MF: Tell me more about your new movie, Who Made the Potato Salad?
JW: Yes, I have a few things coming out, and this movie is one of those things that snuck up one me. I cannot run from it. It’s called Who Made the Potato Salad. I should have known this thing was going to keep creeping up on me. I actually made the movie about two years ago, and there is a lead time on these kinds of things. It’s a Thanksgiving movie; they missed the first window, so they have to wait till next year. It’s basically an African American Meet the Fockers.
I play a guy name Michael who is a cop going home to his girlfriend’s spot for the weekend to meet her parents for the first time and to basically announce their engagement. When I get there, I meet her father played by Clifton Powell who is a former black panther leader who hates cops. So, at that point, it becomes an issue as to how long is it going to take before we reveal to Pop that I’m a cop. Once that comes out, I am the most unwelcomed person at the dinner table.
I meet her relatives and old boyfriends who are pursuing her from jail played by Eddie Griffin and another boyfriend who actually comes by the house played by Donnie Lispen. I have a rule if the script is funny and narrative, I’m in - It was funny. I knew the writer because I also work as a writer. Damon Daniels came to me and said you are going to be perfect for this, and I was like I’m not even acting right now relax. But, he told me to read it. So, I read the joint and it was funny.
A month later, my manager called me and told me, “This project, Who Made the Potato Salad, came in for you, and I like it… the script is hilarious.” We shot it in two weeks. It was the most hellish shoot I had have ever been on in my whole life. There are scenes in there that I’m afraid to see. I haven’t seen it.
MF: Why haven’t you seen it?
JW: I don’t like to watch myself. I am serious. It may sound weird, but you know I can feel it. I just shot a pilate for ABC recently, and I could feel it. We knocked that movie out of the park. You also know when you didn’t knock certain things out of the park. But, for this project, all I can basically say about it is that it’s funny. You can’t take anything away from this. If you watch it around Thanksgiving, just make sure there are no kids in the room. There’s some potty mouth. It’s a keep it real Friday type humor.
MF: I heard you worked in Dreamgirls?
JW: I’m not going to say anything about my part, but that film is going to be a classic; I suspect Oscar nominations from certain people. It was an honor to be on the set. I’m just being honest with you. It was just an honor. I would have worked 20 hour days if they had let me. It’s that spectacular of a movie. So, if you like Chicago, this is Chicago only with soul. And, Chicago is a great film.
MF: You know I have to ask you about the whole rumor that you died. I was really upset when I heard it.
JW: The internet is the land of the ultimate sucker punch to be honest. I was in New York when it started, and my phone just blew up… exploded. Just 500 to 600 calls in a month from people I wanted to hear from and didn’t want to hear from. There was nothing for me to say. I wasn’t going to go on a talk show or anything like that and tell people I am here I’m alive…the shortest interview ever. It’s not going to change my life at all. I really don’t know what to say about it.
I didn’t know what to say then other than the fact that you have some malicious individuals in this world who think that kind of stuff is cute. I will say thank you to all the people who helped spread the truth. I did discover just how many people’s lives I had touched because when I say I heard from everyone I have ever known in my life, I mean everybody and that does make me feel good. Makes you feel like if you were to leave this planet, you would have had some type of impact and that’s all you can really ask for.
MF: What’s your work out routine like? I have seen you recently and I was like, “Look at him, he is grown.” I still picture you as "Steve Urkel."
JW: I did a lot of things to retard my personal growth on purpose to be quite honest. I had to for the sake of the character. I kept the same hair style and stayed out of the gym; I did the role from 12 to 21 years old. But, by the time you get to 21 you are ready to do something.
My own personal work out regimen is three times a week with a trainer. I am kind of blessed with my father’s metabolism, so consistency benefits me more than anything. Consistency is the key to working out; consequently, I rarely miss a session unless I’m out of town. Plus, somebody will get paid if I’m not there anyway, so it becomes an appointment as opposed to working out and that helps also. Sometimes my trainer will train me with no weights at all. Sometimes I do up-downs, suicides, stuff I used to do in high school for basketball. I am the pull up champion. I can probably open every exercise session with 36 pull-ups. I also sprint on the treadmill.
MF: Do you like yoga?
JW: I don’t do yoga, yet. I need to get into it because I can feel myself losing flexibility.
MF: What’s in your iPod?
JW: What’s my celebrity play list? Well as of late, I have the new Justin album, and I think it is off the chain. That doesn’t make me gay or nothing. LOL. There’s a hip hop album that’s almost esoteric; the group is called “The Healing” and the album is called “Strange Fruit.” It’s kind of like on that roots tip and I love it. It’s one of my favorite hip hop albums right now. Other than that, let me open up my ipod and see what mix we did for the pool party. I like Omarion’s, "Entourage," TI’s "Why you wanna?" My stuff is broken down. I got my R Kelly. David Banner, TI, especially when you are working out. I also have a play list you listen to when you go snow boarding…nickel back…the killers. It gives you that extra ump. Stuff you can get hyped off of. I’m all over the place with music. I have a huge eclectic set of friends. But, I am an R&B man at heart. I will throw on some Donell Jones in a minute.
MF: No Reggae?
JW: I mess with Reggaeton, but I’m more into the top 40 reggae to be honest. The Sean Paul and Damion Marley stuff I love. Damion stuff kills it. The east coast gets more of it than we do in California.
MF: What are you future plans in terms of writing, acting, producing?
JW: You know I could have been on television every day since 2001, but I don’t think anyone wants to see me on a reality show ice skating with the stars. And, that’s not what I do. For me, it has been about maturing and working on my craft. I have sold screen plays. I have written for people. I’ve worked for Disney channel, PBS. Now, I’m really focused on features, and suddenly everything I am working on is features related. I’ve already made a living and now I’m just trying to make my point.
I’m just trying to do more things that are indicative of quality entertainment and that are just funny. I get offered wack stuff every day. I can definitely see that some strides are going to be made on the film side.