In his own words, Romany Malco said that he’s in search of intelligent entertainment. That is how we ran into him at the New York City premiere of Spike Lee’s “Red Hook Summer.”If the name isn’t familiar, his face sure is. You remember that
token black guy that made you bust your gut in laughter in “40-Year-Old Virgin.” Better yet, in “Think Like a Man,” Malco played the one character you wanted to kill and root for at the same time.
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Either way, you know him and you love him. Malco may be widely known as a comedic actor, but he does know a thing or two about acting in dramas. Malco was ready for a chat as we asked him everything from acting in serious roles, Spike Lee movies and projects in the works with fellow funnyman, Kevin Hart.
Check out our exclusive interview with Romany Malco below!
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As a funny guy, do you feel you’re taken seriously in film?
Yeah, I don’t know. Let me think about that. Am I taken seriously in film? Yeah I don’t feel like I’m not taken seriously. I feel very fortunate. I feel like I get to do dramatic roles and comedic roles and I get to depict things in a way that you just haven’t really seen. Look, you could call ’40-Year-Old-Virgin’ a comedy, but I was so dramatic in that damn film! [laughs]
We typically get to see you in your comedy lane. So do you get serious roles?
When I look at ‘Weeds,’ I thought I was funnier in it. But I was actually a very subdued and a serious character. I didn’t even realize what I was doing. I was just going off of her energy. And then Spike Lee was executive producer of ‘St. John Of Las Vegas’ that I did with Steve Buscemi and it was a strictly dramatic role. So I feel like I get serious roles. Honestly speaking, how often do you go to a movie to see a drama now? It’s so rare now. The studios are thinking in terms of money and laughter seems to draw a bigger audience. I like to think of the movies that I do as”Romedies.” They’re funny and serious at the same time. I grew up learning to love some pretty unscrupulous characters, because they were who my family is.
What do you mean unscrupulous characters are who your family is…?
It’s very difficult for me to watch a movie or any depiction of a person who’s one-dimensional. I grew up loving multidimensional characters who are beautiful in areas and heavily flawed in other areas. That’s why I love Spike Lee films. He does just that. He gives a depiction of something that’s true to what I have experienced. I try to play characters the same way. He might be a social worker, but he might also be a heroin addict. You know what I mean? In this country, people like to make you ‘either/or.’ They like to box you. You’re either this or you’re that and I fight artistically to dispel that myth.
Do you feel like you are making that fight a tangible thing?
Absolutely. I mean, I know for a fact when ‘Think Like A Man’ came out, I was the most unlikeable character in the movie. No doubt. People really looked at him as a groupie character, so I felt like I got to play a dynamic character. You hated him and then you ended up loving him, right? And think about this, how often do you see a black, non-violent, scientific intellectual drug dealer on TV?
Right, your “Conrad” character on ‘Weeds,’ right?
Exactly. I was a nerd who was a drug dealer and he’s black. I don’t care who the bad guy is and who the good guy is, so it has influenced the way that I pick projects that I’m involved in.
So what do you have coming up and what are you working on?
Potentially,’Weeds.’ I’m giving it to y’all first. It’s gonna be good. I promise you that. And then of course independent productions. I really am finally at the place where, thanks to ‘Think Like A Man’ I’ve been able to solidify my audience in a way that it wasn’t. I’ve always been a crossover artist, and ‘Think Like A Man’ gave me the luxury of being surrounded by a healthy cast, but still pull numbers. Also financially I have the ability to raise the money for the projects that I’m starring in. Me and Kevin Hart got a few productions that we’re doing. That’s exciting. That’s the most exciting thing because I’ve always been an entrepreneur. It’s very difficult for me to live as an employee. And anybody who knows me, all I ever do is cheer for that. I cheer for us.
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