Conversations with . . . Boris Kodjoe

25 09 2009

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Perpetual nice guy, Boris Kodjoe plays a character with a little edge in the sci-fi drama, “Surrogates.” The handsome actor sat down with Wilson Morales to talk about his latest project and other pressing career matters.

Best known for his role as courier-turned-sports agent Damon Carter on the Showtime television drama “Soul Food,” as well as his roles in a handful of African American films including “Love and Basketball,” “Brown Sugar,” “The Gospel,” and “Madea’s Family Reunion,” Kodjoe hasn’t had that international film that should take his film career to another level.

That should change when the Vienna, Austria native, in probably his biggest exposure to date, will star alongside Bruce Willis in “Surrogates,” opening on September 25.

Set in a futuristic world where humans live in isolation and interact through surrogate robots, a cop (Willis) is forced to leave his home for the first time in years in order to investigate the murders of others’ surrogates. From there, Kodjoe will travel to Toronto to film “Resident Evil: Afterlife,” the fourth film of the popular franchise that stars Milla Jovovich. At the same time, he still finds time to spend with his wife, actress Nicole Ari Parker and their children back home in Atlanta.

In speaking with Morales, Kodjoe talked about his new role, his other projects, and the foundation he started with his daughter.

What attracted you to this film?

Boris Kodjoe: If it’s not on the script, then it’s not on the screen. With this film, there was something I could be really involved with. We’re living in a time where technology has slowly taken over, not only the human workforce but human communication. It’s a dangerous prospect that interests me tremendously because if we stop communicating our relationships will break apart. That’s a very critical aspect of trying to get family structures back and get relationships back on point. The movie is set in a time like today where we have technology that enables us to live vicariously through a robot , or “surrogate”. Having discussions with people who feel that Blackberrys and cell phones and two-way pagers and video games aren’t a big deal, I think they’re tremendously disruptive when it comes to human interaction. That’s one of the reasons why I won’t let my kids play a bunch of video games because I feel I need them to develop there own thought processes and fantasy, make up stories and draw pictures. I think it’s very timely.

How would you describe your character?

BK: Agent Stone comes from a military background. He’s now the head of the FBI, been doing this a long time, and he’s presented with a bunch of challenges. Bruce is his top dog, the guy he’s known forever, but he’s always had his own head, we’ve always butted heads. We’re close but sometimes I have to pull on his leash a little bit. Stone’s very structured and disciplined, at the same time he’s presented with these challenges.

You play a character who’s an FBI agent and happens to be Willis’ boss. How was working with him on this film?

BK: Bruce is great! He’s a tremendous actor, has been doing this a long time, and he’s got it down pat. He knows his audience, he knows his tools, and he’s a master at using them. It was great to just be in his presence and his energy and watch people interact with him because everyone is so in awe of him. It was great, he’s a cool guy, fun dude, and we had a good time.

You’ve worked on sci-fi films before with “Starship Troopers 3: Marauder.” Do you like the genre?

BK: ‘Starship’ was definitely a sci-fi movie, but ‘Surrogates’ is not as sci-fi as you might think. It’s more of an action-thriller than anything else. But I find myself in these movies lately and that’s not a bad direction! I’m about to start on ‘Resident Evil: Afterlife’ which sorta goes in that direction, more post-apocalyptic, but it has those kind of influences as well. It’s interesting. There’s a lot of CG and trickery, but it also presents a unique challenge because you have to act with a greenscreen and a lot of gadgetry. It’s fun. I wasn’t really a sci-fi or a Trekkie guy, I grew up completely different, but maybe it’s something I’m interested in right now.

What’s your role in ‘Resident Evil?’

BK: I play the leader of the survivors in LA. Milla Jovovich’s character, Alice, is roaming the world looking for survivors and she’s wound up in LA, which has been burning for three years. She comes across an LA jail surrounded be these half-dead, uhh…

Click here to read the rest of Morales’ interview with Kodjoe.

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