Interview: Tyrese Gibson
Sun, 21 Jun 2009 16:33:11
Tyrese Gibson is a real gentleman.
Dressed dapper in a classy suit, he walks around a suite of the Four Seasons exuding palpable excitement. He's got every reason to be excited. He's starring in one of the summer's best action films, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen and he's in the midst of working on music for his most epic album yet. Surrounded by all kinds of creative explosions, Tyrese remains cool. In fact, he has a down-to-earth warmth that's hard to deny. The man really just loves what he does, and he was excited to talk to ARTISTdirect.com in this exclusive interview about Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, his next album, his forthcoming comic book and much more.
Were you psyched to play Epps again?
Yes, I was! It's Transformers, man. I'm a real Transformers fan; I'm not a paid actor in a movie that I don't love. I really watched the cartoons as a kid. I really had the toys. I've got an Autobot tattoo on my forearm. I'm dead serious—I love this! None of this whole process of working on the film and promoting the film felt like work to me. I want to tell as many people as possible about this film because I'm a real fan. I went to BOTCON this year. I made an appearance, but after I finished my little work duties I was running around grabbing toys for myself [Laughs].
Is there a philosophical side to Epps? He seems a lot deeper in this film, especially when he's posing questions. Was that something you liked about the character?
Yeah, I'm a real spiritual guy. I'm God-fearing. In the midst of robots transforming and all of this, I had to get that question out. I really appreciate how forward-thinking everybody that's involved with this film is. At the end of the day, I look at movies in general as you experiencing a thought that went through somebody's head. In all of these people's minds—I.L.M., Michael Bay, the writers—they all envisioned this, and we're just experiencing their thoughts. For them to be thinking of this type of stuff, it's just really like, "Ya'll are from Pluto some-damn-where because this is crazy!"
Epps is a real guy with questions, and you bring that human element.
Well, thank you. I'm really honored that Michael Bay and Steven Spielberg had me in mind to be part of the first one and return in the second film. It's a real blessing to be a part of this. I enjoy working with the whole cast—Shia, Megan, Josh and Ramon. I had a great time working with all of these guys.
Growing up did you watch a lot of action movies? Were there heroes you drew from?
There were people I looked up to like Mr. T. I used to watch Thundercats. I used to watch The Care Bears.
Absolutely! [Laughs] My favorite TV shows back then were Good Times and Sanford and Son. As a kid, the stuff I looked at was all over the place. I just think, at the end of the day, Transformers is a film that can't really be compared to anything else that's out there. It's very unique and one-of-a-kind. The special effects and the stuff that's going on with these robots is like nothing you've ever seen. It's mindblowing. The fans that are out there, when they see this movie whether they've seen the first one or not, they're going to say, "I feel like I should've paid more money to come watch this movie because there's so much going on in this movie and it's so one of-a-kind." [Laughs] You're getting beyond the bang for your buck. That's what's exciting for me because the fans everything. We just came from seven different countries around the world promoting this film, and when I tell you the excitement and enthusiasm around the world for this movie is crazy, it's crazy! It just reminded me how much pressure we were under to be at our very best, I'm glad we did. The world is anticipating this movie, and we can't let them down.
You keep that heroism in mind because kids need that release. You give them that escape. The best feeling in the summer is seeing a movie like this.
Listen; it's summer time. It's time to take your clothes off, drop the tops, open up your Camaro tops, Convertible tops, put them booty shorts on, get on the motorcycle and go see Transformers! This completes the formula right here, this is it. Around the world, there's no way someone's going to leave that theater and say they were not thoroughly entertained and didn't have a good time watching this movie. Again, Michael Bay is a genius. He's ahead of his time. He's going to make a lot of directors out here nervous. People are going to say, "Man, how the hell am I going to outdo this? How are we going to have any special effects in a movie that's going to be able to outdo what's in this movie Transformers." That stuff is scary, man. How are they going to be able to compete with this? Producers and execs will ask, "What movie can we come with that's going to follow this?" We can have buildings blowing up, car chases and shootouts, but that car is not going to turn into a robot. That helicopter is not going to turn into a robot. That's another level right there.
You've got a comic book on the horizon too. What's up with that?
I do want to tell all of your onliners. This is a very big deal what I'm about to speak-on right now. I've got a comic book coming out. It's my debut comic book, and it's called Mayhem. From one comic book store alone, called Meltdown Comics, we've done over 10,000 pre-sales. The book comes out August 5th. It's my debut comic book. We did the deal over at Image Comics. They are marketing-wise giving me the full court press and the sales have been through the roof. Most of my sales have come from me talking about it on Twitter. You can follow me on Twitter at Tyrese4real. I love my fans. I take a lot of exclusive pictures. I'm very hands-on when it comes to the fans. That's just what it is. Go to buymayhem.com. You can jump on the Mayhem train. We're going to be at ComicCon this year, and I've got some real surprises for you on this comic book, you're definitely going to appreciate it. Both of the covers are online. Go to newsorama.com and see the reviews. It's been a real amazing run.
Do acting and performing and making music all come from the same creative place?
Music is always my first love. I love what I do as an actor, but music has always got my heart. At the end of the day, acting is just that—acting. You're saying somebody else's words, you're performing what somebody is suggesting you perform to live out whatever scene that they had imagined, you're living and performing somebody else's thoughts, scenes, setups and situations outside of the stuff that you may come up with on your own. So when it comes to music, it's like these are my lyrics, this is my experience, and I'm writing a song about this. This is the way I want to perform it on stage and this is my thing. This is my music video. There's more of a sense of ownership like this is mine. So I love it. Musically, I've got some updates for you. I did a song with Jewel called "Make it Last." It was produced and written by Babyface. It was my first time ever working with Jewel, and she's amazing. That's going to be released on iTunes soon. I have a single that's like no other single I've done before. The song is called "Mayhem (Take Me Away Remix)." Post it free for all the people to download for free! It's produced by Logan de Gaulle, Clinton Sparks and DJ Snake. Let 'em fly around the world. I want to make the world dance. I'm really excited. I just did this seven country tour, I printed up thousands of CDs and I was handing out myself to clubs, DJs all of the people that were in the clubs, it's house music, like house techno. They're killing it all over the radio in L.A. right now and in the clubs. I'm just happy. I don't have a record label I'm signed to right now, so musically I just want to stay on people's radars that I do music and just make the world dance. That's it