January 2003
Biker Boyz : An Interview with Derek Luke

Interviewed by Monikka Stallworth

Biker Boyz: An Interview with Derek Luke

Derek Luke is on a roll and heís happy. Heís beaming and through it all, managing to keep both feet planted firmly on the ground. His giddiness is infectious and his success is inspiring. I had the opportunity to speak with Derek about his latest starring role in the soon to be released action-packed motorcycle film, Biker Boyz.

MS: Hey Derek, how are you doing?

DL: Iím good, Iím good. You know who you look like, right?

MS: Donít tell me, Tracy Ross - the girl from Girlfriends.

DL: Yes, (laughing) definitely, thatís who.

MS: Moving right along. (Chuckle) So, itís been just over a month since the release of Antwone Fisher and here we are talking about Biker Boyz; the two roles couldnít be any more different. Many actors express grief about being pigeon holed or type-cast. How blessed and fortunate you are to be so new on the scene with two movies out at about the same time that actually show your range right out the box with two distinct projects.

DL: And with two awesome actors (Lawrence Fishburne & Denzel Washington, man I just feel blessed. I donít really brag about anything else, but working with those two guys, theyíre incredible.

MS: How was it working with Lawrence Fishburne?

DL: We hit it off from the first day. So different from the characters we played. We always had intimate conversations and I think that was maybe a challenge. I didnít want to talk to him too much because heís a very seasoned actor. My approach to my character was a little more emotionally triggered for me, so I didnít want to talk to him too much, but then, here comes Lawrence just talking, and talking and talking. He was just open arms with me.

MS: Your life has certainly changed over the past few months.

DL: Oh yes, Iíve been meeting some really interesting people; Al Pacino, Kathy Bates, Richard Gere; a lot of people including Cicely Tyson.

MS: Has it been surreal?

DL: Yes, itís surreal, but itís a comfortable surreal and thatís whatís so scary. Itís like sitting around certain people, and Iíll be quiet because I feel like I know them so well. And itís not the intimidation of who they are; itís more a respect for who they are. I feel at home with them.

MS: To be so new on the scene, you certainly have command of the craft. To what would you attribute your acting maturity? Acting lessons? A God-given talent? What?

DL: Well I believe Heís in charge of everything. When I came out here (LA) in Ď95 I took an acting class and I probably went like 15 times out of two years, everything else was about supporting my family. But I watched people - I watched people to their core, like Iím watching you now, all the elements, and whatís motivating the questions, I watch. Iím a watcher.

MS: Are you a good biker rider now?

DL: No, Iím an excellent rider now, come on now. (Laughter)

MS: Whatís next for you?

DL: I havenít thought about it. I donít know. I believe the best is yet to come. I havenít come this far to fail. So I just expect incredible, great things. Iíve been meeting a lot of ďpower playersĒ and I think itís revolutionary what theyíre thinking about me for.

MS: What do you do during your down time?

DL: Iím a movie buff. Now I go to the movies and I hide and I try to act like I donít want anybody to see me, but you know, you really do. Itís fun though, playing the whole celebrity role now. (Laughing)

MS: How have you managed to keep your Jersey ways here in LA?

DL: I go back from time to time; I stay in touch on the phone. And when I talk to my friends, they remind me of how blessed of an opportunity Iíve been given. Itís not like I won the Nobel Peace Prize, or got certain grades, so I always say thereís something bigger and greater than me, so I just feel honored because I didnít do anything extra special.

MS: Will you be traveling overseas to promote Biker Boyz?

DL: No weíre staying on this side of the sea.

MS: Biker Boyz wonít be screening overseas?

DL: It will be released overseas, but weíre doing some international press here and it will be forwarded to all the press overseas.

MS: Have you had a reaction to all of the attention youíve been getting lately?

DL: Yeah, Iím starting to twitch. (Laughter) Seriously though, yes it was very emotional at first. So many people, but Iíve got a good partner; sheís my strength, and she helps me focus on whatís important. It can be challenging when you constantly hear praises.

MS: Thank you, Derek.

DL: It was my pleasure.