Joy Bryant is an anomaly. The 37 year-old actress grew up in the Bronx, went to Yale (on a full academic scholarship, thank you very much), played ice hockey, left college to model (Tommy Hilfiger and Victoria’s Secret) and now co-stars in “Parenthood”, one of the hottest TV series on NBC. Oh, and she plays Bradley Cooper’s romantic interest in Hit and Run, which hits theaters August 22.
And if that’s not enough, girlfriend will host her own YouTube series about snowboarding. (Kevin Hart has already started the jokes.)
EBONY.com talks with gorgeous actress about the film, the show and why she dances to the beat of her own drum.
EBONY: Did Dax Shepard (her co-star from Parenthood who also wrote and directed Hit and Run) muscle you into saying yes to this or what?
Joy Bryant: He didn’t have to! All he had to do was knock on my trailer door, which is what he did.
EBONY: So it was a quick yes? What did you like about the project?
JB: Aside from the fact that he’s a really good friend of mine, he wrote a really, really awesome script, so that’s where it all starts. None of us who he asked did it because we were doing him a favor ... everyone did it because he wrote a kick-ass script. It is a no-brainer. So when your homie does something so dope and asks you to be a part of it, you’re like, ‘Duh!’ It’s not even a question. He could’ve asked me to play any part in that movie, small, big, whatever, and I would’ve done it because, you know, it all starts on the page.
EBONY: This film is very unfiltered. Tell me a little bit about your character in the film.
JB: Oh, my character Neve is with Bradley Cooper, but you find out that she was once with Dax’s character. She’s still kind of on the other side of the tracks. She’s kind of like a bad ass. She’s just stinky, got a little attitude. She’s fun.
EBONY: Hey, you’re playing opposite Bradley Cooper. That ain’t a bad gig at all.
JB: Ain’t a bad gig! I was not mad.
EBONY: It really is the end of the summer talker film too ….
JB: Yes! It’s this romantic comedy, but wrapped up in this awesome car chase movie. And it is in no way shape or form, cheesy or corny at all. It’s just, it’s grounded, it’s funny, it’s entertaining and people are just going to have a great time and go to the movie theater, sit down and have a blast for however long the movie lasts. You know? It doesn’t take itself too seriously. I actually think it’s like a great date movie. Women are going to really respond to the love story angle and dudes are going to be like, ‘Yeah!’ There are cars!’
It’s great to get consistent work and it’s great to work on material that you love
EBONY: New season of Parenthood starts next month. What can you tell us?
JB: I don’t know what’s gonna come up! I’m not even joking. It’s crazy. I’m shooting another episode this week and I don’t even have the script yet. Like, we don’t know.
EBONY: So they keep you guys a little bit in the dark like they’re keeping fans in the dark. Is that what’s happening?
JB: Oh yeah. I don’t even know. I’m like, ‘we getting married?!’ Cause even last year I was like, ‘we getting married?! I need to know we’re getting married.’ Then they were like: ‘you need to pick out your wedding dress.’ I’m like, ‘For what?’
EBONY: What’s so great about that show, is it really feels like it reflects what our real lives are like in 2012 and beyond …
JB: The Parenthood fans are awesome. They are really in it. They are so in it. I mean, to the point where people just straight-up call me Jasmine. They grab me, give me a hug, ‘Jasmine! Think about Jabar! What? Think about Jabar! He needs his father!’
EBONY: How has being on that successful of a show changed you?
JB: It’s great to get consistent work and it’s great to work on material that you love and to work with people who you respect and who respect you. And to show up for work every day really happy to be there, like truly. Every time I’m on set I get to play, and I’m also learning, I’m learning a lot about acting and myself and all these things, so I feel like it’s really helping me to be more confident and to grow as an actor. I’m not calling myself some master thespian or something like that, but it’s really helped me because I’m just, I’m flexing that muscle all the time and I’m working with people who are freakin’ top notch, man.
EBONY: You’re also writing. Anything we might see soon?
JB: There are a couple of