Boris Kodjoe’s NBC series Undercovers was hot, sexy, and adventurous fun, but it didn’t attract enough viewers to keep it on the air. What happened? “It’s difficult with networks nowadays," Kodjoe said, chatting with BET.com in the Backstage Creations gift lounge at L.A.’s Nokia Theater after Kevin Hart’s “Laugh at My Pain” comedy show, part of Shaq's NBA All-Star Weekend event. "It’s a different economic situation. If you don’t have the eyeballs right away, they don’t give it a chance. They don’t let it grow. Undercovers had the best possible elements to it. You just never know. The sad thing is I worked with people that I love. It’s tough because we were together for a year.”
Undeterred, Kodjoe is investigating new TV opportunities. “It’s pilot season,” he notes; he would consider both comedies and dramas. "It doesn’t matter. It’s about the whole package—the script, who’s producing it, who’s involved. I just love good writing and to spread my wings and do different things. There’s good stuff out there, it’s just a matter of finding it.”
That goes for movies too, and he’s lined up a couple of film projects that he plans to shoot in May/June in New Orleans. “I’m planning two movies this summer, a romantic comedy that I’m directing and a drama I’m producing,” which will have parts for his wife, Nicole Ari Parker.
They’ll take kids Nicolas, 4, and Sophie, who’ll turn 6 next month, along. “They’re doing great,” he says, acknowledging that his daughter may have inherited the acting gene. “Sophie is very dramatic and dances and sings. Nicolas’s whole focus is on sports—tennis, basketball, soccer. But both of them are very artistic. We do arts and crafts projects at home, we paint and draw.”
Kodjoe, also an entrepreneur, has a custom clothing company called Word of ALFA (Affordable Luxury for All). “We’re the only company in the world that does true mass customization. 96 percent of Americans don’t own a custom shirt because they can’t afford it. We made it affordable,” he says, noting that shirt prices start at $29 at worldofalfa.com. “We have truly revolutionary 3D active software that lets you design it yourself, and it ships directly from the factory to you.” He and Parker are also partnering on a line of health and beauty products.
Asked for his Oscar picks, Kodjoe predicted wins for Colin Firth, Natalie Portman, and Christian Bale, but was torn about Best Picture. “I like The Fighter a lot because I always admire filmmakers when they don’t have an unlimited amount of financial resources and make it work. It means that the writing and directing and performances really carry the movie. I liked a lot of them. I really loved The King’s Speech.”
In honor of Black History Month, Kodjoe has been making appearances, “speaking at colleges and reminding people of the legacy and the responsibility rather than just the privilege that we have. I remind them that people suffered and died for the simple rights that we enjoy right now,” he says. “Most kids understand the importance of that.”
Image: Michael Kovac/Getty Images for GQ