It’s not immediately apparent why T.I. was attracted to his character in Takers. Recently released from prison after a job gone wrong, Ghost is an edgy loner who knows too much, a suspicious outsider among his former group of super-sleek gangsters. And although they’re all technically bad guys, the charismatic high-rollers — including Idris Elba, Paul Walker and Chris Brown — are easy to root for with their Danny Ocean swagger and professionally cool bank heists.

 

But that’s precisely why the rapper-turned-actor was interested in the role.

 

“I liked taking a character that could easily be considered an antagonist and make him likable,” says T.I. “I think the element of surprise is important.”

 

To be fair, T.I.’s had some practice with image management. No stranger to court, he spent a good part of last year in prison on federal weapons charges, but he’s not hurting for projects: His seventh album, King Uncaged, drops next month; Takers marks the debut of his production company Grand Hustle Films; and his clothing line, Akoo, is in stores now.

 

If he’s breaking a sweat under the weight of it all (or the amount of “bling” he’s wearing at 11 a.m.), he’s not showing it.


“I like the challenge of doing something unexpected,” he says. “It’s a lot of responsibility, it’s a lot to carry, but it’s rewarding.”