Tip “T.I.” Harris is nothing if not multi-talented. Not only is the rapper/actor starring in the action flick “Takers,” he’s also a producer on the movie. The script about career criminals who plan to rob $20 million from a bank had been floating around Hollywood for years. T.I. saw the potential in the story and after three years in the making, the film hits theaters this Friday. “It feels wonderful to work on something so hard for so long, be so passionate about it and see it come full circle. It's definitely a rewarding feeling,” says the Atlanta native.
“Takers” is packed with a powerhouse cast that includes Idris Elba, Zoe Saldana, Michael Ealy, Matt Dillon and Chris Brown. “It's something for everyone,” explains the “Live Your Life” rapper. “You got enormous action sequences, guns, money, explosions and fights. You got high-end fashion; you got me -- something for the ladies, the guys, all walks of life with any possible interest.”
This is T.I.’s third gangster-type role, but he refuses to stay in this box. “I definitely want to do things that present a challenge. I don’t want to do things that people can say, ‘Well that is expected.’ I love to challenge myself, step out and not know for sure whether or not I can do it,” says T.I. “If you take a shot at it and you give 100 percent, that's when the hard work really begins to be taken into consideration and you begin to be noticed as an actor.”
While questions of T.I.’s recent marriage to BET reality star Tiny Cottle remain off limits (he smoothly told us, “We’re gonna leave that out of the discussion.”), he did address rumors that he was unhappy with the series, “Tiny & Toya.”
“I had my opinions about elements of the show -- how my personal life was made public on so many levels. But, the show itself never did anything to me. At the end of the day, I think [Tiny] calculated her pros and cons and came to the conclusion it was time for her to move on.”
Are there any plans for T.I. or Tiny to venture back into reality television? “I, myself, I am not interested in reality television; just me, myself, speaking. I would love to continue to support [Tiny] in whatever she decides to do. I just don’t think there is a place for me in that world.”
Certainly there is a place for T.I. on the big screen. The stylistic action-thriller “Takers” is set to wow audiences, showing growth from a man who has endured so much in recent years. T.I., who turns the big 3-0 next month, has managed to reinvent himself, adding a little Hollywood glamour yet staying true to his roots. “I love BET and I love the fans. You guys have played a huge part in lifting my career up and putting me in the position I’m in now. Thank you.”
“Takers” is in theaters this Friday.
Clay Cane is the Entertainment Editor at BET.com. You can read more of his work at claycane.net.