Ray Cornelius with Craig Robinson
Written by | Ray Cornelius
The new 34th Street Film PEEPLES starring Craig Robinson and the “luckiest chick in Hollywood” Kerry Washington opens in theaters nation-wide this Friday, May 10th.
The rom-com features Robinson as Wade Walker, a hopeless romantic who has found the perfect girl Grace Peeples (Washington) and decides he wants to put a ring on it. The only thing is that Peeples has not told her parents, Virgil and Daphne Peeples played by David Alan Grier and S. Epatha Merkerson, about her relationship with Wade. So sparks fly, when Wade shows up at the Peeples annual reunion in the Hamptons to ask Virgil for Grace’s hand in marriage.
I had a chance to chat with Robinson recently when he stopped through Atlanta to promote the movie. We talked about working with the film’s producer, Tyler Perry as well as legendary screen actress Diahann Carroll, who plays Nana Peeples. We also discussed his real-life musical pursuits (Craig plays a music teacher in the film) and the unlikely dance-singer he would love to play in a biopic.
Check it out below…
RC: How much of your character, Wade Walker is Craig Robinson?
CR: Well, Craig Robinson is a nice guy like Wade. Craig plays music and sings like Wade. I guess a lot…he is very good guy.
RC: What was it like working with the film’s producer Tyler Perry?
CR: Tyler is the kind of guy that when you’re in his presence, you can’t help but say, “Teach me and allow me to learn something from you.” Tyler took his brand and he is shining his light on some of us up and coming artists. I also found out that he has a band that he debuted on the Tom Joyner Cruise. Tyler has hit all cylinders at once. He is definitely someone you aspire to be like.
Tyler Perry working with PEEPLES’ writer/director Tina Gordon Chism
RC: Speaking of a band, you and your brother, Chris had one called The Nasty Delicious. Any plans to record a CD?
CR: Yes, I definitely want to record the guys. It’s really been a matter of time up until this point. The last time we recorded something was for the songs at the end of Hot Tub Time Machine. So, we haven’t been in the studio in a few years and it’s time to get them back together. However, we have been on the road.
RC: How would describe your sound?
CR: Funk mixed with Stank. (LOL)
RC: What was it like working with the “Divas” of Peeples: Diahann Carroll, S. Epatha Merkerson and Kerry Washington? If you can, define them in one word?
CR: Class is what I would have to say about Ms. Diahann Carroll. We were riding the bus on the very first day of shooting and she got up in front of the cast and made a speech on the bus. Ms. Carroll mentioned that she was glad to be with us. I mean, with us. She was just so classy about it. S. Epatha Merkerson is cool. She is a super dope actress. She can do things with just her eyes that will cause the theater to erupt into laughter. Plus she can sing. She sang that song in the film and I think she has sung on Broadway. Kerry Washington, man I am going to run out of words. She’s brilliant. She’s gorgeous. She’s naturally funny. She can speak different languages. She’s political. She is like the ultimate woman. I couldn’t have asked for a better 1st leading lady.
RC: What was it like filming the romantic scenes with Kerry?
CR: She came to play, man. She came to play. (LOL) I had to be professional about it and making sure that we looked legit. (LOL)
Kerry Washington, Craig Robinson and David Alan Grier
RC: How was David Alan Grier on the set?
CR: He is the funniest dudes on the planet. He’s classy and he owns every room. He was the father of the set. I grew up loving David Alan Grier as we all did from his days on In Living Color. To go head to head with him on this film was surreal.
RC: What is the one moment while you were filming that stands out the most in your mind?
CR: We (the cast) would sing every day. We would sing in harmony. We would come together and David Alan Grier would do this incredibly funny character that he really needs to do something with for television or film. We would be singing “Wade in the Water” and David would start doing this ole church lady wale (screaming) that was just hysterical. (LOL) We could go to him for that skit and every single time he would crack us up.
RC: Any future projects?
CR: Yes, I have Rapture-Palooza coming out June 7 where I play the anti-Christ. This is the End, which is another apocalyptic comedy, coming out on June 12. It is by far, the wildest film I’ve ever done. I also just shot a pilot for NBC titled Mr. Robinson. I play a funk band leader who is a substitute teacher on the side, that is one day is thrown into a music class and is like, “Yeah I’m gonna do this.” However, the school’s principal doesn’t like it, so we have figure out how to all work together.
CR: Mine was always Marvin Gaye but I think they got my man, Jessie L. Martin to play him. I have also thought about Arthur Ashe. I think his story would be a good one to tell and it hasn’t been explored. Then there was another story I was looking at as well and that’s Sylvester (left ). I watched his Unsung episode and thought, “Yo, I could play him.” I actually looked at his video for inspiration when I did the dance scene wearing S. Epatha Merkerson’s disco head piece. (LOL)
PEEPLES opens in theaters tomorrow!