Video:Rob Brown Interview - The Expresswith Rebecca Murray
Rob Brown stars as Ernie Davis, the first African-American to win the coveted Heisman Trophy, in the Universal Pictures movie "The Express." The film chronicles Davis' struggle against racial prejudice while putting on a show on the football field.See Transcript
Transcript:Rob Brown Interview - The ExpressRebecca Murray from About.com Hollywood Movies at the Hollywood Premiere of The Express.
Rob Brown ('Ernie Davis')
Did you feel extra weight playing a character like this that is so well respected and so well loved still, and meant so much to a lot of people?
Rob Brown: "Yeah."
You did. How do you handle that?
Rob Brown: "Well, you take it on. First of all, when I read the script it's a dream role, something I definitely tracked. For a number of years I wanted to play the role. Aside from that, I realized the responsibility associated with playing that role. He's a guy who really existed and so I owe him a lot of respect. I've got to do right by him, his family, to Syracuse, to the Browns, to Jim Brown, to a lot of people who really would speak their mind if I screwed up. So I definitely feel a lot of responsibility that was associated with the role."
You had to get under his skin but you also had to capture the football from back in the '60s and that's not like playing football now, so how was that?
Rob Brown: "To an extent at the end of the day football is football. In terms of the style, that was all on our coach Allan Graf. He did a great job with the football. We're not trying to make any okie doke football film. The action has to be real, and it is true. Even today when people score and they go and give high-fives, guys didn't give high-fives back then. You got to figure that out. That has nothing to do with football. So we paid attention to detail and I think we got it done in a good way."
Think we can ever get back to that where there's no hotdogging, there's no showing off and people just play the sport to play the sport?
Rob Brown: "I don't think so. I actually like it. I think you should be young…if you're a young guy, you should be excited. You perform well – get excited. I realize there's old school coaches that say, 'We line up. We kick your behind. We celebrate in the locker room.' But in this day and age with guys getting paid millions of dollars, they should celebrate. Even kids in college, they should celebrate. They're having fun out there. As long as it's not disrespectful and you're not showboating in front of people, get excited. Go hug your man. If you throw a touchdown pass, you're a quarterback, run down the field, grab your receiver…"
Like Brett Favre.
Rob Brown: "Pick him up, like Brett Favre, exactly. Have that energy for the game and have that enjoyment for the game. Have fun. I like it. Bolt, in the Olympics people didn't like that he was pumping his chest. I loved it! He's a young guy, what do you want him to do? He smoked everybody, let him celebrate."
You didn't play running back in college.
Rob Brown: "No, I played receiver."
How different is it to be the guy carrying the ball instead of having to catch it?
Rob Brown: "You know, it's a lot more fun. Yeah, because as a receiver, you run a route, you might get the ball. There's a lot of stuff involved. The line got to protect it, the quarterback has to make a right throw, you have to be open – all this stuff. As a running back you know you're getting the ball. You have the ball in your hands more often than the receiver. So doing that, that was like a dream come true for me."
Is it true you lost 30 pounds for this?
Rob Brown: "Yeah, I was like 215 when I got attached to it. I got off Stop-Loss, you know we were in Texas and Morocco lifting weights and eating barbeque and all this stuff, which was fun but I was just too big so I had to lose about 30 pounds. I showed up to work about 182."
What kind of relationship did you have with Dennis Quaid because he plays Ernie's mentor? Did Dennis have that same affect on you?
Rob Brown: "Absolutely. You know, I've been blessed to work with a lot of actors who are more tenured than I. Whenever I do, I try to sop up as much knowledge as I can. So that's the same thing I did with Dennis and he was always accessible if I had any questions. Or if he thought I might have a question, he would talk to me. I have a healing blister on my thumb because he took me out to play golf for the first time a couple of weeks ago, so that's the type of guy he is."
Did you beat him?
Rob Brown: "No. He's close to scratch."
Last question – Super Bowl pick?
Rob Brown: "I'm a Giants fan, man."
I'm a Chargers fan.
Rob Brown: "Hey, they're 1-2 . They're going to have a good year. The 1-2 thing is not representative. They started out same thing last year. They'll get it going. Guys are unhealthy and they're still scoring 40-something points."