With 11 films under his belt, actor Tyrese Gibson, 31, isn’t a veteran just yet. There is still a lot of work to be done, he says, but is excited about his future in the entertainment industry. In his newest feature film “Legion,” Gibson plays Kyle Williams, a man who finds himself trapped at a deserted diner just when God sends a legion of angels from heaven to start the apocalypse. During an interview with me, Gibson, who has starred in such films as “Baby Boy,” “Transformers,” and “Death Race,” talked about working with actors like Paul Bettany and Charles Dutton and explained why he’ll never look at an ice cream truck the same ever again.
Were you excited to star in “Legion” since it is your first horror-type film?
Yeah, but you know it’s just another beautiful day in the garden. The genre is one thing but I just really enjoy being around people that I can learn from. That’s what I look forward to the most. It just so happened to be a horror/thriller-type of movie, but I just had a great time working with everybody, including the crew. I like to hang out with everybody. It’s good energy.
What do you learn from an actor like Charles Dutton who has been in this industry for 25 years?
I’m a student. Anybody who knows me knows that I show up ready to learn. I never come on the set pretending like I’ve been acting forever. Actors like Charles Dutton and Paul Bettany are great. I always look forward to working with powerful guys like that. The whole time I’m thinking, “Man, these dudes are heavyweights.” You pull up their imdb.com pages and it’s like page one, page two, page three. These dudes have been at it forever.
Is that something you want in your career – staying power like that?
Yeah, I’ve got so much more work to do man. I’ve done about 11 movies. I hope I’m able to do this as long as Morgan Freeman.
As an actor in the past nine years, has anything changed in how you take on your roles?
Not really. I just always want to be a part of the filmmaker’s vision. The beautiful thing about writing screenplays and directing movies is that filmmakers allow people to see their interpretation of how they see the world. James Cameron said everybody’s blue and has big eyes and tails – “Avatar.” That’s the way he sees the world. That the way it happened on “Legion.” I just showed up and [director] Scott Stewart had a vision and a dream. I wanted to help make that vision come to life.
One reason this film looks scary from the trailer is because things that are usually considered harmless like an old lady or an ice cream man are turned into these inhuman creatures…
I never hung out with that man [actor Doug Jones who plays the spider-like ice cream man]. He scared the hell out of me.
I’m guessing you’ll never look at an ice cream truck the same ever again, huh?
Yeah, if I buy something from an ice cream truck I’m gonna look at the man and make sure his arms aren’t stretching out. That’s a scary situation.
How is your comic book “Mayhem” doing and why did you decide to get into this part of the entertainment industry?
You know, I was promoting “Death Race” at Comic-Con and I felt the energy out there – the selfless passion these fans in the comic book world have. There were all these people wearing costumes and T-shirt and different hairstyles. I had never seen anything like it. I needed to figure out how to be a part of this world. My team and I put together this “Mayhem” concept and came up with a storyline. We made history on so many different levels with it. We’re talking about the first-ever digital comic book sold on iTunes. Just click the space bar and you can watch it like a movie. It’s being sold in 38 different countries. It’s crazy. I’m so proud to make history with that.
Would “Mayhem” be an idea you’d like to adapt into a movie if something like “Luke Cage” doesn’t work out?
We’ll see. We’re talking to some film companies about “Mayhem” and seeing if anything makes sense. But I want to make sure we establish a fan base with “Mayhem” first before we just jump out there and turn it into a movie.
And I’m guessing you’d want to play the superhero, Mayhem?
Absolutely. I’d love to play Mayhem. I am Mayhem.