When asked about the risk of looking too long into Michael Ealy’s deep blue eyes, Warren Kole — Ealy’s costar in the upcoming USA Network series Common Law — jokingly compared it to staring directly into the sun. Stare too long, and you’ll get lost, or perhaps go blind. Audiences will get plenty of chances soon to ignore that warning, as Ealy headlines the comedy Think Like a Man, which opens today in theaters, and can see him reviving the buddy-cop genre Fridays beginning May 11 in Common Law.
You’re at a magazine rack and can only pick three titles. Which ones do you choose?
Time, GQ, Motor Trend.
Aside from Common Law, of course, if your TV only carried three shows, which three would you pick?
The Wire, The Sopranos, and my previous show Sleeper Cell.
What has been your strangest fan encounter?
I had a woman tell me one time — I gave her a hug — and she said, “I just came.” She was not joking. I was like, “OK. Congratulations. It was good for me, too.”
When was the first time you were starstruck?
Magic Johnson. I met him at a premiere in New York right after Barbershop came out. I’m doing the press line and I see this hand come in front of my face — and it’s the biggest hand I’ve ever seen in my entire life — and I turn to see who it is and just keep looking up and up and up, and there’s Magic Johnson. A true hero, and a role model. He was like, “I just want to say I love your work.” I was like, “What?” That’s when I knew I jumped into the right field, because the amount of respect I have for that man is incredible, and for him to say that to me, it makes it all worth it.
What are three things you have to have in your fridge or pantry?
Oatmeal, chocolate chip cookies and pizza.
You’ve played a lot of cops in your career, so is there anything else you can do with those kinds of roles?
I would love to play a crooked cop, because I think that would probably break the monotony of playing cop after cop after cop. Every cop that I’ve played has had a strong moral fiber and a desire to really help others. I would love to just flip that and play a cop who abused his power and his authority to manipulate others for his own personal gain. All the cops that I have played, they’ve all been there to be the moral fiber. They’re genuinely good guys who like to save people.
You were an English major, so is there some classic role from literature you’re just dying to play?
Here’s the beautiful thing about my life. There was a book I read in college called Their Eyes Were Watching God, and the character of Tea Cake I always thought to myself, “Wow, what a great role. Everything that comes out of this guy’s mouth is like Shakespeare. Just beautiful.” I got to do that onscreen. If I never play another literary character again, I’m good.
Common Law > USA Network > Fridays beginning May 11
Photo: © USA Network. Credit: Robert Ascroft