*Rick Fox, former NBA Champion tuned actor, has joined the second season of the insanely popular “Greenleaf” series on OWN. Mr Fox will play “Darius,” a handsome reporter covering the latest round of scandals at Calvary Fellowship World Ministries. His character is known to corner high church officials in the parking lot, hoping to pressure them into blurting out something memorable.
“Greenleaf” returned to OWN March 15, and Rick makes his debut on TONIGHT’S episode. Fox, whose film credits include “Dope” and “Meet The Browns,” recently recurred on “K.C. Undercover,” “Shoot The Messenger” and “Hit The Floor,” and guest-starred on “Shameless” and “iZombie.”
EUR/Electronic Urban Report caught up with Mr. Fox to talk about his new “Greenleaf” role, how he prepared to play a reporter on the series and transitioning from athlete to actor. He also touches on how his spirituality guides him as he continues to navigate the industry.
Check out our conversation below:
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Your episode left me feeling like there’s more to Darius than he lets on. Like, viewers shouldn’t trust this “good guy” appeal that he’s serving. So tell me, what style of reporter is he?
RICK FOX: I am a truth seeker. Now I do happen to live in a town where the Greenleaf empire dominates and now I am crossing paths with a very interesting character in Grace Greenleaf, and a very conflicting position of doing my job at the same time, having my own personal life and getting to know someone that I think is as conflicted, potentially, as she struggles to work her way through her return home. So I think we connect there first, but I don’t know if I can say that my intentions are not of the gentleman persuasion. I’m not looking to be shady individual. I am committed to doing my job.
Can viewers expect some surprises with Darius in town snooping around the Greenleaf family?
RICK FOX: The storyline around Darius will definitely not be a boring one. It’ll be entertaining. As a journalist, I don’t generate news, news shows up to me. I just have to be willing to uncover the truth and the facts and deliver them. So I think that will ruffle some feathers, especially in a world where there are so many secrets and those secrets come to the surface from episode to episode, and it’s my job to share those in the paper with the public. So what I tell and what I share will be interesting to discover and what angle I share it from, and how much I deliver versus how much I keep back will be a huge factor in moving forward in the season.
How did you get involved with this season and what about this character intrigued you to the point of wanting to be a part of this series? Were you a fan of “Greenleaf” prior to being approached about this role?
RICK FOX: I’m a fan of great teams, so when you start with Oprah and you work down to Craig Wright, then you get down to Clement Virgo, then you look at the cast and the quality of the team that’s been put together, you know that great work is about to be had, and has been had already. And to be included in that in season 2 was just…. it was a gift to me to be able to be included, so that I’m a huge fan of. Right now, as you talk about the world of “Greenleaf,” it’s a world set in the church and a family that is extremely powerful — having their own megachurch. I grew up in the church. I come from a background where I was extremely influenced — heavily, by a God-fearing family, and that is something that intrigues me as I move through my life and my experiences with religion in general, and my spirituality… and the conversations that arise on a weekly basis in our churches and in our society as a whole. The issues are issues that need to be addressed and dealt with and talked about. We do that, pastors do that weekly when they address their congregations and they deliver the word of God. How do you live a God-fearing life and fight the battles of the flesh and the battles of just being human? I love that, and I think with that comes a lot of conflict, with that comes a lot of humanity and a lot of story and a lot of truth. So to enter that world and be a part of it, as a reporter — coming from a world where I’ve been reported on daily for years — to be on the other side and to be the one capturing the stories is a nice shift for me.
And I bet you didn’t have to look far to pull for inspiration for this role.
RICK FOX: All the things I recall being open to when it comes to someone of media credentials, I’ve incorporated to some degree to the way Darius does his job. I think back to those who I’ve been most open with in the media and why, and what would their qualities and characteristics be to befriend me. Now what Darius struggles with is working and personal, and Darius’ personal life is now conflicted. It’s hard to maintain that balance of doing your job and also doing your own life, especially when at the center of that is a lot of juicy material.
Speaking of his personal life, what’s up with him flirting with Grace? Is he truly smitten with her or is Darius hoping to use her to get to the truth?
RICK FOX: Well, the truth is the truth, right? Grace is a former journalist, let’s not forget that. That’s what potentially connects the two — the understanding of the job itself, the respect for the job itself. The valuable need for those being the voices of the media to deliver the facts is something that is a shared credo of both of these individuals. So there’s a healthy respect in the foundation of what I do because it’s what she used to do, and it’s maybe something that she still aspires to do. She was on her way to New York for a job as a journalist and came home. So there’s an ease that Darius and Grace have around that conversation of his career and the fact that she understands what his commitment in his career is to do, which is to bring the light. I’m a truth seeker and I have to deliver the facts. Will that at some point create conflict? I don’t know, but it potentially seems like it would, especially if you’re questioning my motives already. He is smitten and taken by this woman because there’s a lot of substance there that he discovers quite quickly.
Are there certain flaws that you seek in characters or traits that you resonate with, which help you to decide what roles to take on? If so, what about your own persona do you see in Darius?
RICK FOX: I love that question, such a great question — no one has ever asked me a question of that depth. As an actor, we go into ourselves to pull from our own personal lives to connect to these characters to tell the stories and to bring life to these roles. Even though I am a man of a thousand faces, so many of the characters I’ve played have really resonated when I’ve pulled from some of the darkest traits in my life. And here I am, for really the first time in a lot of ways, having an opportunity to play a character where it’s allowing me to go to the light in me and really go to a place of authenticity and truth and justice, and fight. I do it daily in my life as a father to my kids, but I haven’t done it many times in roles, in characters. So yes, you are absolutely right. I excavated parts of myself that connect to Darius and I have found great joy in being able to bring them to light through this character. I hope, maybe for the first time, people discover a character that I’m playing that they’ve never seen me play before, and they fall into it and they go on this journey with not just Darius, but Darius and Grace and her family, (and) also this spiritual journey of this show to really open up this conversation of the issues that arise in our day-to-day lives that we address sometimes through church and sometimes not. Some of them need to be brought to light and this world is really ripe for sitting in and settling in Wednesday nights at 10:00pm on OWN and really just being a part of this movement.
Tune in to the second season of “Greenleaf” on OWN Wednesdays at 10/9c, and check out the clip below to get a glimpse of Rick Fox in his first scene from tonight’s episode.