This chameleon of the cinema has created a kaleidoscope of characters ranging from pimp to pilot, all while delivering a signature style and sophistication. Hollywood is known to be a hard-knock hustle, but you simply have to admire Terrence Howard: dapper, distinctive and never disappointing.
BET.com sat down with the Oscar nominee while promoting his latest film Red Tails, an action-packed tale about the Tuskegee Airmen. Here, he talks The Best Man sequel, a New Year’s resolution taking him to the sky and all things Red Tails.
The story of the Tuskegee Airmen is a story that many think they know in full, but what did you learn that you didn’t already know about this moment in history?
There are a lot of things that I learned. When you think about the Tuskegee Airmen, you picture their accomplishments at present. But then when you really look at it, these were 19-, 20- and 21-year-old kids sent up in two-ton objects and told to fly in the sky! For those young men to have that amount of fortitude and courage, you can’t help but look at the relevance of how we are today. The young men and women of today can accomplish amazing feats! Whether Black, white, or Hispanic, it doesn’t matter! I learned that we are so much more than what we believe ourselves to be.
You’ve been quoted as saying that your favorite line from Red Tails is “We have great expectations for you.” Why did those words resonate with you?
Parents are supposed to look up to their children and push them forward. I don’t see you for who you are today, wetting in your pants and complaining. I see who you are going to be 20 years from now, when you are leading the people. I see you when you are making an example for the rest of the world. To say that to a young person, you are really saying, “I believe in you!”
You are a seasoned pro with these multiple fighter pilot flicks under your belt, any urge to seek out your own pilot’s license?
Yes, that’s all I’ve been thinking about! That was part of my New Year’s resolution for 2012. My son and I are going to join flight school and become pilots. I want to fly helicopters and planes. I want the license. I want the glory! [Laughs]
There has been a lot of buzz about The Best Man sequel. Are you looking forward to stepping back into the shoes of that trouble-making Quentin?
Quentin was not a troublemaker, Quentin was a trouble-fixer! [Laughs] Quentin corrected the world. Everybody else was messing it up and he came in to set things in order. I can’t wait to reprise Quentin! We need another infusion. [Laughs]
So many strive to get there, but we always here about the struggles of fame. For you, what is the downside of fame?
The downside is everybody is in your business and they don’t know you. Everybody is up in your Kool-Aid and have no idea how you like it! But you realize that as long as people are talking about you, it means you are still somewhat relevant.
Do you read the blogs?
No, I have better things to do. I’ve got children to raise and I’ve got women to love. [Laughs]
Why should the BET.com audience rush out to see Red Tails?
Because it is the most beautiful of the untold stories and it will fill in the gaps of these many chapters missing in our history. And it’s one hell of a ride!
Red Tails is in theatres today.
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(Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images)