Tyrese Gibson reprises his role as the loud-mouthed Roman Pearce for Furious 7, which marks his fourth entry in Fast and Furious cycle. The former fashion model got his big break in Hollywood in John Singleton’s Baby Boy, and he’s never looked back. The multi-talented Gibson enjoyed early success as an R&B singer, earning two Grammy nominations for 2000’s “Sweet Lady” and 2004’s “How You Gonna Act Like That” before becoming a franchise-film MVP in blockbuster sagas like Transformers and Fast and Furious. Gibson took some time out of his hectic schedule to discuss his latest racing movie, saying goodbye to his friend Paul Walker, and tackling the Playboy’s Lucky 7.
What’s the craziest stunt you did for Furious 7?
Shit, man, really it was a constant kind of adrenaline and energy around all of these stunts. I think sometimes they’d just wake up thinking about shit that we can do to challenge us, man. I don’t know what the craziest stunt was. You know what I’m saying? It was kind of relentless, man. They don’t let up, they go all out.
What’s it like coming off of a movie like a Furious 7 and having to obey normal speed limits?
It’s definitely a big difference, and especially because there’s barely any speed at all you can get in the real world. And that’s honestly part of the message that I’ve been sending to the world lately. I know that this movie is a big influence and a lot of people love it, but I do remind folks that there’s one very important thing — we are acting. And when things are too dangerous for us, we have stunt doubles to keep us safe and alive. I don’t want anyone going out there and trying any of this stuff just assuming that we’re really doing these stunts, because we’re not. We’re going as far as we can possibly go before they shut us down.
What’s it like shooting in Abu Dhabi?
Abu Dhabi is one of the safest places in the world. I just love the culture out there. I love how they stick to their traditions. We were able to eat out and just kind of be embraced and loved on a very local level. I’ve already been out there four times, and every time I go back, man, I literally feel like a king. I gave myself a name, “Sheik Ya Booty,” because I feel like a sheik.
Where would you like to see the Fast and Furious franchise go next?
Honestly, we’re all focused on this one right now, and we haven’t got into talks and conversation about the next one. We’re just really paying our respects to our brother and our family, Paul Walker. None of us wanted to do press or media for this movie and feel like we’re making it about us. It’s not about us. It’s about Paul. And that’s why this movie didn’t end with a cliffhanger because we’re not ending with a “Hey, guess what’s coming up next!” We just left it all alone and we paid our respects at the end of the movie, rightfully, to our brother, who’s an angel. If we do make another movie, we’ll try our best to keep improving and make everybody proud.
What was your first exposure to Playboy Magazine?
When I was young, I went into a liquor store — and this is before y’all started wrapping them, you know? I wanted to see everything. I was like, “What is this? What’s going on here?” Yeah. That was a good day.
What was your very first car that you bought?
The first car I ever got was an ’83 Cutlass Sierra and my license plate was 1HNA540. I remember it like it was yesterday. It was a very rustic color when I first got it, and then I got it painted black at Al and Ed’s One Day Body Paint. It cost me about $750 to get it painted and I felt the love. I have a lot of memories. That’s when I really first got to learn how to drive. As soon as I turned 16 I got a job at McDonald’s and I went and started taking driving classes just so I could get my license. When I passed the test, boy it was like the best day of my life, because I just loved driving.
What movie scared you the most as a kid?
The movie that scared me the most as a kid was probably Nightmare on Elm Street, and also Child’s Play.
Heaven forbid you ever end up on death row, what would your last meal be?
Man, that’s a very fucking weird ass question. I don’t know, man. I’ve never thought about my last meal. I just love eating, man. I can’t think of a last meal.
What’s the first song you knew the words to?
A bunch of oldies but goodies, you know. I knew a lot of hip hop, but when I was in Watts, which is right next to Compton, was when the whole NWA phenomenon was happening. I just found a lot of stuff like everybody else, falling in love with hip hop and just loving all the energy of hip hop.
What would you consider your favorite mistake?
That’s kind of a weird question again. I don’t really know if the word favorite is normally associated with mistake. Well, I would say I’ve made the mistake of pissing certain people off, and then after we stopped hanging out and being cool, I found out other things about this person and then I don’t end up regretting that I stopped fucking with them. I guess that’s a good mistake.
Do you have a pop culture blind spot?
I believe that I can actually see everything that’s going on, people. I crack my share of jokes. I’m a good person with a lot of big energy, but I am beyond a thinking man. I know a lot of shit and a lot of people say some otherwise, and I just love playing on the fact that some people don’t think I know exactly what’s going on. What they may have said about me, I just would have to show my favorite pop culture blind spot. That’s my answer.