JOCKO SIMS - Photographer: Diana Ragland Groomer: Veronica Arancibia Wardrobe Stylist: Jordan Grossman
TV show hits such as Empire and others to come this year are hiring more African-American talents. What do you think about the rise of Black Actors in Hollywood?
I think the use of African Americans in mainstream media is something that moves in cycles. There was a time, not long ago when you had Cosby on CBS, The Fresh Prince of NBC and Martin on Fox. In Living Color and Def Comedy Jam where staples as well. And then, after those shows…nothing in the mainstream for a long time. I feel like the dry spell was due to a combination of network executives feeling like they didn’t have a potential hit come across their desks, coupled with the fear of the myth that white audiences don’t watch black shows. Both of which have been unfortunate thoughts to have. The reality is that urban-related content has proven to be strong. I remember going to see Think Like a Man in the theater on a Friday night during opening weekend and was shocked that not only was I the only African American in the audience, but I was surprised at the number of white males over the age of 40 I saw as well. That’s just not who we’d generally think would show up to support urban content. That film was #1 at the box office two weeks in a row, the sequel was #1 opening weekend and Empire is breaking television history records. Hopefully, executives across all television and digital media take note and make adjustments for the benefit of African American actors, the masses that want to see us in media and for the financial benefit of the networks and executives themselves; as we have proven time and again to be some of the most diverse, dynamic and most entertaining people on the planet. via youtube
What was your goal when you set out to become an actor? Did you want to just be in the movies or television, or both?
I loved horror movies growing up. I’m a “Scream” franchise baby. I was a teenager when those movies came out and I always wanted to be in one. That’s when it really started. Over a decade later, I’ve yet to be in a horror film, but I really enjoy what I do. Not to mention that I’m writing now as well, and plan to direct a lot in the future. So who knows…maybe I’ll make my own horror film!
Who is your inspiration for acting?
There are some people I’ve watched in roles, and they were so good that it literally took me out of the story in the film. I began to analyze their acting so much that I found myself asking, “why did they commit to the role this much?” Two examples: what Denzel Washington did with his performance in Training Day, and Heath Ledger’s “Joker” in The Dark Knight. As I’ve grown as an actor, I’ve realized that I questioned their decision to take their role so seriously because it is rare that I see that sort of commitment on screen. I now realize that they are doing their job in these roles (and yes, there are examples of others). But I like to look to these performances, specifically, as well as a couple of others, and remind myself that my job is to immerse myself in the world of the character, their history, what they ate that morning, their hopes and dreams, and bring as much as I can to the role.
Where would you like to see your roles in Hollywood expand to? Do you enjoy musicals, comedy etc.? I feel like I’m attracted to playing some sort of extreme character like the ones I mentioned above. Someone who is committed to his goals, perhaps obsessed with something; be it power through manipulation, or an addiction. I’d like to play a character where in the process I can get an education into the psyche of such a figure, whether they were an actual person or someone completely fictional.
What’s in your music collection? Who is your favorite artist right now and is there anyone that you have stopped listening to? I like a variety of music and some of my favorites historically and present are Red Hot Chili Peppers, Pharrell (and his band N.E.R.D.) and Kendrick Lamar. I listen to these artists consistently. As far as who I’ve stopped listening to? Well…there were a lot of artists who lost me after their first album. Well, it’s a small industry, so I’ll give you three hints for three examples: 1) This group has the number 5 in their name / 2) This group has a word in their name that is used to describe one of two very general temperatures / 3) And the third act is a woman whose name is “something you can send out via social media,” --- and no, her name is not “DM” or “friend request.”
What do you consider your personal style?
My personal style evolves consistently, and at least as of late, it is partly in respect of what is happening with fashion trends. Most of it, however, is just attributed to me and who I am. For example, my everyday style these days consists of rocking a fitted or adjustable hat, and you can bet that 99.99% it shall say “Spurs” on it, as I’m from San Antonio and am the biggest Spurs Basketball fan on the planet. I have an extensive collection to match various styles, jackets, shoes, and various looks that range from sweats to slacks. I also love rocking a great blazer. You can’t really go wrong year round with those, depending on the color and style. I love rocking dress shoes, with no socks, and cuffs. I feel like I can’t be touched when my pants are cuffed.
