JOY105.COM EXCLUSIVE WITH MICHAEL JAI WHITE!
Actor, director, film writer, producer and martial arts expert
Tyler Perry’s For Better or Worse Friday’s 9/8c on TBS
Joy105.com: You were born in Brooklyn, New York, but moved to Bridgeport, Connecticut both are considered InterCity’s. How did your experiences growing up influence the man you are today?
Michael Jai White: Well, it was a great opportunity to grow up on the East Coast. In the InterCity’s you learn a lot about life and people. Your life depends on that skill! It’s a skill that will be with you for the rest of your days.
“I take it as a wonderful opportunity to have come up in the hard streets it has galvanized who I am.”
The street knowledge with the academic knowledge has you pretty much set for the world. I’m grateful for my upbringing. There are certain things that people that didn’t experience that lifestyle will lack for the rest of their lives. Like the really quick assessment of people they will never have that.
Joy105.com: Michael your credits include roles in action films, fantasies, dramas and character driven roles which role do you get the most joy from?
Michael Jai White: Oh boy, I know this sound like a cheat of an answer, but I love to do action in comedy! Even if I was doing direct action I would try to split comedy in where I can! I really try to do it wherever I can!
Joy105.com: What do you want your legacy to be?
Michael Jai White: Well, I never thought about it that way. I don’t want my existence to be from playing roles.
“I don’t have that type of ego that I think on, “I want to be known for…whatever status”. I just want to continue to do my best!”
Joy105.com: What is the funniest moment that has happen on the set of for Better or Worse?
Michael Jai White: OMG! There are sooo many funny moments! There are funny moments like EVERY SINGLE DAY! (Laughing) There really have been no bad moments! One day I showed up on set with a fart machine a remote control fart machine. You can leave it somewhere and walk away and at any moment press a button and all kinds of arrays of farts will come out.
Like we were doing a scene and Tasha was in the bed with me and I get up and I leave the bed, but I had already planted the fart machine on her side of the bed so when I walked away we were having an argument in the scene so Tasha is by herself in the bed and I am a good distance away if you had seen the look on her face it was hilarious and she was looking around like that wasn’t me and I was like who else is over there! (Laughing)
Joy105.com: Michael, what is it like working with Tyler Perry on a regular basis? Movies? TV?
Michael Jai White: It’s great working with Tyler! I am so happy that he directed and wrote all of these episodes because I am not sure if anyone would have gotten the real gist of what’s trying to be said with this series. It’s tremendous and so collaborative. I have a platform to perform to my best ability.
“Tyler has no ego as established as he is, he accepts our ideas the collaboration is a rare thing!”
Joy105.com: Do you have a religious belief?
Michael Jai White: I’m pretty private with it! I’m not very evangelistic (Laughing).
“I feel like if a dog wants to bite you he won’t bark!”
Sometimes testifying publicly compromises your true convictions. I feel for myself, I know how I work best with God; my thing is to do the work and not just say it.
Joy105.com: What would you say to young aspiring actors whose resources are limited, but passion is great for acting?
Michael Jai White: Look at it as a business! If they want to do it as a hobby I applaud that, but if you have a family take care of your family first! The odds are stacked against you tremendously! It’s like playing the lotto especially in today’s environment. I am fortunate to have come along when I did and have a foot hole in the production of it. I learned the business of it and for someone coming along today if you just want to be an actor I would say do it as a hobby! Again, if you have a family and you want to be an actor, don’t do it! Take care of the family first!