This week, actor Terry Crews was in Chicago to participate in the EA Sports “Madden Celebrity Pro Am” flag football game, which will air on NBC August 26. The former NFL player spends his time these days in Hollywood, where he’s starred in TV series like Everybody Hates Chris and Are We There Yet? and movies like The 6th Day, White Chicks, and The Expendables.
Crews recently wrapped The Expendables 2, which Lionsgate will release on August 17. In addition to filming the movie with Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bruce Willis, and Jet Li around the world, he also spent time doing motion capture and voice work for Ubisoft’s video game tie in of the movie. Crews reveals some exclusive new details on the game (which Ubisoft hadn’t officially announced at the time of this inteview) in the interview below.
First of all, Madden is a religion now. There’s Pentecostal, there’s Charismatic, and there’s Madden. You’re like, “Holy cow!” You realize that you’re in something bigger than you. It’s just the phenomenon has taken over. It’s just one of the biggest things in pop culture.
When did you realize that it had become more than just a video game?
When people wouldn’t go to work. When you’re like, “Hey, man, how are you going to pay the rent?” and they’re like, “I don’t know. Dude, come on. I finally got to this level. We’re gonna win the Super Bowl here.” You’re like, “No, you’re not. You’re gonna get kicked out of your house.” You have to tell your friends to stop playing and live their lives. I think that’s when it went over there.
How good are you at Madden?
I’m horrible because I’m more of an outdoorsy type guy. Also, being an artistic person, I have to see things and do them. It’s hard to just look at things, press buttons, and put all that stuff together; it’s just so hard for me. My son, he kicks my butt. He’s six-years-old and he’s, “Touch down, Daddy!” That one eye just twitches, and you’re like, “Wow, that really hurt. My son hurt me.” That’s what it’s about. It’s really about getting your friends together and hurting them with this game.
What do you think of Kinect games getting people off the sofa?
I think it’s a great idea. The whole point of this kind of thing is to actually motivate people to play the game. I always thought that it was sports in general, but what happens is the picture of the guy, is a guy who’s really overweight with a beer in his hand and sitting in a big Barcalounger, or whatever. I think it should be the opposite. I think that Kinect will allow people to get up and motivate them to play, which is going to help the next generation.
I don’t. I have too many friends in the league, that’s the thing. It hurts my tickets. I want to see who I’m getting free tickets from. Look at all these guys; if I pick one team, I cut out everybody. All of a sudden, I’m not showing up at any games anymore, so I have to be really careful what I do.
Outside of Madden, do you play anything for fun, video game wise?
It’s funny, because we have an Expendables 2 video game coming out, which I’m really excited about. I keep it simple because I have so many kids. I have five kids so we’re doing the Crash Bandicoot and LEGO Star Wars and all the fun, kid-like games. I learn enough to get it started for them, and then I’ve got to go to work. Somebody’s got to pay for all these video games.
What’s it like to actually be in The Expendables 2 video game?
It was so awesome, man. It’s one of those things—I’ve played games since the days of the arcade, where we came with bags of quarters. That’s how old I am. To actually be in one, it just lets me know there’s another moment. It’s like the first time I did a movie, a commercial, or a TV show. Now, it’s the first time you did a video game. It’s like a right of passage; it’s nice.
What can you tell us about the game?
It’s a shooter. It’s all good. We’re blowing everything up. It’s just exciting, and Sly and everybody who really wants this to be a phenomenon. The Expendables franchise is really endeared to a lot of people, and he wants to take advantage of it. They’re all in the game.
And to see what they’re doing now, it’s so sick, man. It’s just unbelievable to watch, the transition. I used to pay everything I had for what they’re doing, just sitting down playing, and doing their thing.
What are your thoughts on the opportunities video games like Expendables 2 are opening up to actors?
It’s the wave of the future. I really think that in the future movies are going to be interactive. I think everything is going to start to meld. You’re talking about within the next 50 years, you’re going to be able to choose how your movie ends. That will be really cool when that happens.
Did you guys have any time to play games on the set of Expendables 2?
No. We were shooting live. Dude, it was fun. We were repelling off mountains, flying over lakes, and jumping out of helicopters. It was very intense, man; extremely intense. It’s probably 20 times bigger than the first one.
It sounds like you guys were living a video game.
Oh, yeah. That’s the thing. Believe me, I just went home and went to sleep, but we had to do it again. A lot of fighting, and this crazy hand-to-hand combat. I think it’s going to be the best movie of the year.
Going back to those arcade days, what were your favorite games?
Defender. I would spend hours and go broke on Defender and Asteroids. Centipede was another favorite of mine. I remember Dragon’s Lair; that was one of the coolest, most expensive game…literally. I’d play three times, and you’re out of there. That was my whole week’s allowance. Everything I worked for was done, but it was worth it. You’d go, “Oh, my God. The graphics are amazing.”
Do you feel old, then, that Defender and all those games are now playable on your cell phone?
I know I’m old, but you know what? I thank God that I still am trying to keep up with what’s going on now. There’s a moment when you’ve got that grandmother who ain’t giving up her rotary dial. She’s like, “No, this is it! I’m not going past this point.” I don’t want to be that guy. I buy all the games. I make sure that I kind of know what’s happening. I want to be savvy, because it’s just getting better and better.
What are you playing these days?
I’m really excited to see the brand new shooter Max Payne 3 where he’s in Brazil. I did some reading on Max Payne. If I get some free time, that’s the real thing. I’m going to get that game, and I just want to play it, especially if I get on a set or get somewhere where I can just zone out, I think that Max Payne 3 is something I want to do.
This article has been updated to correct a typo.