How tall are you? You look amazing in your suit. Do you enjoy dressing up or are you more of a casual guy? On a tall day, I’m just under 6ft…and yes, I love wearing suits, but I equally love dressing super casual. They’re like if I had children…I couldn’t choose a favorite of the two styles.
Tell Ouch! Readers more about your character in TNT’s “The Last Ship.” What attracted you to the role?
On The Last Ship, I play ‘Lt. Carlton Burk.’ I usually play more cerebral characters, like detectives, lawyers and blue-collar roles like DJ’s and civil rights activists. But what attracted me to ‘Burk’ was, for one, he is the toughest character I’ve ever played. I never imagined I’d be an action star, and being on The Last Ship, my character falls nothing short of that. For this past season, in particular, I can proudly say, I did all my own stunts. Damn, I’ve always wanted to say that!
When does the new season premiere?
The new season of The Last Ship premieres Sunday, June 21st with a special 2-hour episode. We were the #1 cable series last year, and we’re going to blow them out of the water this year. We’ve stepped it up…a lot. And I’m actually a big fan of the show, which is rare. So I can’t wait.
What other projects do you have lined up this year?
On the movie front, I just played opposite Maggie Siff (Sons of Anarchy) Chris Messina (The Mindy Project) and Abigail Spencer (Mad Men) in a comedy called, The Sweet Life that is slated to come out next year. On the creative front, I’m passionate about music, so I have been writing and producing a music-themed comedy project that follows a hip-hop group trying to make it in the music business, as they maneuver their way to the top, and through their relationships (good and bad) with the women in their lives. It will take a comedic look at the music business, examine some relationship differences between guys and girls, and make you laugh hard. Look out for some of the content to be released fairly soon. I also host a live on-camera radio show online that showcases unsigned music artists, called Apollo Night LA. I actually started it with my mom, and the show is really fun. We have special celebrity guests and comedians come in and critique the music. If you’re an unsigned artist and you’d like to get your song played on the show, go to http://apollonightla.com/ and find out how to submit your music. And be sure to watch us every Monday night at 7:00 pm PST at the same site!
Are you active on social media?
I am active on social media and I have to admit, it consumes me sometimes. It’s almost a full-time job. On the other hand, interacting with fans can be very fulfilling and it’s a great way to gauge how they feel about the work you’re doing.
Do you do take “selfies”? What do you think about that?
I’m not a big fan of “selfies,” but sometimes they are necessary. I prefer the “usie” (group selfies) over anything and whoever created the “selfie stick” is a business genius, but I strongly dislike them for that creation.
What annoys you about social media?
What annoys me the most about social media, is the fact that we spend the majority of our time on it now, rather than filling our time with face-to-face interactions.
Do you think in order to be famous you have to be attractive, or does talent still rule?
I think it all depends on the individual. Generally, the accepted and unfortunate rule is “the more attractive you are, the less talent you need.” You can’t necessarily say vice versa. However, despite being (what society as a whole deems) “physically” unattractive, you can have quite a bit of success if you have that “thing” that people want; that “x-factor,” if you will. That “thing” could be humor, a strong presence, or some talent that can be measured in a myriad of ways.
My all-time favorite movie is Misery starring Kathy Bates, James Caan and directed by Rob Renier based on the Stephen King Novel. It’s a great thriller/horror film, with Oscar-worthy performances. Classic.
Do you work-out? If so, how important is working out for you?
I work-out because I have to for my job, honestly. I love being in shape, but don’t love the process of getting there and staying there. I love to eat. A lot. And if I lived back home in Texas and did a job that didn’t require me to be on camera, I’d probably look a little different.
How can fans reach out to you and where?
Fans can reach out to me via all the main social media platforms. On Facebook, they can search “Jocko Sims” to find me and I’m @JockoSims on Instagram and Twitter. Twitter @JockoSims (https://twitter.com/jockosims) Instagram: @JockoSims (http://instagram.com/jockosims)