The Betty Interview: Common
The sexy actor/rapper on love, women and his new movie.
Start talking with Common, and suddenly the word gentleman doesn’t seem so old-fashioned any more. The Grammy-winning rapper-turned-actor speaks softly, listens to what you say, and takes some time to think before he answers your questions.
“I like sharing with other people,” he says by way of explanation. “I like hearing their thoughts.” A successful, critically praised rapper, Common, 38, has moved into acting, getting parts in recent films like American Gangster, Smokin’ Aces and Date Night. But with his newest movie, the romantic comedy Just Wright, which hits theaters tomorrow, he’s got his first lead role.
Common is thrilled with the part. “I love acting,” he says. “I want to act for the rest of my life.” (But that’s not all he’s doing: Later this year, he’ll release his ninth solo album, The Believer, produced by Kanye West.)
As the charming but kind of clueless NBA superstar Scott McKnight, Common is drawn to the beautiful Morgan (Paula Patton from Precious), who wants to be a rich man’s wife. In the meantime, his physical therapist, played by Queen Latifah, has quietly fallen in love with Scott. Which woman is better for him, and which will he choose?
Common knows something about those dilemmas, though he really doesn’t want to say too much. “There’s a lot of Scott McKnight in me,” Common says. “It’s the closest character to me I’ve ever played.” Without giving away the plot, it’s safe to say that McKnight learns some intense lessons about women and their relationship to men.
In real life, Common’s girlfriend is tennis superstar Serena Williams, who’s got a reputation for both physical and emotional strength. Common doesn’t talk about her by name, but he says, “I like a strong, soft woman, a spiritual woman. I want my woman to shine. I want to be proud of her, and I want her to be proud of me.” Then he laughs and adds, “Besides, it’s good that she’s busy. It’s healthy!”