any romantic entanglement coming 4 Lonny?

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    Terry Crews says:

    I don't know! I would like some! I haven't seen anything so far that would say that, but you know, that would be a direction I would really like to go in if Aaron would choose to. I am definitely open to all of that!

  • Q

    Hey Lonny, how many hours a day do you have to work out to get so huge?!

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    Terry Crews says:

    Haha! During my lift days I work out 2 hrs a day and I run every day. I like to eat so I do a lot of cardio so I won't be 400 lbs, but I lift weights roughly around 2 hrs when I go into the gym, which is 4 times a week.

  • Q

    I'm just wondering how you do balance your career and your big family?

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    Terry Crews says:

    Because I have a wonderful, wonderful wife who holds down the house like you wouldn't believe. There's no way I could do all these things, having 5 kids, without a wife that could really make sure every thing's okay at home. I have no worries when I step out of the house, I know that everything is just fine. She makes it so that when i come home, I'm still Dad. That's important, it's a real team. Every role I get, half of me knows Rebecca is home with the kids, making sure the house is good. I couldn't do it without her.

  • Q

    As a former football player now turned actor, which profession is more stressful in your opinion?

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    Terry Crews says:

    Physically- football. Mentally- acting. It requires the same amount of dedication and preparation and I'd almost say the stress is the same, just different levels.

  • Q

    You're quite good in this role. Do you see yourself taking more dramatic roles or do you see yourself still as an action movie guy?

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    Terry Crews says:

    I see myself taking lots more dramatic roles, especially after this. I am a fan of ALL genres. My big thing is to serve the purpose of the script and what the director wants. If it's a comedy, I want to be funny, if it's action, I want to bring the action. If it's drama, I want to be the catalyst for that drama. That's the fun part, it never gets boring being an actor. I definitely see more drama in my future.

  • Q

    In "5/1" you say "Nothing I can do about being big and black at the same time". Has a situation like that (suspicion) occurred in your life?

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    Terry Crews says:

    Oh yeah, when we did the show, it really hit home that this is something I experience in real life. I remembered, right after I got picked up in the NFL by the San Diego Chargers, I was just released by the Packers. I was taking a flight and this was pre-9/11 so a lot of flight things were not as intense, this was 1993. I was pulled off the plane in front of everybody, and they made me get out, and it was really weird. I was excited, going to the NFL, and they pulled me off the plane, asked me all these questions! Finally, I get to the point where they wanted to know the nature of why I was going, and I said I just got picked up by the Chargers, and their whole attitude changed. I realized they were targeting me because I paid cash for my ticket, I didn't have a credit card. After, I got back on the plane, but everyone was looking at me. I was just happy that they let me go. I definitely felt that there was nothing I could do about that situation. I was just trying to do my business. I realized that you have to be very, very careful. I couldn't talk to these guys with any sort of annoyance or frustration. I loved the way Aaron handled this in the show. He didn't make it about racism, it's just a reality.

  • Q

    On the most intelligent show on television, your character is not intellectually intimidated by Will. Are they going to expand on that soon?

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    A
    Terry Crews says:

    Lonny is a smart, smart guy. One thing that has always been true, is that intellectually smart does not translate into every day street smart. When you look at Lonny, he has a really great world view of both sides. He knows how people are and knows that people tend to rely way too much on their intelligence and if you rely too much on logic, you might be correct and right, but you may be wrong in the way you're handling things. I love that in the relationship with Lonny and Will, Lonny is a very intelligent person, but is a bit of a conscience. "Hey, you did this thing right, I'm with you." I think that's a great character that Aaron wrote for him.

  • Q

    The role of Lonny was originally written into Aaron Sorkin's pilot script. Do you have any insight as to why his introduction was pushed back to Episode six?

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    Terry Crews says:

    I don't know at all! I do know I auditioned for the role while they were doing the pilot. As an actor, you do tons of auditions, and once you leave the room you have to leave all the pages out of your head and you do your best and leave the decisions up to the producers and director. Probably 6 months later, my agent told me that they had taken it out of the pilot, and they were putting him back in, and I was really happy! It let me know that 1, I did a good job, and 2, here's another chance to be on an Aaron Sorkin show. I don't know the reasons, but I'm just glad it happened, it was all supposed to be.

  • Q

    Which role do you wish you could actually live through?

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    Terry Crews says:

    I guess in terms of my whole career, that's a hard one! I have to say, my role as Hale Caesar on the Expendables because I've always been an action junkie, kind of always saw myself as a warrior, wanting to go to exotic locations, fly around and do good things and save people. He'd be the most fun to live through.

  • Q

    what was your favorite scene in White Chicks?

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    Terry Crews says:

    The car scene that I did with Marlon Wayans and he finds out I like his taste in music, and I end up singing to him, thinking he's a woman. What was so great about that for me is that I surprised everybody. I had been preparing in my hotel room, and to see the look on everybody's faces, the crew busted out and clapped, it was a really new thing and I knew I was on to something. Once you get all the eyes on me, I was ready to go, I feel like the little kid showing off at his family reunion! That was my favorite scene and my life has never been the same after that scene. I remember I was with my whole family and they were playing that scene in Times Square by Planet Hollywood, it was crazy!

  • Q

    What does it feel like to be part of a show that addresses a real problem today...how Americans are being informed vs. entertained by news?

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    Terry Crews says:

    It feels wonderful because you kinda get to see the wizard behind the curtain and one thing you realize is that it's impossible to not have a point of view. There is really no such thing as fair and balanced. Even when you walk around, you're seeing the world from your own field. On every show, movie, in television, there is a view, there is something someone is trying to say or it's not art. A lot of people feel that the news is just there, but it's funny because I've seen where there may be 10 murders in 1 city, yet 1 murder is plucked out of all those murders and for some reason, that's the one they highlight. Does that mean that these lives were not as valuable as others? Of course not. But, for some reason there's something in that story that resonates with people. You can't possibly tell every story at once. Aaron does a great job of showing the heart behind what this is. There's a lot of emotional decisions that have to be made once news comes out. That's what makes The Newsroom so great.

  • Q

    Do you like to joke around with the other actors? Who's the biggest goof ball? Have you ever played pranks on another actor?

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    Terry Crews says:

    I'm not a big prank guy, because I don't like them done to me. I've been on movies sets where one guys goes into his trailer, and then people move the stairs, and he comes out of his trailer, and there's no stairs. That's not funny! I don't want to be that guy! but I do love to laugh and joke on the set. With me on the set of The Newsroom, Dev Patel is my guy. He is the funniest, most friendly guy. We have a ball. We get in a room, we're just giggling like it's junior high school. I think everybody on the set would agree, he's like the energy, the spark plug, he would make anybody laugh at any time. We have a ball.

  • Q

    That's all the time we have for today's Q&A. A huge thank you to Terry Crews for joining us. Anything else you'd like to say, Terry?

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    A
    Terry Crews says:

    I just want to say what a tremendous honor it is to be on a show like The Newsroom. I've always dreamed of being on something this important and being on a show that really resonates with a lot of very, very intelligent people in the world, and I've gained such a loyal fan base. I was a fan of the West Wing, and I love The Social Network and I'm a big fan of Aaron Sorkin. I really really would love to continue to be with this show as long as it goes. It's an honor and one of the moments I am proudest of in my career is working with such great people.

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