Common talks The Odd Life of Timothy Green, LUV and Hell on Wheels
Coming out on August 15th is “The Odd Life of Timothy Green,” an inspiring, magical story about a happily married couple, Cindy and Jim Green (Jennifer Garner and Joel Edgerton), who can’t wait to start a family but can only dream about what their child would be like. When young Timothy (CJ Adams) shows up on their doorstep one stormy night, Cindy and Jim—and their small town of Stanleyville—learn that sometimes the unexpected can bring some of life’s greatest gifts.
Written and directed by Peter Hedges, the film stars Jennifer Garner, Joel Edgerton, CJ Adams, Ron Livingston, Dianne Wiest, Odeya Rush, Rosemarie DeWitt, Lin-Manuel Miranda, M. Emmet Walsh, Lois Smith, and Common.
For Common, who was last seen in a small role opposite Halle Berry in “New Year’s Eve,” the film is the first several project the Chicago native has coming up left in 2012. On August 12th is the start of the second season of his AMC TV series, “Hell on Wheels”.
Blackfilm.com caught up with Common as he spoke about his role in ‘Timothy Green,’ “LUV,” the TV series, and his music career.
What role do you play in the film?
Common: I play Coach Cal and he’s about winning and he’s been a coach in that town and he takes pride in his team winning. He’s really driven wants them to push hard and get the ‘W’. Eventually he learns a lot of lessons from Timothy Green that it’s not always about winning. Sometimes you win by the character you display. It’s the experience and the journey that the win comes in.
If you were a coach in real life, how would you handle the situation?
Common: It depends, but I’d probably play for the win, but if there’s a kid that hadn’t had the opportunity to play, I’m a fair person so I will let that kid get in the game. It’s in the fourth quarter and I have to have the best player in, then I will have the best players in.
What was the attraction to doing this film?
Common: I really enjoyed the story. It’s very clever and a heartfelt story. I love the writer/director Peter Hedges. I thought it would unique to be play this character because Disney is the magical place and at the same time there’s no time period in the film. You can’t tell if the film takes place in the 70s or present day. There’s a lot of imagination and creativity that go into it, but the story has a lot of heart and a lot of lessons in it.
How was working with Jennifer Garner and Joel Edgerton?
Common: I had a great time. There were really cool people. Jennifer would hire an Ice Cream truck for the cast and crew. They would bring ice cream up to the set. She also hired a band and I freestyled with them during lunch to entertain and keep the energy and spirit up. She’s a wonderful person. I had worked with Joel before on “Smokin’ Aces,” which is the first movie I did. He’s a cool guy. We played some ball. He’s come a long way from that film and keeps moving forward.
You also have another film coming out called LUV. What’s your role in that?
Common: I play Uncle Vincent who’s been recently released from prison and wants to show his nephew a better way of life. He takes him for the day and wants to show him how to do things the right way, and the day just goes bad. He puts his nephew in situations that no one should be in. It’s a struggle for a man who’s trying to be a father figure and he doesn’t know how to make the right choices. This kid has to learn things in a very hard way.
You also have the second season of Hell of Wheels coming up.
Common: I’m very enthused about the second season. It’s a blessing to be doing it. I really feel our show is growing and it’s getting into more into stories of the people and the characters. That’s what the show is about. It’s about how these people relate and how they have to redefine themselves when they come to this railroad. Even the railroad tries to changes in those days. It’s about how one establishes themselves; especially for Ferguson, who was a slave throughout his life, and now has his freedom. What do you do? How does he function in the world? When he gains power, how does he handle that? It’s a lot of drama, for lack of a better word, in ‘Hell on Wheels.’
Is there any growth to your character?
Common: Yes. He’s definitely going through the struggles of getting power and his position is growing, but he also has to deal with working with the community. People expect to look at him different. He’s also dealing with a love relationship that he wants. There’s a lot that will go on with Ferguson this season.
What do you look for in a script that entices you to do the project?
Common: I look for great characters in a film and for the story to be interesting for me. If I love the story and once we start shooting the film and it comes out and it’s executed well, then I think people will love it. I look for films that I will enjoy. It could be the ‘The Odd Life of Timothy Green’ or ‘LUV’ or ‘Now You See.’ That’s action film and a thriller starring Mark Ruffalo, Jesse Eisenberg, and Morgan Freeman. I play the head of a FBI division. I look for great quality films and high level roles.
How’s your music career going?
Common: I’m on the G.O.O.D. Music album because I’m part of the G.O.O.D. Music family. That album should be in September and it’s called “Cruel Summer.” It’s me Kanye, Pusha T, Kid Cudi, Big Sean, 2 Chainz, and others. I’m excited about it and I’m also working on some new projects for me. I will also do a jazz album at some point.
Between being in films and doing a TV series, how are you balancing life?
Common: I’m doing it by enjoying it. Keep God first and make sure that I’m enjoying the moments because when after we finish filming, me and the cast go out and have drinks, eat dinner and laugh. . When I’m in Chicago, I go out with one of my guys and hang out on his boat. I make sure to appreciate the aspects of life, and spend time with family when time permits.