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‘People Need to See That’: Tyrese Reveals How John Singleton Made Sure He Didn’t Fall Victim to Being Typecast In Hollywood

Actor Tyrese has come a long way in Hollywood since his first major appearance in the 1994 Coca-Cola commercial showing off his singing chops, which led to a musical recording deal and ultimately some time on the big screen. The actor says one thing he’s grateful for is showing the different sides of his talent, especially when it comes to acting. 

While speaking with Vulture about the latest installment of the series and evolution of his fictional character Roman Pearce, who’s often been the center of comedic relief in the “Fast & Furious” franchise, the 42-year-old revealed how the late John Singleton, who passed in 2019, played a huge role in him starring in the film. “I graduated back in 1996, and I was literally the class clown. Nobody who grew up with me is surprised about the humor that happens when I’m on-camera,” Tyrese said regarding his approach to the role. 

Tyrese Gibson attends Universal Pictures “F9” World Premiere at TCL Chinese Theatre on June 18, 2021 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

However, it was Singleton who would go on to show the audience how funny the singer-songwriter really was. Tyrese continued, “I’m very grateful for Vin Diesel and Justin Lin, and rest in peace, John Singleton. My first movie was ‘Baby Boy,’ my second was ‘2 Fast 2 Furious,’ and he directed both. His idea, literally, was ‘I’m going to make you funny, because you’re funny as hell and people need to see that.’ ”

The “Black and Blue” star said he was thrilled upon hearing about the movie, which was a far cry from his “Baby Boy” role of playing a young Black man struggling to accept adulthood in the crime-ridden street of California, but business deals got muddled. “Back then, they couldn’t make a deal with Vin Diesel for ‘2 Fast 2 Furious,’ or Rob Cohen [who directed the first movie] and I said, shit, I’ll do it for two dollars. I’ll do it for per diem.”

He continued, “But if you think about it, ‘Baby Boy’ had nothing to do with ‘2 Fast 2 Furious.’ That was a dark, dramatic film. So, when I got the call, I was like, ‘Are you serious?’ Because normally, you get typecast. For them to be able to see the charm of Roman Pearce when I was introduced to Hollywood as ‘Baby Boy’ was life-changing for me. I had never seen that kind of money in my life. Me and Paul Walker had the time of our life in Miami partying and clubbing every day.”

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