Terry Crews, a real-life father and step-father, says he could relate to the feel-good family story at the heart of his new big-screen comedy, Blended.
In the film, Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore play single parents who go on a disastrous first date together, then grow closer when they end up sharing a vacation with their respective children in South Africa. Crews plays an outrageous entertainer at the resort where they stay.
"I have a blended family. That's the big deal. My wife, when I met her, was a single mom and the baby was 6 to 8 months old and we ended up marrying when she was 2 and, the thing is, your wife loves you, but that baby doesn't love you," Crews laughed during a phone interview with UPI Wednesday. "You've got to earn that baby's love. And I was like: 'Whoa! This is a whole other thing ...' It was really wild, but what you realize is that bond ... What I like to compare it to is like when you have a broken bone and it fuses together and it heals, it becomes stronger. It's kind of like the blended family is a stronger family because there is a lot more to overcome to be together."
Blended also gave Crews the chance to reunite with Sandler, the actor-producer with whom he worked on The Longest Yard and Click.
"Adam just calls me up and he's like, 'Terry, we're doing this movie, you're in, you've got this character, let's go!'" Crews recalled. "I was in from the beginning. There wasn't a lot there at first, honestly. We had to work it and change it and make it what it is today, but Adam is that guy. He's like: 'Dude, whatever you got. What suggestions have you got?' I'd call him up and tell him what I wanted to do ... I remember I got the wig made and I got the suits made and Frank Coraci, the director, was like, 'Be careful, man, because if we don't like it, you won't get your money back.' But all that stuff is in the movie. This is what I call intelligent risk. You have to be proactive. You can't wait for permission to do your job, sometimes. Sometimes, you've got to just go for it."
So, given how busy Crews is these days, how does the former professional football player decide what to do next?
"I don't like projects that exploit women. ... Anything like that, I would never do," he replied.
"It's got to be fun and it's got to have heart. I'm a real big guy on meaning. I can be as bad a criminal as you want me to be, but it's got to have some meaning. Whatever the message is of the entertainment I am trying to do is what it's about," Crews added. "That's why I took [the hosting job for [Who Wants to Be a] Millionaire. You're making people rich! You're handing people money in a hard time. This may be the only chance they have to get close to that kind of thing. I love this kind of stuff. For me, it's all about the meaning of a project."
Co-starring Kevin Nealon, Joel McHale, Shaquille O'Neal and Bella Thorne, Blended is in theaters now.