Rapper T.I. tries acting, plans non-fiction books
After weekend-long birthday celebration, artist seems to be everywhere
If T.I. seems to be everywhere you turn this week, the next time you see the Atlanta rapper-actor, pat him on the back.
He is trying to be that inescapable.
“I am doing everything I can these days to ensure success,” T.I. said Tuesday by phone.
Not only is his starring role in “ATL” in frequent rotation on BET, but so are videos for the singles from his sixth CD “Paper Trail,” which hit stores Tuesday. Five days before that the 28-year-old started a weekend-long birthday celebration in his hometown.
(How the slight Grammy winner even managed to blow out candles is remarkable, considering his schedule).
Still, T.I. managed to find a few minutes to discuss what sent him racing back to Los Angeles this week — “Bone Deep,” the movie he’s filming right now with Matt Dillon, Idris Elba and Chris Brown:
Q: How far along are you on “Bone Deep” and what are you most excited about, so far?
A: “We’re about three or four weeks into filming…and should finish up in November. And right now, what I’m most excited about all the action sequences. There are several action sequences where Chris Brown is running and jumping a lot. A lot of ‘Bourne Identity’ type stunt coordination. There are a lot of phenomenal actors assembled too, from Chris and Matt and Idris Elba to Paul Walker of the first two “Fast and the Furious” films; Michael Ealy from ‘Barbershop’ 1 and 2; Hayden Christensen of ‘Jumper’ and of course, ‘Star Wars’ [Episode II and III]; as well as my girl from ‘Guess Who’ and ‘Drumline,’ Zoe Saldana.”
Q: At one point weren’t you trying to shoot this in Atlanta?
A: “I think that was the other film [his Atlanta company] Grand Hustle is doing, ‘For Sale,’ our comedy with New Line Cinema.”
Q: Why did you decide to get into business with (Atlanta producer) Will Packer?
A: “I think Will is one of the few young, black, prominent businessmen in the movie business who actually knows how to put these things together; and cater to your demographic, as well as diversify fully and appeal to the masses.”
Q: In June you signed a three-picture deal with Screen Gems that included “Bone Deep,” a drama called “Boulevard” and a then-unnamed third film. Figured out what that will be yet?
A: ” ‘Boulevard’ is not a definite yet — not a definite title. The only thing we know for sure about on that deal is ‘Bone Deep.’ And no, we still haven’t figured out the third of the three, either.”
Q: Ever thought about doing something autobiographical for the screen?
A. “Absolutely! I think I’m gonna have to write the book first. And we’re working on it now…We’re working on a few different types of books now, actually. All nonfiction.”
Q: What do you think is the most cinematic song on “Paper Trail”? “Slide Show” (featuring John Legend)? “My Life Your Entertainment” (featuring Usher)?
A: “Those are good choices. But it may be between ‘You Ain’t Missin’ Nothing’ and ‘Dead And Gone’ [featuring Justin Timberlake]. I’m real proud of them…[Laughs] Guess I shouldn’t say ‘Porn Star’, huh?”
Bone Deep is gonna be full of sexy. I can't wait for this movie.