Congrats on the film. What did you love about the project?
The story kind of related to me and I like William and I like that he was sort of in the friend zone shadows like so many guys. So many guys have been in that friend atmosphere and environment. And so if you’ve been a friend and you’re a kid or a teen and you don’t know how to get out, William shows you how to get out.
What was it like collaborating with Mr. Talbert?
You named it – I’m going to call him the Great Collaborator. When you come to set, you want to know you’re being heard, respected, and there’s nothing like creative collaboration when you’re both trying to achieve the same goal. So it was fun. I love how Jenifer Lewis said that Dave would come up and whisper into your ear and that’s stuff that Denzel Washington did on “Antwone Fisher” he never shouted out direction, he made it all personal because it’s between you and him, not between you and them.
You and Paula Patton make a fun on screen couple. What was it like working with her?
This is the first time I had such a liberty of looseness and so for me normally in films I have been in, they’ve been traumatic or emotional, and so it was interesting to come to set everyday playing a fun light spirited guy. I had fun with her. She’s a collaborator. I think she loves excellence and it was really good being on screen with her.
Talk about the fun dance scene you and Paula had.
The dance scene sort of represented sort of a dream sequence of my high school. That’s how I wish it was. I wish I really knew how to dance to New Edition, but I have to say that New Edition was sort of our boy group during high school so it was like paying homage to them.
“Baggage Claim” is all about travels. Where are some places you like to travel to?
One of my favorite destinations is London, UK. I just love getting on a plane, packing light, experiencing a different adventure. I love Italy. Those are some of my favorite places so far.
Do you have any fun airport stories?
I’ve had royal treatment at the airport actually. I’ve been taken through gates. I’m going to give a shout out to the TSA – y’all’ve been good to me!
Any fan encounters?
I almost had a woman football me coming through the metal detector. She wasn’t sure it was me and when she did, she basically tackled me. She tackled me and called me a couple of characters that I played. I thought that was funny.
What are some romantic things you do for your wife?
I think the key thing in a relationship is listening and forgiving. I think that’s more than chocolates and flowers. It allows you to have longevity.
Since you’ve had such a long career, how do you keep it fresh and interesting in terms of your roles?
I have not been here before and I am living everyday developing a better me. I’m seeing more roles and learning more about film. Becoming more truthful, excellent, comfortable on camera, so I think I’m right around where school is out, not over, and now it’s time to start telling stories and developing them.
Denzel has had an important influence on yours and Paula’s career.
Denzel just knows how to hit homeruns and if you worked with him, you’ve shared some of the recipes for success.
What do you admire about Denzel?
Denzel has to be one of the longest, as far as longevity and success in Hollywood, period. Maybe Robert Downy Jr., there’s only a handful. So I feel like I’m walking in proper footsteps.
This is such an amazing cast. Have you worked with anyone before?
I’ve some in passing. I’ve seen Lauren London before, she’s like a sister. I rarely see Paula, I’ve seen Boris out. I’ve watched and enjoyed some of everybody’s work and there’s hardly anyone in there that I haven’t enjoyed – Jenifer Lewis- we did “Antoine” together, so this is a bowl of soup.
What was your favorite scene to shoot?
I have a couple of them. I think some of them got cut out. We’ve had a little picnic with me and Paula and it was organic and it was about food tasting, and it didn’t make it to the cut, but it was one of my favorite scenes.
Any upcoming projects?
I’ve shot three independent films and I don’t know when they’re coming out but they were fun.
Who are your favorite hip hop artists of the moment?
My playlist now is probably between Nas and Jay-Z and Kanye and Big Daddy Kane. So that’s my playlist now, but it’s a wide range.