EBONY: [Laughs] So, what is that like? You decide to take this leap of faith and pursue this career and go from Lance the track star at Howard University, to Lance Gross the movie star? Describe that type of lifestyle change.
LG: You’ve definitely gotta know what you’re signing up for when entering this industry, because once you’ve entered and become successful, there’s really no going back to “normal” life. You can – but there’s always gonna be that one person that recognizes you. You’ve gotta be willing to give up some of your privacy, but I knew what I was getting myself in to. I love it! I love everyone that supports me and things can get wild at times, but my parents raised me to be grounded and to always remain humble. I think that’s one of the main reasons that my fans support me.
It’s rare that I turn down a photo or autograph, because these are the people that support me, so why not support them. I love it and I invite it. I love what I do and the whole “celebrity” life and all that [laughs]. It’s cool!
EBONY: Give a little advice to other aspiring actors.
LG: I would tell them that hard work pays! At the end of the day, if you put in the work, you’re going to get results. The more work you put in, the better the results will be. You’re going to get 'no’s' – I get 'no’s,' everybody get’s 'no’s'. Denzel’s gotten his 'no’s,' but now he’s at the point where he’s getting more 'yes' than 'no’s'... You’ve gotta grind, man. You’ve gotta study and set goals. After you’ve accomplished those goals, you immediately replace them with new goals, so you’re always striving for something.
EBONY: Out of everything you’ve done, what’s been your most memorable role so far?
LG: It’d probably be working on “Our Family Wedding,” with Forest Whitaker. I’ve been watching him since I was a little kid! This is a couple years off of him winning an Oscar, so I was fearful of working with him because I didn’t know what to expect. He could’ve been the biggest [expletive] in the world, but when I met him, he was so cool and very willing to make me feel comfortable. He actually took me to a Lakers game during one of our first meetings, and I’m a HUGE Lakers fan!
The entire experience was probably my most memorable so far. Just sharing the screen with Forest Whitaker] was one of my favorite moments and roles so far. It was something I wasn’t used to, since I had been working with Tyler Perry for so long. Working with Rick Famuyiwa, who directed the film, was so different and I love all of his films. So, I’d definitely say that working on that role was the best to date.
EBONY: So what’s next for Lance Gross?
LG: Right now, I’m auditioning and I’m in talks for a couple different roles on some new shows that are coming out. I’ve got a film coming out next year called “The Marriage Counselor.” It comes out March 29th, I believe, starring Brandy, Jurnee Smollett, & Vanessa Williams. I’m out here grindin’ it out. I’ve got a bright future ahead of me [laughs].
Steve Rivers has contributed to The Source, ESPN Rise and a host of other online publications. Follow him on Twitter: @TheKidSkoob.