Michael Ealy: Enter the Quiet Storm
Words and Interview by
DeWayne Rogers and Devon Chatman
Images by DeWayne Rogers
Styling by Chris Mannor
Hair by Brett the Barber
Grooming by Shiyena ChunMichael Ealy doesn’t say much … at least not at first. When he enters the room, the veteran actor and resident heartthrob intently assesses his surroundings, processes the circumstances, and then acts accordingly. Perhaps that methodical, borderline mysterious persona is what makes women go so absolutely crazy whenever his name is mentioned.
It’s true … women love Michael Ealy. And it would have been easy — and probably more beneficial to our bottom line — if we had tapped into the sex symbol side of Ealy. Just tell him to take off his shirt, throw on some baby oil, and watch how the women flock to pick up a copy of his cover issue.
But sideshows like that have never really been Ealy’s calling card.
In a world and industry filled with flash, this Maryland native humbly sticks to the meat and potatoes of his craft. So when it came time for him to sit down with rolling out, Ealy wanted to focus on the thing that got him this far … the art. So that’s exactly what we did.
We talked about the art.
Tell us your thoughts on the movie, Think Like a Man.
Well, it’s based on Steve Harvey’s book, and quite honestly it was one of the most compelling romantic comedies that I have read in about seven or eight years. In the past, I had specifically avoided romantic comedies because I couldn’t find one that was classy or smart enough. But when I read this one, I knew that I needed to be a part of it. As for my character, I play a guy named Dominic. Dominic is a dreamer, and he is that guy who has ambition but can’t quite execute. There are a lot of Dominics out there, and I have dated women who have had a little Dominic in them. Even I had some Dominic in me at a time in my life … so all of my experiences, help[ed] to prepare me for the role.
It was such a great ensemble cast, tell us what it was like to work with them?
The environment on set was a lot of what you might see in the film. If it looks like we were having a great time, that’s because we were. Anytime that you have Kevin Hart, Gabrielle Union, Taraji P. Henson … these are some of the funniest people that I have ever met. These people are hilarious, so we had plenty of fun on the set. There were no egos, and everyone came in and just wanted to make a great movie. It was also great to reunite with the director Tim Story. My last ensemble comedy with him was Barbershop, and so far we are two-for-two.
What can people gain from the film? Are there any takeaways or lessons to be learned?
One of the great things about this film is that it is very tangible and very accessible to various types of people. So it doesn’t matter where you’re from. If you’re old enough to date, then you can relate to this film. What people ultimately take from this film is that in dating there is a lot of gamesmanship, and ultimately, people are not being themselves when they meet.
But the great thing about this movie is that when the characters are playing these mind games and realize that it’s not getting them anywhere, all of that eventually melts away, and they begin to be themselves … that’s when the true connection begins.”
That’s a great takeaway. Even outside of this movie, you’ve been very busy. Tell us about your new series that’s about to air on USA.
“Common Law” is an action-comedy. It’s about two detectives who have a hard time getting along, so their captain forces them to go to couples counseling. So imagine Lethal Weapon and 48 Hours, but add in the wrinkle of couples counseling. Now it may seem a little silly, but it really deals with human emotion. That’s what drew me to it, and I’m really glad to be a part of it.
You have been working with rolling out for a long time. How has the experience been?
Ever since I did Barbershop — that was the first time that I interviewed with rolling out — and you guys have been with me every step of the way. And I will always continue to be loyal to your brand. It’s not often that a publication will tell your story in an authentic way, and I just appreciate that so much.
Interview conducted by Devon Chatman.
Through the Lens: Shooting Michael Ealy
When I shared through my Twitter and Facebook pages that I was on my way to shoot Michael Ealy, the response from women on my timeline was predictably manic. Women that I’ve know for years — who have all consistently presented themselves as cool and composed — dropped all pretenses to share their fervent love for Ealy.
“Can I be your personal assistant today.”
“Will you tell him that I want to have his kids?”
Those were some of the common refrains that I received throughout the day, along with a few others that I dare not repeat.
With so many women apparently ready to obey his every wish, I silently prayed that the hoopla of him being a sex symbol hadn’t gone to his head. But when Ealy walked through the doors of the W Hotel suite in Los Angeles, I got the exact opposite.
This dude was the exact opposite of what I was expecting. I halfway expected him to walk in with two servants throwing rose petals at his feet as if he were Prince Akeem, Eddie Murphy’s character in Coming to America.
But it was nothing like that.
Ealy presented himself as a man who didn’t care about being labeled as a sex symbol. Because of that, we were able to get in and really create work that we both were happy with.
I’ve been fortunate to photograph some amazingly talented people over the span of my career … but few moments will match the brotherhood that was established on the day that I shot Michael Ealy.
Michael Ealy Doing Work
Let’s not be fooled by the azure eyes. When it comes to doing work in Hollywood, Ealy rolls up his sleeves and puts his time in like any other blue-collar worker. Don’t believe me? Then check out his impressive résumé.
Kissing Jessica Stein
2 Fast 2 Furious
Barbershop 2: Back in Business
Never Die Alone
Their Eyes Were Watching God
Miracle at St. Anna
The People Speak
For Colored Girls
Think Like a Man
“The People Speak”
“The Good Wife”
“Get Your Number” Love interest of Mariah Carey
“Halo” Love interest of Beyoncé Knowles