Talking with: Actor RON J. ROCK on BET Sports Drama ‘GAMES PEOPLE PLAY’
Interview with actor Ron J. Rock, after his character returns in the second season of the stylistic basketball drama, more complex and strategic than ever.
This edition of Talking With focuses on actor Ron J. Rock, who portrays the cunning politician Jason Tucker on BET's Games People Play, as he deals with his dark past amidst a ruthless bid for Mayor of Inglewood.
When Rock shows up in his recent season debut, every character faces a personal struggle, with Parker McKenna Posey’s Laila facing pressure from Tucker’s (Rock) lawyer. While Tucker helped Laila secure an apartment in the first season of the show, the past they share creeps in and threatens Tucker’s current political ambitions.
Typically playing characters with smoother edges and easier demeanors, Rock thoroughly enjoyed inhabiting a role outside of his comfort zone. As he embodies Tucker in this season, he puts aside the nice guy in a way that will shake up audiences’ perception of Rock.
Most recently, audiences have seen Rock opposite the late Michael K. Williams, closing deals as a successful real estate agent in Destined, and in the action-thriller Assault on VA-33, starring Sean Patrick Flanery and Michael Jai White. Still, Rock is most recognized for his role in the gritty crime-thriller Den of Thieves, which starred Gerard Butler and Curtis ‘50 Cent’ Jackson, where he played Junior, the young banker caught in the middle of a bank heist.
Fans of Rock’s TV appearances recall his turn as Rajon on the ABC hit cop-drama The Rookie alongside Nathan Fillion, and his two-episode arc on Should I Do It. Viewers may also recognize Rock from his time as the ‘Green Machine’ super hero in the Naked Juice commercial.
To Learn More, we are Talking With Ron J. Rock.
What can you tell us about the return of Jason Tucker on “Games People Play”?
Ron Rock: Jason comes back as a smooth, well-spoken, clean-cut politician. He has a dark past with a former high school classmate, Laila James, and now that he's running for mayor of Inglewood California he has to keep the past in the past. He knows what he’s doing, and he uses charm, connections, and power to get what he wants.
You’re a little more ruthless in Season 2. Was it even more fun this time around?
RR: Yes! This time around Jason is definitely a lot more complex. He plays this game like a chess player since the audience will see that he covers all of his tracks to his dark past really well. Even the way he's done good for other people. In the end he makes sure that he benefits.
Did you know where your character was headed before you got the script?
RR: I didn’t know at all. I'm glad my character took this direction this season because I believe it’s a timely manner to discuss these issues between what's acceptable and unacceptable between men and women. This storyline poses the larger question of "Do we ever receive forgiveness from our past no matter the wrong we've done?" and "Can you live with your past even after you receive justice?”
There are endless opinions on these topics such as the "cancel culture" and "me too" movement. I hope for the audience to gain clarity on what they would do if they were in our shoes. To see it play out in this season will be interesting.
Do you have a favorite moment from working on the show either this season or last?
RR: My favorite moment was giving a speech to the people about the viper sports complex in season 2. It was very dynamic and gave me an introspective view on how politicians must feel up there. The setting was also very real which made it easy to get into character. Other than that, working with the cast is incredible. I find them all creative and professional.
There seems to be great chemistry with all the cast. Does that continue when the cameras aren’t rolling?
RR: Absolutely! I couldn’t ask for better castmates. We sit by our trailers, study our scenes, or make jokes, and talk about what happened in our lives after spending so much time away from each other. When the director says action, I notice they’re more than prepared. From the moment I met Parker and the castmates we had a good chemistry and respect for each other.
In general, where do you start when preparing for a role? And does that change depending on the genre?
RR: I start by walking around my neighborhood reading the script to get it into my body. Then when I have an idea of it, I would read it out with a few friends to understand the genre and tone. From there I visualize where I am and what exactly is happening. Then I think about as if I were in this situation how would I react but more importantly how the specific character would react.
Why do you think fans enjoy these characters so much?
RR: I think fans enjoy these characters because they can relate to a lot of what is happening. At the end of the day we are all in this world to live love and be happy and will do anything to achieve it. Some people lie, cheat, and some people work the honest hard way. People are also interested in good stories. It gives them hope and new perspectives. I do believe the characters in this season have depth to their storylines.
What inspires you the most creatively?
RR: I like inspiring people whether that's through art or a conversation or spending time with some friends. I'm addicted to understanding the human mind and why we do the things we do. I must say driving along the PCH highway during the sunset, overlooking the ocean, and traveling is my form of inspiration to be creative.