How many films does a guy have to do before people start thinking of him as “just a rapper”? Atlanta native T.I., who got his start in music, has been doing just fine in front of the camera since making his screen debut 10 years ago in “ATL.” But sometimes some people still need to be reminded of that. Maybe with his latest, Marvel’s “Ant-Man,” he won’t have to anymore.
Were you much of a comics fan in general before this project?
I had a fling. I kind of collected a lot of “X-Men” and “Wolverine” comics in the early ’90s. I lost them, I lost the whole collection — like 35 books — and I was deflated. I just couldn’t start over again. I just couldn’t.
Before you got involved with this, how much had you heard about Ant-Man?
Not much. He isn’t the best-known of the Marvel team, but that’s great because now we can introduce him to the world — and get credit for it.
What was the first thing you thought when they explained him to you?
This script better be good. (laughs)
The movie is actually very funny.
Sure. I mean, it’s hard not to be with Paul. I don’t think it was even written in the script to be as funny as it is. I think that the onscreen chemistry and the environment that was set kind of contributed to the amount of laughs that it gets.
It’s been a decade since “ATL,” and you do plenty of acting. But do you still find yourself having to remind people that you’re not just a rapper?
I mean, I don’t remind people of anything — unless their decision will gain or lose an opportunity for me. Like, the worst thing is for people to actually be the determiner of whether or not you get an opportunity and have that mentality — “Oh, he’s just a rapper.” No, I commit myself to just about anything that I do and give a thousand percent. I don’t just fly by the seat of my pants doing stuff half-heartedly. And I think just reminding people that I’m a very passionate artist and performer in any genre, in any area — I mean, it’s a pain in the ass, but from time to time you kind of have to.
That’s a good problem to have, though, having two careers going at the same time.
Yeah, not bad. Well, you know, I’m trying to get them both to the pinnacle. I’m very passionate about my music, and equally passionate about my acting career. I really just want to maximize the potential and maximize the opportunities.
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What’s your game-plan for that?
I mean, in music I have another album that I’m releasing, and just making the best possible music that satisfies the fans and picking the most appropriate roles that will surprise people in a way that they never thought that they would see me perform. I think that if you balance those things in both fields, eventually the inevitable outcome is success.
So do you get any time to relax?
No, no. Heavens no. I have an album that I’m releasing, this film, still working on a script for “ATL 2,” trying to balance all of these things. These six children I got, they won’t necessarily let me rest. If they would just stop growing and eating so much … (laughs)