Interviewed and written by Aaron Robinson – Editor
Photo credit Colin Su
Considered to be the “King of Hollywood South”, Michael Beasley continues to not only make a name for himself in the film/television industry but also continues to use his acting gift to rise to rewarding levels in the industry. Within the last 5 years, the talented actor has worked on more than 35 films and television projects. He is set to star on the HBO series Eastbound & Down and he has a role in the up-coming film Last Vegas. His recent films include 2Guns and Flight and the Sci-fi film The Bay, just to name a few. In the near future Beasley will also appear in a couple of seasons of the third episodes of Single Ladies.
Here is what one of the hardest working actors in show business shared during a recent interview with Consciousness Magazine.
Aaron Robinson: You’re known as “The King of Hollywood South”. How did this title derive?
Michael Beasley: It derived when I was on the set of shooting the movie 2Guns with Denzel Washington. He actually cast me my very first movie called the Great Debaters. On the 2Guns set he said ‘man you’re everywhere, so you’re based out of Atlanta?’ And I said ‘yeh.’ He then said ‘so you’re like the King of the South huh?’ I was like ‘you know I’m trying.’ So that’s where it got started. He noticed that I got over 22 film/TV projects in less than 6 years. It’s been a great run so far.
AR: You’re playing Jimmy Cash on the HBO series Eastbound & Down. For you, what makes playing a real life character different from playing a fictional character?
MB: Jimmy Cash, this is a fictional character based off of a sports commentator that’s already out there. With a fictional character you can just let it go and take it wherever it goes when you’re doing your acting, as far as the end project is concerned. It’s a wonderful experience to do it.
AR: You have acted along side Morgan Freeman, Robert De Niro and Michael Douglas in the soon to be released film Last Vegas. How has that whole experience been for you working alongside these veteran actors?
MB: It’s been amazing! It’s like on the job training for me. Every time I get on the set I’m sponging everything up. I’m watching what they’re doing and able to add it to the next set that I go to. To watch them work and to be able to hold my own in the movie, it was experience beyond words. They are all great to be around. They all treated me very well. I was pinching myself every time I got on the set like I couldn’t believe it was going on.
AR: Over the span of your acting career, what actor or director would you say that you have had a pleasure working with and learning from, and why?
MB: My father is a film and movie star. His name is John Beasley. I would have to say him first and foremost because he is a phenomenal actor and has really laid it out for me as to what to expect and how to handle the industry. As far as somebody else I would have to say Denzel Washington because I was able to see him carry himself in a humble way even being at that level. I saw how his team worked around him, and saw how you also have to have a successful team around you to get to that next level.
AR: Speaking of your father, you have such an amazing family where your wife is an actress and your brother is an actor also. Outside of acting and entertaining, what’s a typical day or family relationship like for all of you guys?
MB: To be honest with you, it should be a camera on all the time in our house. (Laughs) It’s always something going on; there’s never a dull moment. Other than that, [we’re] basically like a normal family. We have our ups and downs and everything else, but we try to inspire people to reach for their dreams any chance we get.
AR: For those who are looking to be a professional actor and director, what challenges or sacrifices should they be prepared to make when it comes to the film industry?
MB: Well, you have to prepare yourself to know that you don’t know when your next job is coming up. You have to have a strong belief in yourself that you will be able to succeed in this industry. Nothing is guaranteed. Just because you have family and friends that’s doing it well does not guarantee that you’re going to do well or that they can get you in there. You have to set your goals where they are not easy to get to; don’t set your goals low. You have to set them high enough where you wake up in the middle of the night focusing on reaching that goal. Any goal is attainable if you really work at it. So, you just have to have a strong belief in your dream.
AR: When you played professional basketball oversees, did you ever anticipate being an actor and having this much success as an actor?
MB: Yes, I played for 10 years in Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Chile, Argentina, Mexico and United States. I played at University of Texas, Arlington…college ball. I really wanted to focus on basketball. [When] I finished playing, I was like I have to reinvent myself somehow, so I decided to take a stab at the acting, which was just a surreal beginning, because I booked my first movie, my first commercial and I had unbelievable success in the beginning. That’s what kept me going. My father was in Atlanta doing a play called Jitney and I got a chance to sit in with him and read one of the characters in the play because one of the other actors didn’t make it that day. That’s when I caught the original bug…I said ‘you know, I can do this.’ Then when I got on the set of Diary of a Mad Black Woman, I was Madea’s photo double, so I got a chance to work with Tyler Perry and Cicely Tyson, etc. That’s when I really realized I could do this, and I never looked back. It’s been a great run so far.
AR: Can we expect any up-and-coming workshops or community efforts from you in the near future?
MB: My father and I are working on doing a workshop in Atlanta and other areas. I have a couple other projects that I’m doing now. So, definitely in the near future we’ll be doing some things.
AR: Thank you Michael for taking the time out of your busy schedule to pursue this interview! It was really a pleasure speaking to you.
MB: I appreciate it. I appreciate you reaching out to me as well.
Last modified: April 16, 2023