Former basketball player, Michael Beasley, is now a well-known actor, appearing in shows like Eastbound and Down, as well as movies like Flight, American Reunion, and the upcoming film Vegas. In an exclusive interview, Beasley tells us how it feels to be an overnight success.
Q: How did you get involved in acting?
Beasley: I was playing basketball for about ten years and I wanted to do it (acting) for a while but wanted to focus on my basketball career. My father, John Beasley, who is a film and TV star, he was in Atlanta doing a play, and one of the actors didn’t show up so they let me read for his part, and that’s when I got the bug for it. About two years after that, I booked my first commercial that I went for, and then my first movie I went for and I had to audition for Denzel Washington. It was phenomenal, like a storybook career.
Q: Reflecting on your career, how does it feel knowing you’ve been in so many hit shows and movies?
Beasley: It’s amazing. Everyone says go to LA, but I decided to get agents in different areas; it’s a numbers game, just like basketball. You audition for basketball just like you do for acting, because you audition for different teams and stuff like that. So I’ve had the experience with basketball and just transferred it to acting. It’s a ridiculous experience because I’m also getting all the job training with Oscar award winning people. I love doing what I’m doing.
Q: Do you miss basketball at all?
Beasley: I do, but I don’t. I know what it takes to reach that high level, and I have a family now, so in order to reach that high level it takes a lot. It’s the number one sacrifice. I have to make sacrifices with acting, but not as much; when you’re playing a sport you have to be in the gym like eight to ten hours and its so time consuming. I love playing basketball, like it’s very therapeutic for me… I’m strong believer in loving what you do, and doing what you love, that’s what I try to live my life like. I could be doing a bunch of other things that I hate and make a lot more money, and experience a lot more things, but I love doing what I do.
Q: What does it feel like to be on the regular cast of the final season of Eastbound and Down?
Beasley: It is the dream job. It is so much fun onset; I hated to see that it was over. I auditioned for several parts and didn’t become a series regular; there was another part that I really wanted and I didn’t get that part, but I turned out to be a series regular so God has a way of working it out for you. Everybody was so much fun to work with. We got a chance to improv a lot on the show; it’s like spur of the moment type things and that’s what makes it so good.
Q: Can you tell us a little bit about your character Jimmy?
Beasley: Jimmy is an ex-NFL player who is on the show called, The Sesh, and it’s a sports talk show. Ken Marino, who is Guy Young, is basically the host of the show, and I’m basically his right hand man. I’ve been on the show for like six years and it gets great reviews, until Kenny Powers shows up.
Q: Anything you can tell us about your new movie Last Vegas, which stars Robert Di Nero, Kevin Kline, Michael Douglas, and Morgan Freeman?
Beasley: Basically what happens is Michael Douglas is one of the last men to settle down in this group, so they all go on one last party before he gets married, so they head to Vegas, and that’s when everything goes crazy. They had a great script, but then they did their thing to the script.
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