While he may have many films to his credit, actor Tyrese Gibson entered the entertainment business as a singer, having appeared in a 1994 Coca Cola advertisement, singing the phrase “Always Coca-Cola,” before his first acting role came on an episode of ‘Hangin’ With Mr. Cooper.’
Since then the 32-year-old Los Angeles native has released four albums, with a fifth one, ‘Open Invitation,’ slated for a summer release. He’s also appeared on numerous blockbuster films, including ‘2 Fast 2 Furious,’ ‘Transformers’ and its sequel, ‘Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.’
While visiting the set of his upcoming film, ‘Fast Five,’ Gibson spoke to Blackvoices.com about his desire to play the late crooner Teddy Pendergrass in a biopic, and wanting Lee Daniels to direct the film.
Teddy Pendergrass was an R&B/soul singer and songwriter, who first rose to fame as lead singer of Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes in the 1970s before a successful solo career at the end of the decade. In 1982, he was severely injured in an auto accident in Philadelphia, resulting in his being paralyzed from the waist down. He died Jan. 13, 2010, at age 59.
Daniels, who has several projects lined up, last directed the 2009 film ‘Precious: Based on the Novel “Push” by Sapphire,’ which received six Academy Award nominations.
Below are excerpts from the interview with Tyrese.
What’s the hardest type of role you think you could play?
Tyrese Gibson: What I look forward to the most is playing someone where I just have to completely remove all of my own habits and instincts that I would do. I have to just become this person, like a Teddy Pendergrass-type situation.
Would you like to do a music biopic someday?
TG: Oh yeah, Teddy Pendergrass is in motion, and there’s one other project I can’t speak on that’s legendary – historic.
TG: I would do Teddy Pendergrass over Marvin. Teddy is dark skinned, has a full beard. Teddy doesn’t sing in falsetto, I don’t sing falsetto. I don’t have no high-pitched voice. That whole raspy, man’s man voice, I can do that.
Is there a real possibility of doing a Teddy biopic?
TG: I am playing Teddy Pendergrass.
Do you have a director in mind already?
TG: My dream director would be Lee Daniels, ’cause he’s from Philadelphia and he’s raw, knows how to tell the truth about characters and layers. He knows how to get people to go there. That would be my ideal situation. Lee Daniels would hit it out of the park. It’ll be my first time singing in a movie. I’ve actually stayed away from movie roles where they want me to be a producer and the studio telling the singer or rapper what to do in a vocal booth. Nope. That’s what I do for a living. I don’t want to do a movie doing it. But Teddy Pendergrass, that’s different. I was there. I was there during the last days of him being on this earth. He said to my steppops, he told me himself, “I don’t want nobody else in this world to do this movie but you.” At first it was an opportunity, now it’s a responsibility.