In "Soul Men," naturally Bernie Mac gets most of the laughs but there were a few times in the film where he and Samuel L. Jackson got robbed.
Affion Crockett, playing a wannabe slacker rapper/dope man named Lester, steals just about every scene he's in playing opposite Mac and Jackson in "Soul Men," which hits theaters today. Lester, the no-good boyfriend of Sharon Leal's character, Cleo, first encounters the recently reunited singing duo of Henderson (Mac) and Hinds (Jackson) when they discover that he's sampled one of their tracks illegally.
That resulted in the first of his on-screen beat downs.
But despite getting his butt kicked in just about every scene, Crockett said working with Mac and Jackson was one of the greatest experiences of his life. "Everything I've done in my life to this point was meant for this moment," he said. "Bernie was so generous with his knowledge and his time with people. As far as me, he would take me aside on the set and say, 'Man, you've got what it takes.' He was giving me that encouragement so I was always riding on a cloud."According to Crockett neither Mac or Jackson had issues with him going for the funny in their scenes together.
"They both looked at it as a team effort," Crockett said. "They never looked at me as the young guy coming in and try to steal the scenes. Sam would actually give me some jokes. He would pull me aside and say, "Hey man, say this. This will be hilarious.' And Bernie, because he was such a freestyle guy, he said, 'Let's just go--do whatever you want to do.'"
Although some fans might remember him as one of the breakout stars of Nick Cannon's MTV shows--"Short Circuitz" and "Wild 'N Out"--Crockett actually got his start on HBO's "Def Comedy Jam," has also appeared in "Step Brothers," "Harold and Kumar 2: Escape From Guantanamo Bay" and "I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry." He's the offspring of Trinidadian parents and grew up in North Carolina and graduated with honors from Fayetteville State University with a B.A. in business administration.
In addition to his film and television careers, Crockett has also produced three hip hop albums.
"You need to be able to do it all," Crockett said. "That's what I've learned and that's one of the things Bernie taught me, too."
Crockett, who does a dead-on impression of Mac, is still having difficulty adjusting to the fact that Mac is gone.
"Honestly, it still hasn't hit me yet that he's gone," Crockett said. "This movie actually helped me come to grips with it because when I saw it front-to-back I saw that Bernie really left a large piece of himself in this movie. The comedy is funny from top to bottom and it's because of Bernie. He let it all hang out. He got back to that raw 'Kings of Comedy'-'Def Comedy Jam' Bernie Mac. To me, that's one of the reasons why I really can't let go and realize that he's not here. Without Bernie I wouldn't be where I am today. I got the bravery to step out on stage because I knew if I could rely on that Bernie Mac voice, the crowd would love me."