If you’re a good actor/actress, you might be lucky enough to do a few films or a television series. When you’re a GREAT actor you’ll probably get to do both. But according to seasoned actor Morris Chestnut, navigating between the two worlds isn’t always easy. We caught up with the actor recently and he dished about season 2 of his FOX show “Rosewood”, transitioning to the daily grind of television, the status of the next “The Best Man” installment and more. Read more below.
On preparing to play Dr. Rosewood
However, I was okay with medical terms, but I believe with this particular job, it’s just the complete volume of words and jargon and workload that I have that makes it much, much more difficult. The last doctor I played was on Nurse Jackie to where I was in a guest starring role, maybe working two days a week, maybe three days a week, and the brunt of the dialogue and medical terms weren’t upon myself. With this, it just makes it really difficult, just the complete volume of everything that I have to deal with and dialogue. The preparation, unfortunately, after I got the job, I didn’t have time to go get my Ph.D., so we have a lot of consultants on set each time, each time we have to do some type of medical procedure.
On preparing for television versus film roles
You know, it changed the way I’ve approached it, most definitely, because, and actually I’m still really trying to really try to figure it out. I’ve heard about the scheduling, I’ve done television shows before, I’ve been part of an ensemble, but playing this character in this role, is really—I’m still really adjusting to the schedule, the volume, and just, even, overall preparation, because in the past, I’ve just been the type of person that I need to have the dialogue in my head. My rule is, like, four to five days. Here, sometimes, its four to five hours it feels like. So, my approach is definitely changing, and I don’t really have one yet. I would imagine by next season, God willing, we get the pickup. I’ll have a pretty strong approach that I’ll be pretty comfortable with.
On what he enjoys most about doing TV
It’s funny. One of the things I do enjoy the most, is the pacing. There will be times on a film set, especially with emotional scenes, I’ll come to work and I’m sitting in my trailer and we’re supposed to start shooting the scene at 10:00, and I’m doing all this emotional prep work, and then we don’t shoot the scene until—10:00 in the morning—then we don’t shoot the scene till 6:00 at night. That’s the one thing I actually love about being on a television show, is I know that, primarily, when I come to work and I have an 8:00 rehearsal call, I’m going to have rehearsal at 8:00 instead of sitting in my trailer for three hours before the first rehearsal, let alone to have to do an emotional scene. So, the main thing I do love about it, is the pacing.
On Dr. Rosewood’s style
In terms of the style of Rosewood, you know that’s interesting because we have wardrobe designers on the show, and for the most part it’s somewhat of a collaborative process. When we first started trying out different outfits for the show, discussing things with Todd, and the director about the vision, yes, I personally—sometimes I do wear a t-shirt with a blazer and some jeans. Or I do like to wear suits with no tie and a button-up shirt opened down to like the second or third button. However, now that it’s—and I would do that from time to time—but now when people see me with a blazer and some jeans and a t-shirt, now they say, oh, you’re dressing like your character. So, there’s a little of my style in there, but the designers have their ideas and we kind of collaborated on it. I like all the stuff that he wears.
On another installment of The Best Man
Actually, we never shot the third movie. Basically, what happened, the studio, they announced the release date prior to knowing if we were available or have any deals done or anything like that. Unfortunately, we weren’t ever able to come together, most of us. I mean, Taye’s on the show. (Rosewood) Terrence is, obviously, on Empire, now Sanaa has her show. So, we have not been able to put the schedules together to be able to do the third installment of that franchise, but, hopefully, we can soon. That release that’s been in the press, or been online, was a release that the studio put out prior to us shooting or even having any deals closed.
On what hairstyles he likes to see women rock
To be honest, I think it’s about the essence of a woman. A woman can have—I’ve seen a woman who has no hair, she’s bald, but she has so much confidence that it’s attractive. So—and I’ve seen women with short hair, and women with long hair—so I believe it’s just the essence of the confidence of the woman. I think the woman makes the hair. I don’t necessarily believe that the hair makes the woman.
On the current success of the Rosewood and the pressure to keep it going
It gets to a certain point, say for instance if you take the pilot for instance, you start working with people that you really don’t know. I didn’t know Todd. I didn’t know the director. I didn’t know Jaina. I didn’t know Pippy, who’s supposed to be my sister. On screen, you’re supposed to convey these relationships that have years of history with a person that you don’t even know. So, the relaxing aspect of that is we had an opportunity once we got the order for the back nine, to, like Todd says, relax and settle in more. What I felt with that is, okay, now we’ll have time as our onscreen history grows, our off-screen history is going to grow, and we’re going to feel more comfortable with each other, and it’s going to show on screen. I was just as happy and relieved with that. But, I actually love pressure. I like to be able to function and operate when it’s most important. When it comes to the numbers, when it comes to shooting a scene, and those things keep me going. I really like that feeling that I get inside. I enjoy the pressure.
On sustaining longevity in Hollywood
I think there are a number of different factors. I believe, for myself, a) I try to be a nice person. I come to work on time. I try to be prepared. But I think first and foremost, is I always try to get better. I still see acting coaches. I still go to acting classes. Even if I’m not in them, I go to watch them, because, I think as an actor, the more experiences we have, the more we need to be able to incorporate them in our work and use them for our work. I know a lot of actors, once they get a movie or once they get a show, they think that, that’s it. They’ve made it, they don’t need a coach, they don’t need an acting class, they’re good, but I feel that every actor can always continue to get better. I mean, Tiger Woods, the best golfer in the world, he had a golfing swing coach. Michael Jordan had a coach. So, you know, I would say first and foremost, you’re just continuing to try to get better each day.
Rosewood returns to the tube tonight at 8p/7c on FOX.