Michael Ealy was actually born Michael Brown in Washington D.C. The dreamy actor captivated fans early on in his career with his passionate acting and charming good looks. He got his start off-broadway before scoring his break-out roll in 2002’s Barbershop. That following year he appeared in 2 Fast 2 Furious and has been gaining steady work ever since.
Other successful films for Ealy would be Think Like a Man and Think Like a Man Too. When speaking on the film franchise in 2014, he admitted that he really enjoyed the cast and was happy to be able to work with them twice. Both the Think Like a Man and Barbershop movies were shot by Tim Story, someone Ealy has always spoken well of. “I think what happened on Barbershop also kinda happened on Think Like a Man. It just doesn’t happen often that the movie you shot for $12 million ends up making $90 million. That’s very rare.
So, when you catch lightning in a bottle like that, you jump at an opportunity to come back and do a sequel.” He complimented his cast, saying, “We also had such a good time making the first one that everybody jumped at the chance to come back and do a sequel with the same cast and same director. That’s an opportunity you just don’t get very often.” Every filming experience has not been so pleasant for Michael Ealy. In 2002 he got to do the film Bad Company with Chris Rock and Anthony Hopkins. Directed by Joel Schumacher and produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, it was the last major film to be shot inside the World Trade Center before the September 11th Attack. Ealy played a character named G-Mo.
While shooting the movie, Ealy says he had a bad encounter with Chris Rock that almost led to blows. Rock was apparently not a fan of Ealy’s and let him know early on in filming. Ealy recalls Rock being “a little cold,” noting that he was at the “height of his career.” “I idolized him,” Ealy said of his co-star. “I had watched all his stuff and thought he was so funny, and I really respected him, but he was just kind of indifferent to me.”
Ealy was shooting a scene where he played Rock’s best man, and Kerry Washington was playing Rock’s bride-to-be. He recalls being a waiter at the time and hustling to make ends meet until his acting career took off. When they returned for reshoots of the wedding scene months later, Rock looked over at Ealy and made a comment about him still being “in business.” Ealy knew this was a clear dig at his day job and a way to express doubt over his career. Kerry Washington defended him, telling Chris that it was “just wrong.”
Ealy says that Rock should have had more compassion since he had no clue was Ealy was going through. Ealy agrees that he probably did not know Rock’s situation either and assumes he must have been miserable around that time. Either way, Ealy wanted to swing on him for the insult. “In the moment, I wanted to punch him in the face. That was my Maryland upbringing coming into play where you just fight.” He admits he broke down and cried later on.
Michael Ealy has gone on to maintain a successful acting career, and to answer Chris’s question, is definitely still in business. He’s starred in several big properties, from Westworld to About Last Night. His next film, The Devil You Know, is scheduled for release later this year.