Malik is known as a womanizer, how are you with the ladies?
For the past five years of my life [I’ve been trying] to label what I feel. I feel that I’m a really shy person—I literally have to make a conscious effort to be an extrovert. If you ever think I’m being extroverted at some point, there’s a manipulative effort on my part. It just doesn’t come natural to me; I’m trying to convince myself right now [laughs].
I would think that because you portray such a complex character on the show, in real life you wouldn’t be a shy person.
I love what I do because I get to be someone that’s not me. I enjoy the acting part of it all because the acting in itself is so intimate. Being an actor and doing the actual job is very intimate. Being an actor is not about meeting a bunch of people, it’s about doing a job.
Do you ever see yourself wanting to be more famous?
I plan to be much bigger. The Game is just the beginning. We’re going into our seventh season, so I’ve basically had the same job for nine years now. After the show is done, I plan to spread my wings into film. I don’t think I’m going to do another TV show any time soon, not saying I’m done completely, but I want to grow in the [film] world.
What kind of films would you want to do?
Every kind of film—anything that continues to stretch me as an artist and allow me to push boundaries for myself as an artist.
Are there any actors and actresses you want to work with before you throw in the towel?
[Laughs] Absolutely. Morgan Freeman, Will Smith, and Brad Pitt. Eddie Murphy would be a big dream for me. I will always aim towards making that dream a reality; Eddie is the dream for me.
Is Eddie Murphy the reason you got into acting?
He is the reason that I am an actor, amongst Martin Lawrence, Keenan Ivory Wayans, and Will Smith. I grew up in Alabama; we didn’t go to the movies like everybody else. I was a TV guy; the reason I got into the business is because I wanted to be like the people I saw on TV. Every week I watched Eddie Murphy do his thing on Saturday Night Live when I was supposed to be in bed. I am definitely a product of Mr. Murphy. It’s going to happen, it just has to take time.
How has it been working with Jay Ellis and Lauren London?
Lauren London really surprised me as a person. She’s such a sensitive woman and so passionate, which I appreciate, but I think people feel like she’s this tough girl and she’s not [laughs]. Jay is just a cool dude, man. He’s just real chill. They came in and picked up the ball and ran with it.
How is it working without Pooch Hall?
It’s bittersweet in a way. You want to give the new players on the team an opportunity to shine without having to live in someone else’s shoes. I don’t know too much about Pooch’s situation but I guess hes made some choices as an artist that allows him to move on and transition. It makes it difficult in a way because you miss the way things used to be, but then it’s not difficult because you want the new people to shine and do their thing. My dream for the show is for it to live on past me. I hope that new people continue to come in and revive the show and give it a new prospective and opportunity.
Do you still keep in contact with Pooch and Tia?
I haven’t spoken to Pooch in a really long time. I see Tia more often than Pooch, but now that she has the baby and like 10 [different] shows it’s hard to catch up with her.
What will we see for the next half of the season from you?
I won’t tell you the next half but I’ll tell you what I hope for in the new season. I hope that Malik surprises everybody in the next season [season 7] not the other half of this season . I hope he really does something mind blowing.
Tune in tomorrow (July 2) at 10pm for The Game premiere.