By Darlene Donloe
Robbie Jones is sitting in a suite at the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills, looking like a clean cut boy next door. It’s a stark contrast from his role in Tyler Perry’s latest film, Temptation, out nationwide today. In the film he plays Harley, a slick, successful internet executive who is used to getting whatever and whoever he wants. It’s a juicy role that Jones has sunk his teeth into with full abandon.
KIM KARDASHIAN, JURNEE SMOLLETT-BELL,
VANESSA WILLIAMS and ROBBIE JONES
Described as a romantic drama about forbidden desires, Temptation tells the story of a married, small town girl named Judith (Jurnee Smollett-Bell), who gets caught up in an unhealthy relationship with a handsome billionaire (Jones) and begins to turn her back on her marriage to her childhood sweetheart, Brice (Lance Gross).
Temptation (Lionsgate), written, produced and directed by Tyler Perry, also stars Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Lance Gross, Vanessa Williams, Renee Taylor, Ella Joyce, Brandy Norwood and Kim Kardashian.
The handsome actor from Sacramento, Calif., who in recent years co-starred on both One Tree Hill and the short-lived Hellcats, also landed a recurring role on 90210. His credits also include Necessary Roughness (USA Network), Hawaii Five-O, Southland, Dark Blue, Hellcats and Rewind. He has also played opposite Angela Bassett on ER and Academy Award-winner Forest Whitaker in Hurricane Season. It was actually Hurricane Season that landed him the role in Temptation. That’s where Tyler Perry first spotted Jones and thought he’d be perfect for the role of Harley.
JURNEE SMOLLETT-BELL & ROBBIE JONES
When he’s not acting, Jones plays in The Entertainment League (E League) alongside Ice Cube, Don Cheadle, Justin Timberlake and Jamie Foxx. He’s also a popular celebrity DJ called ‘DJ RJ.”
I caught up with Jones recently to talk about his latest role and his red-hot career. As I enter the suite, he stands and extends a hand. I take the opportunity to, instead, initiate a hug.
DD: Tell me about the phone call you got from Tyler telling you he wanted you to read his script.
RJ: It was kind of interesting. My manager called me and said there is this part and that Tyler Perry wanted my phone number. He called me. He called and said, ‘Hey, I got this script I want you to check out. I’m a fan of your work. I’m interested in you playing this character.
DD: What was it about the character, Harley, that intrigued you?
RJ: I saw this guy had depth and a lot of different layers. That’s interesting as an actor.
DD: What did you think when you read the script? Was it always for Harley or were you ever considered for Brice?
RJ: It was always for Harley. Ultimately my goal is to do something that touches people. When I find a script that has a great message, I’m interested.
ROBBIE JONES & JURNEE SMOLLETT-BELL
DD: What about Harley did you identify with?
RJ: His basic need for love. He basically has some destructive and harmful ways of showing it. But everyone has the same need.
DD: Who is Harley? What do you like about Harley? What don’t you like?
RJ: What I love about Harley is his drive and the fact that he’s goal oriented. He’s a big time achiever. If he sets a goal he’s going to get. What I don’t like about him is that he has no concept of how to achieve these goals.
DD: And, just who is he?
RJ: At his core he’s just really someone who has something to prove. He has a bit of a detachment disorder. He’s afraid of people leaving him. His response to that has been to be good enough.
ROBBIE JONES & JURNEE SMOLLETT-BELL
DD: Harley doesn’t have a good track record with women. What do you look for in a woman?
RJ: A woman who has a good sense of humor. I really love a woman who is educated. I’d like to have a conversation. Someone who is well- traveled. Someone who loves the Lord like I love the Lord. That’s a big deal. I like someone who is not too cool to get sweaty. I have a nice, long list.
ROBBIE JONES, JURNEE SMOLLETT-BELL
& TYLER PERRY ON SET
DD: Talk about working with Tyler Perry.
RJ: He works at a fast pace. Our pacing worked brilliantly together. His directing style was conducive to how I like to work.
DD: Your co-star is Jurnee Smollett-Bell.
RJ: Jurnee is brilliant. I say that with an exclamation point. She’s so giving and liberal and I would love to work with her again.
LANCE GROSS & JURNEE SMOLLETT-BELL
DD: You nemesis was Lance Gross.
RJ: He was fantastic even when he was beating me up. He has an amazing right hook (laughter).
DD: Why did you want to be an actor?
RJ: Something about it spoke to me and it felt natural. I like being an artist. It’s the ultimate way of expression. You get a chance to be someone and be someone else and give them a full life.
DD: When you started acting, what did you expect and what did you get?
RJ: I expected to learn a lot. That was the biggest thing. I wanted to learn as much as I could. Man, I got to work with Forest (Whitaker). I sat down with him and tried to work with him as much as I could. I continue to learn everyday. I’ve gotten tremendous experiences. I’ve gotten a chance to work with amazing people. I’ve really grown.
DD: Weren’t you a super hot cheerleader who was in a love triangle in the show Hellcats?
RJ: (laughter) Uh, yeah.
DD: Hmmmm, maybe you have some issues. I see a pattern emerging.
RJ: (laughter) It looks like that, huh?
DD: Ok, you have a crystal ball. What do you see five years from now and 10 years from now?
RJ: Five years from now I would like to have done quite a few more features and more successful television shows. I love both sides of the game. Ten years from now I’d like to be producing my own features and TV shows. I really have an interest in producing, but not directing.
Temptation is currently in theaters.