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Tyrese Gibson Talks Career Longevity, Working With His Idols, And New Film Dangerous - Exclusive Interview

Tyrese Gibson has an impressive 20-year acting career under his belt — one that began three years after he burst onto the scene as a popular R&B singer. Since then, his big screen performances have rivaled and even surpassed his music career, having starred in the blockbuster "Fast and Furious" and "Transformers" franchises, among other films. In 2022, he'll be joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe with a starring role in "Morbius," alongside Jared Leto, who will play the titular vampire anti-hero.

Gibson's latest film, "Dangerous," features him as a small-town sheriff who inadvertently gets tangled up in a deadly situation when an ex-con comes to town for his brother's funeral. Also starring Scott Eastwood (Clint Eastwood's son), Mel Gibson, Famke Janssen, and Kevin Durand, the action-packed thriller is out now in theaters and available on demand.

Looper recently sat down with Tyrese Gibson to exclusively talk about "Dangerous," reflect on his impressive career, and find out where he hopes it takes him next.

Tyrese Gibson has cooked meals for Famke Janssen and let Scott Eastwood crash on his couch

You have a small but pivotal role in "Dangerous." What attracted you to the part?

Honestly, I'm humbled and grateful that my phone is still ringing after 20 years of my little career in Hollywood. So I look at this moment, to be opposite Mel Gibson, who is somebody I grew up watching and loving as an actor, and now a filmmaker, and it was a no-brainer for me. Scott Eastwood stays at my house when he's in Atlanta. So he's, like, really my brother. Independent of us rocking on a movie set, he's my brother. When somebody feels comfortable sleeping at your house, that's when you know it's real. And I had already worked with Kevin Durand on a film called "Legion," with Paul Bettany. And so, it was cool to reconnect with him. And then, yeah, Famke, it was my first time working with her, but I've seen all of her franchise films. And it was cool. It was freezing in Canada, but we got through it.

You and Scott have worked together before in "The Fate of the Furious," which is a big franchise for you. What have you learned from those "Fast and Furious" films that you take with you onto every set?

Well, the beautiful thing about movies in Hollywood is that no two days are ever the same. The sets are always different. And so, if there's such a thing as getting bored with Hollywood, that moment has not presented itself, because there's just a way to keep switching it up. And even as long as I've been a part of the "Fast and Furious," every day I get to the set, and I'm like, "Really?" Films like "Transformers," just "Really?" It's always different. It's always, "Wow." You know? Because I never imagined I would ever act, ever in my life, and I'm blown away by the creativity of set designers and filmmakers and action and stunt coordinators. There are some really talented people out there. Cinematographers, the way things are lit. The way you can walk onto a set, and if it's a period piece, they know how to make everything look like you're in the '60s. And you can't help but get into that headspace when you get to these sets. It's really amazing.

And so, the "Dangerous" scene I did with Scott Eastwood in the prison, it was one of those sets. When you walk in, it was, "Whoa, what is this?" It instantly puts you in a place, and now you've just got to memorize your dialogue and get busy.

You mentioned being a big fan of Mel Gibson. You didn't have any scenes with him, but did you get to hang out with him, or have you met him before in the past? What's he like?

Yeah, I've definitely met him multiple times. When I say working with them, sometimes you do scenes with folks, other times you don't, but you're all in the same movie. So all I was thinking was, at some point, Mel Gibson is going to see this film, and I just hope that what me and Scott ended up doing is something that he at least winks at. Because there's just certain people in Hollywood that you would hope to run into, and they'd be, "Hey man, you really did your thing." You don't want to hear compliments from everybody. You want to hear compliments from who you want to hear them from. And he's one of them.

He credits Denzel Washington with kickstarting his acting career

"Dangerous" takes place on a small island. What would be the number one thing you would take with you if you were stuck on a remote island?

Probably my phone, because hopefully I can get Uber Eats to deliver something. Hopefully I can book a flight. Hopefully, at some point, I can drop my location and get somebody to come pick me up. Because a remote island, you can't quite describe where you are and get people to show up. But yeah, that's what I would have, probably my phone.

And what would be the number one movie you'd bring with you? What is your favorite movie of all time?

I would say "The Hurricane," with Denzel Washington. Denzel is the reason I decided to do films, and he's just somebody I idolize and have the utmost respect for. Yeah, his performance in "The Hurricane" inspired me to do my first film, [John Singleton's] "Baby Boy."

Can you name a dream actor or director you've never worked with that you'd love to work with most, past or present?

I have a couple. I'm a huge fan of Todd Phillips, from the "Joker" movie. Huge, huge fan. And I love David O. Russell. I love Ryan Coogler. I love Steven Spielberg, even though I worked with him indirectly for the "Transformers" franchise. I would love to be in a dramatic film directed by Spielberg. And I think the last on my bucket list would probably be queen Ava DuVernay.

Is there a dream role you wish you could play?

Well, my dream role is something that I'm about to play, which is Teddy Pendergrass. Teddy Pendergrass is directed by Lee Daniels. Both Teddy and Lee were born in Philadelphia. Billie Holiday was born in Philadelphia, which Lee had just directed ["The United States vs. Billie Holiday"]. So, I just cannot wait to take on that role. It's been 10 years in the making, literally. I knew Teddy. I was one of the best men at his wedding and one of the pallbearers at his funeral. So, I just cannot wait to make him proud with this film.

Obviously, you mentioned you've been in the entertainment industry — both singing and acting — for 20+ years now. So, I know this is very broad, but what has been one of the biggest highlights of your career?

I think the biggest highlight is still having a career. Yeah. Who would ever think? They say in the Bible, "Never despise humble beginnings." "Never despise small beginnings." So, going from "Baby Boy" to having almost $9 billion in box office receipts in my name, nobody in the world would tell me that I would still be here. So, when the phone rings and opportunities come in, to this day, I just can't believe it. And I'm just humbled and grateful to still be in the game. So, thank you, Jesus. And thank you, John Singleton.

Tyrese Gibson's latest film, "Dangerous," is currently in theaters and on demand.