by Ryan Meehan
Atlanta native Michael Beasley has worked on over 35 film and TV projects in the last 5 years. Michael is set to have a very successful and exciting end 2013 with a big show and big film both out this fall. He is set to star as a series regular in the fourth and final installment of HBO’s acclaimed “Eastbound & Down” which just premiered on September 29th. The show follows the journey of Kenny Powers (Danny McBride), a former Major League pitcher who has fallen from grace. Michael will be playing the role of Jimmy Clay, an ex-NFL player who is now a co-host on a popular sports talk show called “The Sesh.” This is following his recurring role on Starz’ “Magic City” alongside Jeffery Dean Morgan. Michael will also be seen in the buddy comedy Last Vegas, alongside an all-star cast: Morgan Freeman, Robert De Niro and Michael Douglas, the film is set to hit theaters November 2013. He was most recently seen in 2013’s box office hit 2Guns, alongside Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlburg. This is his second film with Wahlburg: his first was playing Customs Officer Davis in 2012’s action hit Contraband. Beasley also has a long history working with Denzel Washington. He had a significant role in the 2012 award winning film, Flight and in the Golden Globe Nominated film The Great Debaters. And he’s our guest today in 7 questions.
RM: How did into acting and what was your first major role? Looking back on it, was there anything that you would have done differently?
MB: I had played professional basketball overseas for several years and I decided I needed to reinvent myself so I decided to get into acting. I caught the acting bug when my father, TV and film star, John Beasley was doing a play in Atlanta, GA. I was able to sit in a rehearsal and one of the actors was not there that day so they asked me to read his part. I started working with my father in our theater in Omaha, NE shortly after that and the rest is history. My first major role was on the TV show K-Ville. I wouldn’t change anything because I have had a movie type career so far. I booked my first commercial that I auditioned for, my first movie I auditioned for, and my first speaking role in a movie was in the movie “The Great Debaters.” I had to audition for Denzel and he also directed me in the movie. I since have worked with him again in the movies “Flight” and “2 Guns.” In just 6 years, I have worked with many Oscar award-winning actors and directors. And have learned a great deal from them.
RM: Could you tell us about some of the experiences that you’ve had in your most recent film roles? I know that you’ve been involved with some pretty heavy hitters in those movies – do you ever feel a certain sense of intimidation when someone like Denzel walks onto the set? If so, how do you relax yourself and focus on what you have to do?
MB: Like I said, Denzel casted me in my first movie with a speaking role so I was not intimidated. I think my basketball career has helped me keep everything in perspective too. I work really hard at my craft so I feel I belong on the set with them. I’m always eager to get on the set with the heavy hitters to show them what I can do and also learn from them. Also I got a chance to work with Cecily Tyson, Kimberly Elise and Tyler Perry on the movie “Diary of a Mad Black Woman.” I was a photo-double for Madea which is one of Tyler Perry’s characters that he plays. I got the chance to read the lines and play with them. And I think that was the first time I really said to myself that I can do this.
RM: Speaking of heavy hitters, you will be on the next (and last) season of Eastbound & Down which features the one-liner machine that is Kenny Powers (Danny McBride). What is your character like on that show? And how has that opportunity differed from your work in film? Do you have any good stories from the set?
MB: I am Jimmy Clay, who is an ex-NFL Pro Bowl linebacker. I am now a co-host on a sports talk show called The Sesh. My character loves life and likes to just stay in his lane. He is Guy Young’s who is played by Ken Marino’s, right hand man on the show. It was a dream job to work with Danny McBride and Jody Hill because I think they are comedic geniuses. I learned a lot about comedy from them and Ken Marino. They allowed me to do a lot of improv on the set. It was very hard to keep a straight face on the set. I often wondered how they thought of a lot of the stuff they came up with.
RM: Could you tell us a little bit about “Last Vegas”, which will be in theaters November of 2013?
MB: Last Vegas is basically “Hangover” with older men. Michael Douglas plays a guy who is about to get married with a younger woman. He is the last of his friends played by Morgan Freeman, Robert De Niro, and Kevin Kline. His friends decide to throw him a bachelor party in Las Vegas. That’s when the fun begins. I play a Bouncer who they keep running into at each party.
RM: When it comes to show business in general, what is it that you think draws people so much to entertainment and the personalities that make up Hollywood?
MB: Every wants to be entertainment. I think we all “act” but just some of us are lucky enough to make a living at it. Just like any other profession it takes a lot of work and I think people in general feel like it is easy. They don’t realize that for every job we book, there are thousands of people fighting for each role big or small. And then in between jobs can be nerve racking. But people always will try to seek fame. If you don’t love what you’re doing, Hollywood has a way of eating you up and spitting you out.
RM: What are you really interesting in doing within the industry that you haven’t been able to do yet? Do you think that in five or ten years from now you’ll be able to have said that you’ve done it?
MB: I am working on my production company called Isis Ra Films, pronounced “Eye-is Ray.” I want to start producing my own projects. Within five years I feel that I will be well established.
RM: How do you spend your time when you’re not working? Are there any hobbies or interests that fill your days off?
MB: I spend time with the family. My wife Deena, my son Malik, and my daughter Micah. I love to play basketball and golf in my spare time.
RM: What’s up next for you in the remainder of 2013 and the beginning of 2014? Anything big in the works that we should know about?
MB: In 2014, I will be recurring on the AMC show called “Line of Sight.” It is AMC’s first sci-fi television show. It is directed and produced by Oscar award winning director, Jonathan Demme. I will be appearing in a couple episodes of VH1’s “Single Ladies.” I will also be in the Diggy Simmons BET movie week in 2013.
Michael on Facebook: ActorMichaelBeasley
Michael on Twitter: @IAmMikeBeasley
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