When asked what got him started in the entertainment industry, Orlando Jones (starring in the new sci-fi comedy “Evolution”), jokingly responded with, “Stupidity. I ain”t got no sense. I realize that truth now.”
The young entertainer from South Carolina has starred in several movies, (“Say it Isn”t So,” “The Replacements,” “Office Space”) but “Evolution” is his biggest film yet.
Directed by Ivan Reitman, (“Ghostbusters”), “Evolution” is about alien life that spreads on earth after a meteor crashes in an Arizona desert. Harry Block, (Jones) a geology professor and women”s volleyball coach at the local community college, and his co-worker Dr. Ira Kane (David Duchovony), take matters into their own hands, but soon realize how serious the incident is human survival is at stake.
Jones”s character is extremely funny and his mannerisms keep the audience rolling.
“I was really focused on making this character intelligent and funny at the same time,” Jones said. This was tough because Jones really believed that Harry”s function was to get the laughs, along with his meaningful relationship with Ira.
A lot of the lines in “Evolution” were originally adlibs and Jones compliments Reitman on his encouragement and style. “It was really a collaboration of everyone”s effort [Reitman] is not the kind of director who says, “this is the way to do it.””
Jones said the core is the same and Reitman would try a scene one way, and then come back with something completely different. “His goal was to get the lines across in the funniest way possible.”
With such a variety of actors (Jones, Duchovny, Julianne Moore and Sean William Scott), it is interesting to hear how they all got along on the set. Jones said they all functioned as a family, with Jones, Duchovony and Scott as the three kids.
“David is the oldest, I”m in the middle and Sean is the youngest. David attacks Sean, I pretend not to know what”s going on, then I protect Sean from David the second Sean feels safe, I attack Sean. We function just like three kids and Julianne referees the whole thing.”
So how did Jones get involved in acting? “Do you want the short, medium or long version? There was this girl in college Linda Graves, and I was stalking her. She wouldn”t consent to any date in any circumstances. Anyways, she was auditioning for this play I figured this was the only way I could you know, “spit my game.””
After Jones did all of the breathing exercises and other acting “stuff” before the audition, he said he was thinking: “I don”t know what the fuck is going on here, but she is ridiculously fine, and that”s all I know.” Long story short: Jones got cast, but the girl didn”t. She never spoke to him again, but she was “literally the reason I ended up here.”
In addition to the play, Jones reluctantly followed a teacher”s advice and joined the debate team. Jones won the National Championship in Dramatic, Humorous, and Prose Interp, and received offers from acting schools all over the country.
Jones began his Hollywood career as a writer for the NBC sitcom “A Different World,” then wrote for “ROC Live.” His acting debut took place on Fox”s sketch comedy show “Mad TV” and from there Jones launched his film career.
Jones is currently working on a script for his upcoming film “Reverend Pimp Daddy,” Although Jones” mother, an extremely proper, Southern lady, would disagree with her son”s choices in roles (“If it was a movie just about a pimp, I couldn”t go home,” Jones laughed.) She likes this script because “at its core, the pimp has a heart of gold and the story is pretty much “Pretty Woman” flipped upside down.”
Jones is no longer just the “7-Up guy,” and he even joked about this as the interview came to a close. “I get more 7-Up stigma from the press trying to figure out how they”re going to find a headline for their article and less from the people I run into.”