Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Exclusive: Michael Ealy Talks ‘Jacob’s Ladder’ and PTSD

Michael Ealy in 'Jacob's Ladder.' 
Michael Ealy in ‘Jacob’s Ladder.’  Frank Masi Photo

*Michael Ealy, one of Hollywood’s hottest actors, is a triple threat this weekend. He stars in the cult classic “Jacob’s Ladder,” on Dish TV 8/23, ABC’s “Stumptown” airing 8/25, and the recently released “The Intruder” on Bluray/DVD.

The much-in-demand actor is just as impressive off-screen as on. He is a take-charge man and that’s very admirable in the entertainment industry.

When our phone interview did not take place at the designated time, Ealy called me to apologize and arrange another time. That rarely, if ever, happens in Hollywood where celebrities’ lives hinge on handlers.

In “Jacob’s Ladder,” the 1990 psychological thriller remake Ealy, like his brother Isaac (Jesse Williams), are products of the Afghanistan war and its traumatizing fallout. Ealy explained why it was so important for the “…Ladder” remake.

Michael, what was your motivation to take on this project?

I haven’t done a movie that is a real psychological thriller. And with ‘Jacob’s Ladder,’ the PTSD experiments are reminiscent of the Tuskegee experiment, where men are put in a situation where they are helpless.

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Michael Ealy and Nicole Beharie in 'Jacob's Ladder
Michael Ealy and Nicole Beharie in ‘Jacob’s Ladder.’Frank Masi Photo

This film is very intense. Were you able to leave it on the set?

The big reveal is probably the hardest thing I had to deal with. It had flashbacks that made it very emotional and weird. I had to sustain that for two days in a row. So yes, because I did not get out of that for like 48 hours. There was a lot of heaviness, paranoia, and fear when I left this movie. It was hard to shake it off. This one required a little bit of therapy and a little bit of tequila to shake it off.

A ‘sleepyhead’ and big fan of the kickass Nicole Beharie in ‘Sleepy Hollow,’ I was happy to see her as the wife. Did you have anything to do with her being cast?

As Executive Producer, Nicole was my first choice and I could not stop smiling I met her on set. I was like giddy hat she was on board.

Is there any particular film that prepared you for this movie?

That’s a good question. Yes,. When I did the character Beau Willie in ‘For Colored Girls,’ that was the first time I really did any research on PTSD. So I was well aware of PTSD and its effects not only on the soldiers but their families, and how that creates secondary PTSD. There’s a whole lot of work that went into that character that didn’t make the film. And that’s understandable because the movie’s called ‘For Colored Girls.’ So it wasn’t about me [laughs].

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Marie Moorehttp://eurweb.com
Veteran syndicated journalist who covers film and television.

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