Getting To Know Erica Peeples
Actress, Producer and Poet Erica Peeples is making her mark on the film industry. You may know her as the leading actress in the hit Summer film, “True To The Game,” but there’s so much more to know about this rising star. The Detroit native spoke with us to give us more of an inside look into the career and life of Erica Peeples. Check out this exclusive interview.
1. Tell us who Erica Peeples is?
I am an artist. I'm a poet, producer, children's acting coach. I'm a free-spirit and lover of love and a lover of life.
2. When did you discover your love for acting and what inspired you?
I discovered my love for acting when I was six years old and originally I was first inspired by the TV show Kids Incorporated and The Mickey Mouse Club. I remember I used to watch the show and I told my mom, "that's what I want to do I want to be an actress I want to be on that show." From there, my mom put me in acting classes and it was solidified when I watched Angela Bassett when she played Tina Turner in What's Love Got To Do With It.
3. How does it feel to go from being a Juilliard graduate to now having a leading role in the biggest independent film of the Summer?
It's a wonderful feeling, it feels amazing. Juilliard prepared me for this exact moment. So I definitely feel prepared. It's an honor to have Juilliard as my background, as my credentials and it feels like my hard-work in school is paying off. So, it feels great.
4. How did you get involved with "True To The Game," and what was the audition process like?
Initially, I was in New York and Columbus (Columbus Short) and I were friends prior and he called me in the middle of the night and all he said to me was, "Are you ready ?" I said yes and he said, "I feel so honored to be a bezel of God to present this opportunity for you." He was like, " Vivica Fox is going to be in it, you're going to be great, I just need you to come down here to LA and prove me right." Thirty minutes later I had a ticket, a flight to go to LA. I flew to LA the next morning. I get off the plane and I go directly to the director's house. Now mind you, I didn't know what the script was about, I hadn't read a script I was just going completely off of faith and completely trusting my friend. So on our way from the airport to the director's house, he finally tells me what the script is about. He tells me about the book and about Teri Woods. So I go to the director's house and I did a cold read for him. I went from the director's house to meet the producer, from the producer to meeting Leah Daniels and then I had to audition for Leah Daniels four times and do a test screening with Columbus. Then I finally got the role.
5. How did it feel to work alongside such talented actors such as Columbus Short, Vivica A. Fox and the late, Nelsan Ellis?
It was a great feeling because I've always admired each one of their work. From Columbus Short, even before we were friends I admired his work in Stomp The Yard to Cadillac Records, which he was fantastic in, all the way to Scandal. Vivica Fox, she's a true veteran from Set It Off to Independence Day to Kill Bill. Nelsan Ellis, I was a huge fan of his working going all the way back to Juilliard, we actually went to Juilliard together and Nelsan and I were best friends. We were more than best friends, we were family. I had admired his work from school. I would sneak out of class sometimes and go and watch his rehearsals. Even though we were really close friends I've always admired his work and looked up to him and I admired his choices and his way with language. He had a way of taking the language and making it poetic.
It was an honor and a privilege to work with them and it also made me show up. I had to definitely prove that I was meant to be working with everyone there. I think what was beautiful about everyone apart of the project was that we all fought together. We fought a lot of shut downs with the movie, but we all dedicated ourselves to it and we wanted to put out our best work. We believed in each other so that created a great chemistry and bond between us.
6. What is your favorite on-set memory?
If you saw the movie, and whoever hasn't saw the movie, there's a scene where I am kidnapped and locked in the trunk. We had to shoot that scene about five different times on two different days. The first day we shot it I remember it was about two o'clock in the morning and we had been shooting all day so I was tired and it was cold and it started to rain and I had to be locked in the trunk. It was so beautiful because Nelsan was there and he kind of directed me because my mouth was covered with tape and the first shot we did the camera just came in on my eyes and he was like, "I just want you to really act with your eyes because we can always see your eyes." After I finished he said, "that was such beautiful work." So that's my favorite memory on-set.
7. Is there any comparison between your personality and Gena's personality?
Yes, there's a few similarities I would say. Gena's a fighter, I'm a fighter in real life. She fights for what she believes in, she doesn't give up. She's a poet, I'm a poet. She believes in love, she's still hopeful. So I think those are the most similarities we have to each other.
8. How has life changed since "True To Game"?
Nothing has really changed with me, I'm still the same person. I'm still approachable. I'm still out auditioning and working. What I would say has changed the most is just people being able to recognize me and recognize my work, which is a beautiful feeling. To have that confirmation from people I don't know is a great feeling to have.
9. Would you have expected to be where you are now back in college?
To be honest with you, I did because it was a goal of mine and it was something I always saw for myself but what I expected was for it to happen sooner. I didn't think I would have to work this hard after working so hard in school, so in some ways yes and in some ways no. But, I'm so thankful for every moment and every opportunity that has come my way.
10. What is one motivational quote that you live by?
One motivational quote that I live by is “in spirit there is no loss.” I say that everyday or anytime I lose something. My mother actually told me this quote and anytime I lose something and I say it over and over “in spirit there is no loss,” and I always find it. I can attribute it to many things in life like if I lose an acting job I say that and it comes back in another way nothing is ever lost in spirit.
11. What advice would you give to young aspiring actors and actresses who are looking to jump into the industry?
Number one I would say, do it because you love it. Number two, don't give up. Number three, you should know that it's a marathon not a sprint. So that means that it may not happen when you think it will happen or it might take you some time to get there but don't give up because there's a long way to the finish line but you will make it to the finish line. It will happen. There's so many times I could have given up, let go and just stop doing what I love but I didn't give up and because I didn't give up I am able to stand here today and say I have a movie in theaters. It's a great feeling, it's beautiful.
12. What can we expect from you in 2018?
You can definitely expect to see more of me, that's for sure. I have a few things in the works, so you're going to see me on TV. You'll see me in one or two other independent movies coming out. So, in 2018 be prepared to see a lot of Erica Peeples.