Terry Crews’ resume is shaping up to be an extensive list — from playing in the NFL to acting in movies such as “White Chicks” and “The Expendables,” to starring in Old Spice commercials and shows such as “Everybody Hates Chris.” However, Crews’ most recent role is one which he feels he can relate the most to.
Crews will play Sgt. Terry Jeffords in the new Fox show “Brooklyn Nine-Nine.” The sitcom is a workplace comedy set in a police station, which follows a detective and his colleagues as they get a new captain. The show is set to premiere 8:30 p.m. Tuesday.
“Brooklyn Nine-Nine” also stars Emmy Award winners Andy Samberg (“Saturday Night Live”) and Andre Braugher (“Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer” and “House M.D.”) as well as Melissa Fumero (“Gossip Girl”).
Crews’ character, police Sgt. Jeffords, is known for being formerly obese, but Crews said the biggest quality of this character is his family life.
“As Terry Jeffords, I have a family and baby girl, and now I’m too afraid to go back out into the street and do cop work because I’m afraid that I’ll get hurt,” he said in an interview with The Lantern. “And it’s kind of a common theme among most cops and families that they realize they might leave and never come home again.”
For Crews, what his character goes through is extremely familiar to him.
“I used to play football in the NFL for seven years, and I had two young daughters at the time, so I was always scared that I would be in a wheelchair or get an injury where you break your neck or you could even die,” he said. “You’re living on the edge and you really, really hope you don’t hurt yourself and change the future of your family forever.”
Crews said family is a common theme in “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” — it might be set in a precinct, but it’s not all about the job.
“Not all of (the episodes) are dealing with police work,” he said. “Sometimes the biggest episode is me trying to put together a toy for my daughter’s birthday and the frustration I’m going through to put this thing together. That’s what I love about this show — because it is a workplace comedy as opposed to being a cop show.”
Crews’ children not only keep him frustrated and worrisome in real life as well, but also keep him grounded, he said.
“You’re never, ever cool to your kids — ever. They’ll just be like ‘Oh whatever, ‘The Hangover’ was better,’” he said. “They want to see me as Dad and that’s the cool part, because everybody can be like, ‘Oh you’re so cool,’ but you need some kids to tell you that you’re really not all that.”
Another aspect of Crews’ character is being somewhat of an enabler to Detective Jake Peralta, played by Samberg.
The former “SNL” cast member’s personality stuck out to Crews.
“He is hilarious. Every five minutes he’ll break into some song and everybody just rolls because it’s just his thing,” Crews said.
But Samberg’s sense of humor isn’t the only thing Crews noticed.
“Another thing a lot of people may not know is that he works extremely hard,” he said. “I was truly impressed. I’ve been around a lot of young, comedic talent that just rely on their personality, but he’s not resting on that — the joke has to be right and if it’s not, he’ll tweak it and I appreciate that about him.”
Taking the material and cast in consideration, Crews said he is “honored” to be involved in “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” but with his list of acting gigs piling up, he said he is unable to pick a favorite.
“My key is to try everything, and, so far, I’ve loved it all and I can’t even point out a favorite. If I were to do Old Spice commercials for the rest of my life, then I’d be happy doing that,” Crews said. “In commercials, you bring the excitement for 30 seconds. In ‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine,’ it’s for half an hour and for major motion pictures, you bring the excitement for an hour and a half… I love it all and I look forward to whatever else is next.”
Crews may love every acting gig he has been a part of, but one character in particular has stuck with him.
In 2004, Crews acted in the movie “White Chicks” as a NFL player named Latrell Spencer. Spencer is a character Crews is well known for, especially a famous scene in which he sings Vanessa Carlton’s “A Thousand Miles.” But for Crews, it wasn’t really acting.
“‘White Chicks’ changed my life in so many ways and that scene — once I started singing it, everybody was like ‘Oh my God’ and the truth is, I really do love that song. I think everybody could tell. It’s a wonderful song and I am that kind of quirky guy,” he said. “And that scene, it was only done in one take, but it changed my life forever. I love it and I thank (the Wayans brothers) so much because it really showed a lot of who I was, and I was never really able to show who I was before that.”
Morgan McQueary, a fourth-year in human nutrition, remembers watching Crews in that scene.
“‘White Chicks’ is hilarious, and he was a really funny actor in it,” she said.
Some students remember seeing Crews in other shows or movies.
“I saw him in ‘The Longest Yard’ and then ‘Everybody Hates Chris,’ and he’s hilarious,” said Logan Indre, a first-year in business. “I think he’s very fun to watch.”
For fans who plan on checking out “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” Crews has a very specific way to explain it.
“I tell everybody, expect (HBO TV series) ‘The Wire’ with jokes,” he said. “We get into real cop stuff so just imagine if ‘The Wire’ was done with Andy Samberg — and that’s all that you need.”