Michael Ealy is a big-time Hollywood star now, but in a recent interview, he recalls meeting comedian Chris Rock and wanting to punch him the face.
Speaking to the Chicago Tribune, he said:
“I was doing this movie with Anthony Hopkins and Chris Rock called ‘Bad Company’ (from 2002). I was still waiting tables at the time but I had just done a ‘Law & Order’ episode, which basically certifies you as a New York actor.[...]
“It wasn’t much, it was a bit part, but I was very grateful. The movie was shooting in New York and Chris Rock played a street hustler — like, he’s that guy who’s doing three-card monte in the park — and I played one of his best friends. I’m a young actor and I’m thrilled because this is my first movie. And it’s a big budget movie. And I’m going to do a scene with Anthony Hopkins! Kerry Washington was just starting out too and she played Chris’ love interest. I guess Kerry and I were the local hires," he said.
But Rock was rude to the aspiring actor:
"Chris Rock was a little cold. He was probably at the height of his career at this point and I idolized him — I had watched all his stuff and thought he was so funny and I really respected him — but he was just kind of indifferent to me.
“So we’re about to shoot this scene, I’m in my tux, I come on set and Chris and Kerry are standing there and Joel is telling me where to stand. And right before he says action, Chris looks over at me and he says: ‘Oh (pause). Still in the business, huh?
“And when he said that, it was like a Mike Tyson left hook. And I knew he wasn’t joking around. I think maybe he was trying to disguise it as playful teasing, but it was a dig. For whatever reason, it was a dig: ‘You still in the business, huh?’"
He explains that he found Rock's remark very disrespectful, but struggled to remain professional.
“I just stayed professional and did my best, but I was stuck there having to look like I’m happy to be at my friend’s wedding when really at this point, I wanted to punch him in the f------ face. The crying came later. In the moment I wanted to punch him in the face. That was my Maryland upbringing coming into play (laughs) where you just fight."
He then says that the encounter forced him to reevaluate his options, but he needed to make a living and decided not to lash out.
Ealy is currently promoting his new movie, 'The Intruder' which was released in theaters across the country last week.
Check out the trailer below: