Ty Granderson Jones

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Proud of his Creole-Cuban heritage by way of New Orleans, Louisiana, raised in Tampa, Florida– Ty Granderson Jones is a protégé of the late iconic theatre director, Alan Schneider, and a former student of the late Lee Strasberg (Actors Studio@NYC). He has a BA in Theatre from FSU/FAMU as a Co-op Student, and an MFA in Acting from world renowned theatre program at UCSD. His film credits include the Touchstone action film “Con Air”, starring in the #1 box office hip hop cult classic “CB4” from Universal Pictures, Oliver Stone’s Oscar nominated “Salvador”, guest starring/recurring as Cue Ball Rodriguez on the critically acclaimed ER on NBC, and starring as the villainous Max Rice in the urban indie “Tapped Out”. Ty has numerous legit theatre credits, having performed in over 100 plays including Off-Broadway, the Los Angeles premiere of August Wilson’sJoe’s Turner’s Come and Gone” with the late Roscoe Lee Browne, and “The School for Scandal” at the Tony Award winning South Coast Repertory. He has won various theatre awards for his performances and has garnered many nominations in both theatre and film. Ty is also a screenwriter, director and producer via his company Creole Celina Entertainment. His writing, producing and directing credits include the award winning short film “Napoleonic” in which he stars, “Diamond” also co-starring, and “The Cool and Creepy” currently in development.  Ty, a former amateur Muay Thai Fighter, is also a noted Poet and has performed his original works accompanied by legendary drummer John Densmore of The Doors.

1. Hi Ty, how are you doing?

Wassup Ninja Girl!! I’m doing well. I’m always good even when things are bad. All about perspective and this OG has learned it’s all good. My focus is on what’s good. But it’s hard to focus on what’s good consistently when your environment is Hollywood and your business is the actor game that pushes you to constantly define yourself with the need to constantly re-invent yourself and stay relevant. I have a God given innate ability to do so. It’s one of my gifts and blessings. The bad, negative stuff is in your face easy everyday. I ain’t trying to see that or feel that. I just do my best to shield my artistic state of being and my inner soul from all that and from those that don’t get me professionally or personally as well as shield myself from negative energy…period and stay in the light. Although I have learned it is fun to dance in the dark from time to time, as long as you see a peak of light at the end of the tunnel (laughing).  Just keep your eye on the Sparrow, so to speak.

2. When did you decide to work in the movie industry as an actor, screenwriter and filmmaker, what inspired you to pursue such a career?

ty photo 3 - 2014

Ty Ganderson Jones

Well, it goes all the way back to when I was a small kid. My grandfather (my father’s father) and my father who passed last November, he was my hero, well, him and my grandfather both loved the movies and television and all they would do was go to the movies and watch television shows. When my grandfather would baby sit me, he would put a pile of thick blankets next to his recliner and we both would just chill, eat tons of ice cream and watch movie after movie after movie and they were mostly the old B&W movies that you see on Turner Classic Movies on cable these days. We watched a lot of the Robert Mitchum, Humphrey Bogart, James Cagney, Edward G. Robinson movies. When Movie Stars were Movie Stars! Movies like Key Largo, The Roaring 20’s, Public Enemy. My dad would quiz me on movies and the names of stars, etc. Also my family was connected to the music industry. One of my uncles managed Marvin Gaye and James Brown, and couple other uncles were Jazz greats Cannonball and Nat Adderly. Also, my Grandfather worked for showman Cab Calloway, and Lauren Becall, who was a huge star in the 50’s/60’s, married to the iconic character actor Humphrey Bogart.  I knew show business somehow was my calling. Then I started watching films on my own and got into foreign films of all sorts from Japanese cinema with directors like Akira Kurosawa to Italian cinema with directors like Bernardo Bertolucci to Federico Fellini and everything in between. I would ask my grandfather to find these movies on television or when they came to the movies. And this was when I was barely 8 years old.  I knew as a kid that I wanted to be an actor. I was always fascinated by film. My influences as screenwriter/filmmaker my influences are Stanley Kubrick, David Lynch, Roman Polanski, The Coen Brothers, etc. But I had to get after my dream and career by studying Theatre which is in my spine.  I have done over a hundred plays from Off-Off Broadway to Repertory Theatre. As for writing, I started writing screenplays mid career as a film actor about 1995. It was about attempting to take my career into my own hands. I had read for a movie called Devil in a Blue Dress with Denzel Washington for a role called Mouse. A role I felt I was born to play.

He was a small gangster with a hot head. A character that had my DNA and demeanor, if anyone knows my story of incarceration and redemption, they know I was the perfect Mouse given my skills as an actor. It got down to a couple of actors including me, long story, Don Cheadle got the role. The irony is that Cheadle was not even one of the final couple of actors that was being considered.  It was me and then there was noted actor Michael Beach who had worked with the director Carl Franklin on a film called One False Move, and couple of other actors…one I think was Richard T. JonesCheadle somehow got in the final days before decisions were made and the way I heard it went down, he was a friend of the director and Denzel really liked him.  I knew whoever got that role would become a star and have a grand career and be nominated for just about every major award. Cheadle was nominated and won every award, except an Oscar. I often joke if I had gotten the  role I would have gotten nominated for an Oscar.  So not getting the role was so disappointing that I responded by writing to create opportunities for myself and many of my very talented unsung friends who are brilliant actors and not getting a fair shake…some very legendary and simply forgotten by our industry, it shamefully happens. Then I realized my scripts needed to be produced, so I started my own company called Creole Celina Entertainment named after my heritage and my daughter. But it has been very hard.  I have not been able to produce any of the major projects I have written. All about finding finance and it’s hard to find people with an imagination to fund films and gamble creatively without some kind of guaranteed return or business plan on their financial investment. And I am learning that end (laughing). That fine line between art, business and banks. I had optioned a couple of my scripts to a few companies, they never made the films. I made money and got ownership back and I am glad. I never intended to be a screenwriter optioning scripts, but an actor/writer/filmmaker who acts in his films. Although from time to time I am paid handsomely to doctor scripts by major independent film companies and that is how I have managed to sustain a career and eat as I audition for gigs like every other actor in Hollywood.

But taking your career into your own hands as opposed to waiting for the industry’s beckoning call is the way. It is why I respect my pals, OG Souljahs – Actor/Writer/Producer Antonio McKay and his crew—Filmmaker/Director Frank Pinnock for doing the same and taking the reins with their own television series Sangre Negra.

Con Air (1997) – Classic Scene featuring Ty Granderson Jones! from Ty Granderson Jones on Vimeo.

3. Everybody who loves movies knows that Con Air was one of the big budget action movies of the 90’s and I don’t even remember how many times I watched that movie (more than 3000 times!). You were one of the convicts, the character Blade in Con Air. I really would like to know how getting a role in such a big budgeted Hollywood classic action movie influenced your life and career? Tell me about your experience. 

Con Air Crash Scene - Ty as Blade

Booking the role of Blade in Con Air was a dream, but at first a little disappointing because I had read for the role of Baby-O that was played by Mykelti Williamson (Bubba Gump in Forest Gump). Baby-O was originally written for a pal of mine, noted actor Glenn Plummer who was close to the writer of Con Air, Scott Rosenberg, whom I have remained fairly close to. Glenn was not available because he was working on another film. Scott and Glenn had worked together on a film Scott had written called Things To Do In Denver When You’re Dead starring Christopher Walken. Baby-O was written as a small guy, Glenn was only a little bigger than me. Anyway, they offered Baby-O to Mykelti who was hot and a star in his own right, but the director Simon West liked my audition enough to offer me the role of Blade, one of the convicts on the plane for the run of the film, which I worked four months straight and got paid very well- it bought me a house.

CON AIR - Ty as Blade with John Malkovich as Cyrus the Virus, Emilio Rivera as Carlos, and Conrad Goode as Viking

CON AIR – Ty as Blade with John Malkovich as Cyrus the Virus, Emilio Rivera as Carlos, and Conrad Goode as Viking

Part of the disappointment was in the final cut, the movie everybody sees. More than half of my performance and most of all my scenes were cut. The movie had a lot of problems while shooting. They were rewriting the script as we shot, bringing in writers from the movie Die Hard to locations in the middle of nowhere to do rewrites is what I heard. Nonetheless, tons of our lines, many of the supporting cast as well as stars lines and scenes were being cut while shooting. You barely even see Emilio Rivera who is huge now due starring in Sons of Anarchy and other projects, he was almost cut totally along with many.  I recall John Malkovich who plays Cyrus the Virus feeling so bad for me; he started giving me some of his lines. What star does that? But it was a tremendous experience. Most of us are close to this day.  For the director Simon West, it was a nightmare because he had to baby sit a bunch of hard-ass wanna be tough guys of which some of us really were playing hard ass tough guys. Always pulling pranks on each other, working out and lifting weights in an 18-Wheeler Tractor Trailer Gym that followed the shoot around from location to location in the middle of nowhere as we flew on a chartered jet from location to location. The 18-Wheeler Tractor Trailer Gym was really for Nicolas Cage, we just sort of took it over (laughing).  Last summer Con Air was honored at Arclight Cinema Hollywood as one the all time action classic movies of the 90’s. I reunited with the director Simon West. Working on Con Air changed my life and set a precedence for job expectations which was not realistic in Hollywood. And it is one of the films of my career that has established a huge fan base for me.

Ty and Con Air Director Simon West at Arclight

Ty with Con Air Director Simon West at Arclight Tribute

Ty Granderson Jones’ Demo 2009 – 2014 from Ty Granderson Jones on Vimeo.

4. From where do you draw inspiration when you write a script, and what kind of story do you like?

Ty as Big Paul in Short Fuse from Warner Bros

As mentioned earlier, my inspiration goes back to my attraction to wanting to be an actor since I was a kid and watching provocative, classic movies when I was a little kid. I was a film buff at 8 at years old. I was attracted to the dark world presented to me on film via the violent, edgy and thought provoking perspective of Kurosawa and Kubrick, etc.  As an actor and writer and filmmaker, I love exploring the under belly of humanity- socially and politically.  The attraction as an artist probably comes from my own experiences of having walked such a dark path early in my life. It’s something I know having come from a well to do, Catholic, Middle-class Creole-Cuban political family and ended up a young criminal myself. When I look back at my journey before I became an actor, writer and filmmaker, long before an expunged record, getting my BA in Theatre from FSU and FAMU as a Co-op student and later my Masters of Fine Arts in Acting from one of the most prestigious programs in the world- UCSD Ty as the Hip Hop Gangsta Mogul Max Rice in the urban classic Tapped Out from Madonna & Princevia mentors such as Michael Addison and Arthur Wagner, long before studying with great acting mentors like the late Lee Strasberg, theater directors such as the late Alan Schneider, doing over a 100 plays and starring in a few films and television shows, perhaps I romanticized the underbelly of society, violence, and gangsters via the films I watched as a kid. Maybe it was a programming of a sort that led me down the path of getting into trouble, but it certainly has influenced my interest and introspects as an actor, writer and filmmaker who is a provocateur with a desire to dig deep with no apologies. My inspirations are where the meat of characters and conflict lies in my opinion. No different than Shakespeare.

Ty Photo 1 in Hollywood Photo Journal Mugshots

Ty featured in the award winning Hollywood Photo Journal Mugshots

5.  I noticed you’re ripped and staying in great physical shape and practicing Muay Thai. Why Muay Thai? Did you ever think about fighting professionally?

Well, I don’t know how not to be in shape (laughing). I’ve been in shape, athletic and training Muay Thai since I was like 10. I lucked out as a small kid with an old Muay Thai warrior/KrTy Muay Thai Training & Posing with Kru Johnny Jacksonu at the Boy’s Club in Tampa, Florida. Muay Thai just happens to be very popular in the U.S. today because of MMA and UFC. But I have always been a Muay Thai warrior long before it was a popular martial arts form in the U.S. I also wrestled in high school and I was conference and state champ, and dabbled with Golden Gloves boxing. But I fell in love with Muay Thai. I actually fell in love with 2 Art Forms- “Acting” and “Muay Thai”.  A little Muay Thai kid warrior in training who was also a film buff (laughing).  But back in the day I realized the only way one could make a real living as a Muay Thai fighter, especially the small guys, was fighting abroad in Thailand, or somewhere across the pond, etc. Not like today where the UFC and other MMA organizations have opened the doors for professional martial artists with divisions for small guys like me that have a chance to make a decent a living stateside and/or abroad. I never wanted to be away from the states. I hate travelling (laughing). Ty Muay Thai Training with Mits with Kru Johnny JacksonSo I never fought professionally, but I dabbled with the idea. I decided acting, another difficult way to make a living, was to be my path (laughing). I felt I had a better chance to make a living as a professional actor than a professional Muay Thai Fighter.  Nevertheless, my acting path and dreams were sidetracked due to incarceration and the wrong path. As I mentioned earlier per my possible programming, influences and inspirations via watching films from the dark, violent, though provoking side of cinema, thanks to my attractions. I was enamored with true gangster infatuation of the drug cartel world which was easy to ascertain in Florida but I found my way back with redemption thanks to my late father, my family and as aforementioned, expunged record and focus on acting.  My story is noted in the Award-Winning Hollywood Photo Journal “Mugshots” featured along with talents such as Danny Trejo, Emilio Rivera.  As for Muay Thai, obviously I still spar, train and Ty Muay Thai Training with Kru Johnny Jacksondabble from time to time. Not like I should. I only started toying around again about 3 years ago via one of my boys- a great Muay Thai warrior/Kru and friend Johnny Jackson. He is the man, the real deal out of American Muay Thai Dojo here in the Los Angeles area. But I slack, too many injuries all the time – aging body.  But I can still rock and mix it up. Never let the smooth taste or the age fool you (laughing). Right now I am dealing with a sciatic nerve injury but I still go hard. My tolerance to physical pain is very high.

6. Please tell me about your award winning film Napoleonic which you wrote, produced and starred in.

Napoleonic Strait Jacket1

Ty in a straight jacket in “Napoleonic”

Napoleonic was an idea inspired by society and people always referring to a small guy like me as having a Napoleon Complex because I have a huge personality, small confident men with huge personalities makes folk uncomfortable for some reason. Society has problems with an extremely confident small guy. It is like in order to be confident with a big personality, it is only allowed for big men. So I initially wanted to address that.

The original story was about a small hit man who had a severe Napoleon Complex, and could only be cured when he tracked Randy Newman down and take him out for recording the song Short People (laughing). But then I met a couple writers who had financial connections that lost everything they had during Katrina in New Orleans. They love the basic characters and plot and we agreed to rewrite it with the brilliant idea of making it a post-Katrina vigilante story about a small guy with an alter ego and Napoleon Complex that helps him discover post-Katrina corruption in New Orleans which was based on the corrupt former Mayor of New Orleans Ray Nagin.  We were ahead of the BP oil spill and community re-gentrification of New Orleans. We were prophets. It’s a dynamite little film we actually shot on location in the 9th Ward in New Orleans. It had its debut in 2009 at Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival.Napoleonic Poster Photo 17. Which of your acting roles in the past do you like the best and what kind of role do you want to play?

I have not had that role yet that I like the best and I am open to any role that challenges me as an actor and a human being emotionally and spiritually.  The Dark Side to the light, all the colors of my breath and existence.

Ty’s IMDB

8. What movies would you recommend to watch? Your favorites?

My favorites are Sexy Beast, Munich, Unbreakable and Shane.

9. Which film is your most favorite of the 4 you mentioned? Please tell me the reasons too.

Shane! It’s a classic good versus evil story in a good old fashion Horse Opera, which is what we call cowboy movies. It is a love story. It is about a little boy coming of age and falling in love with a gun fighter as a father figure. Great film! Action! Emotional!  My favorite! I cry every time I watch it (laughing).

10. Now I really would like to know about your latest project/ film with Tessa Farrell titled “Diamond”!  Where did the idea come from?

Well a couple years ago Google came up with 100 million dollars to develop original content for Youtube and two of the first guys they went to were noted directors/producers Jon Avnet and Rodrigo Garcia. They created the most watched channel on Youtube called WIGS. A channel dedicated to short films/webisodes that empowered women, strong female roles and characters. I was booked as an actor in one called “Jennifer” directed by my pal, noted actor/director Mykelti Williamson (Baby-O from Con Air). At the time, it was brought to WIGS attention that I was a writer as well as actor and I was asked to write something on spec- and so I wrote Diamond. But Diamond was too hard core and controversial for them, so they passed on it.

Jennifer with Mykelti Williamson as Director

Jennifer with Mykelti Williamson as Director

It sat around and a couple years later- last year I ran into the beautiful, talented Tessa Farrell at a networking event and talked about writing and filmmaking, and the idea popped into my head?

Whoa! This babe is hot and up and coming and would make a great Diamond.

I pitched it, she read it…..and the rest is history.

Ty as convict Theo in Jennifer

Ty as convict Theo in Jennifer

11. Can you tell us a little about Diamond?

Well, I am not going to tell you too much about it. But I will say per my style of writing and filmmaking which is based on my influences such as Stanley Kubrick, David Lynch, and Polanski….it is dark, edgy, violent, crazy, and socio-politically pertinent and has a lot of surprises.  It is multi-themed feminism, hypocrisy, betrayal.

Diamond1 copy

Photo & Poster by Jonas Mohr – Real Deal Studio

12. Did you do the casting for Diamond?

Yes, I did all the casting of Diamond with mostly all my friends. I have a huge network base of talent, with the exception of Little Diamond? Tessa and I had to post a notice and look at kid actresses that were around 6 years old, and we found the amazing little Danica Metzger.

Vanished

Ty on the set of “Diamond”

13. Diamond is an action movie with a strong female leading character and stars some of the actors I know including Andrey Ivchenko.  Now your movie is in post production.  How’s it coming?

It’s coming along. Slow but sure. And by the way, most of all the characters are strong female leads. It is a female piece. But you are wrong…it is not an action movie. It is a Socio-Political thriller with action elements, designed to make a social and political statement without being too preachy, but more entertaining, yet provoking. I think the piece is very poignant to the upcoming Presidential election year 2016 per its theme, etc.  As a film style though, Diamond is a lot of things. I am attempting to recreate genres and find my own voice as an actor who writes who is learning to produce, direct and make films. Reinvent the game. Create. Throwback shit. And not like Quinton Tarantino throwback.  People that read my scripts sometimes are so quick to comment “This is very Tarantino!” no it’s not. I am not trying to sample old movies, but be influenced by the history of cinema styles to rediscover. All due respect, Tarantino is like the P-Diddy of filmmakers, he samples and mixes everything from 50’s to 70’s from Spaghetti Westerns to Blaxploitative films to classic Asian cinema and that is okay. Look at what he has accomplished. Not easy to establish a filmmaking career on that level and create sense of legend while one breathes and works and continues to create as he is and does. And bravo to how he has made careers in my opinion such as Samuel L. Jackson, and reignited some careers.

That is Hollywood God-like power. Bottom-line– Tarantino makes filmmaking look easy. He is the man. This shit is hard, all the way around hard. I am a better actor and screenwriter than filmmaker currently. As an actor who is a screenwriter, I am blessed to have had the mentorship of a couple great screenwriters such as Jim Uhls (who wrote “Fight Club”) from a Writers Workshop back in the day…and a couple others. I am learning the filmmaker thing on my own from having been on the set as an actor over the past 27 years or so.

As for Diamond it is just a high end Short film that I did for 20 grand, and needed 30 grand. I will not only submit it to festivals, but also intend to use as a spec for the feature version I am writing to raise a significant budget, and possibly may continue to co-write it with the lead of Diamond, Tessa Farrell who is becoming quite the writer herself.  We are in discussions. But although a Short, for every day of the 4 day shoot I should have had 2 days….8 days instead of 4.  It was very ambitious, story of my life, but to answer how am I doing with Diamond? Well, we finally have the cut. But we had a lot of problems getting the cut done because the shoot itself had major issues. My Editor did not have much to work with. Making Diamond was one of the most horrific filmmaking experiences of my life. I fired my AD the day before we began shooting. On day one I discovered my seasoned, OG union DP was never on the same page. He never did his homework and approached Diamond as if it was some little simple ass Short film and discovered on day one….he had his hands full. It was a BIG little film.  He got me 5 hours behind and then quit on the production and his pals being the whole Grip Truck and crew and the Lighting Package quit with him. I looked around at my crew which was made of mostly young up and comers who were not getting paid, my Focus Puller became my Camera Operator and my Camera Operator became my DP….and he had Lights in the trunk of his car and the remaining 3 days became 20 hour days and my young crew had walked thru the fire with me. I was co-starring in, and producing, directing a project that I had written and thank God I wrote it hence I knew the bare essentials of what was needed, because there was no time to ponder a Shot List and I had to think on my feet and improvise shots. My Shot List became toilet paper and everything had been pushed into disarray. I had to AD my own film as well. Then I found out my main producer was undermining me. And the worse was to come when starting the Post/Edit process, footage was lost, and a lot of the footage had focus/soft issues in every take, not enough coverage, and serious sound issues. But I was determined to not let my young crew down and all of their hard work, and all my friends and family that contributed to the Diamond Indiegogo campaign who believe in my dreams to this day, not to let them down. The good news is we got the cut.

Diamond Post Production with Editor Jesse

Diamond Post Production with Editor Jesse

I am happy with it thanks to my Editor Jesse “James” Kelly who put up with my maniacal raves, and thanks to one of the top Editors in the game, my friend Michael Stern who was nominated for an Emmy for his work on Netflix’s “Orange is the New Black”. Michael consulted with us on the final cut.  Yes, it could have been worse, but God was on my side. Now it is about correcting the sound and color, scoring it, visual effects, etc. And I am confident it will rock because I have a dope post team; my Sound Designer Anthony Canchola,  my Digital Colorist Greg White, my international composer from Holland,  Joshua Dutrieux, who is not only scoring the film, but also designing the Titles and doing the  Visual Effects with the support of his partner out of Holland, Lars Gorter (Momental). Joshua is simply a genius and has increased his stakes by coming aboard also as a Co-Producer on Diamond.

Diamond Post Production Color Correction with Greg White

Diamond Post Production Color Correction with Greg White

14. I know that you worked with Dan Frenkel, SOC (Camera) on this movie.  Tell us about working together with Dan.

Well, Dan Frenkel, SOC was the veteran Camera Operator who had the Lights in the trunk of his car who stepped up as DP for me and the production and saved my ass. Dan and his company had already provided a great deal via his company. He brought everything to the table basically. There would be no Diamond without Dan Frenkel. He brought his entire state of the art cache which included his Black Magic Ursa with which we shot Diamond in 4k. Dan rocked the game for me and hung in there for 20 hour days and kept assuring me “We gonna get this brother.  Don’t worry. I got ‘cha” and he had my back. Another couple of OG Souljahs who had my back were veterans Victor J. Pancerev , SOC. Victor built a state of the art Jib/Crane and volunteered his time and his Jib/Crane to my vision at no cost.  And then in Pre-Production the great indie Producer Ed Polgardy consulted as a UPM and guided me the whole way. Souljahs that want to see Diamond and my vision rise. All love.

Ty on the set of Diamond

Ty on the set of Diamond

15. I really like Andrey Ivchenko as a person.  He is a humble guy and a great actor like you and I am excited to see him in Diamond! Tell me about his role in “Diamond”.

Andrey Ivchenko is the man!!! , One hell of an international actor.  My nick name for him is “Dre Dredd” like Judge Dredd because he wants to get rid of all the idiots on the streets of Hollywood (laughing). Andrey is my brother. I love him. He is a good man and one of my cigar pals. As for his role in Diamond, all I will say is he has a presence of course; his character’s name is Diablo Crane and will be expanded in the feature film version.

Behind the Scenes of Diamond

Behind the Scenes of Diamond

16. Do you think this will be one of your favorite movies?

That would be arrogant of me. I am simply attempting to evolve as an actor and learn how to become an awesome filmmaker at this late point in the game.  Be proactive and not depend on my industry to appreciate me and my peers but appreciate ourselves…and create opportunities for ourselves, yet remain hired guns.  It is about creating and working and not about all the Hollywood bullshit…agents and auditions.  Hard to tell when an actor is really being seriously considered for a role as opposed to staying up all night learning material and driving across town the next day and all you get is a “Thank you for coming in” when they know offers for the role have been given out to some big star or nephew the whole time. My agent and managers know not to call me about an audition unless they positively know that casting and producers are absolutely seriously considering Ty Granderson Jones. Then I will give you everything I got – my all.  So for me, it is not about creating what I will think will be one of my favorite movies. It is a deeper phenomenon than that for me.

The bottom line of Diamond is to create opportunity for my main project that I have been developing via my producing partners out of Germany- Henning Heup, Alexander Isadi and Jonas Mohr.  I have been developing the project for over 10 years budgeted at around 5 to 6 million and titled “The Cool & Creepy”– an underground gangster movie with a political consciousness.  The story takes place where I grew up in the mean streets of Tampa, Florida. I wrote and developed the script in the Sundance Feature Film Program back in the day. It just takes so long to get a film financed and made in this game. I mean look at “Straight Outta Compton”.  It took over 10 years for Ice Cube and Dr. Dre to get it made and they got money, real BIG fame and juice. Warner Brothers did not believe in the film, sold it in turnaround to Universal Pictures.  Then Universal did not believe. Dr. Dre and Ice Cube waived their fees and put up their own money…and now look! The number #1 movie 3 weeks in a row with over a 100 million at the box office, bravo!!  About 5 years ago, I was half way to getting “The Cool & Creepy” made and then the bottom fell out.  Sometimes you just have to divert and move on to other ideas and projects such as Diamond to attract what you need.

17. How and when can we see “Diamond”?

Not sure at this point. Stay tuned.  My focus is to get it to the finish line.

Behind the Scenes with Diamond 4 - Ty as writer, producer and director.

Behind the Scenes with Diamond – Ty as writer, producer and director.

18. Is there anything that we can do to help with your “Diamond”  and “The Cool & Creepy” projects?

Just stand by and once the Diamond PR campaign begins on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram…support the Diamond hype. Help us get it in top festivals by connecting us to anyone known to be on the top festivals of the world’s boards and committees.  The film is good – we shall see soon (laughing). We have a great PR constituency aboard via one of the Producers of DiamondJason Edmonds who manages singer Macy Gray. He is a cousin to noted R&B Icon Babyface Edmonds…and very connected. We have the whole package. The film just has to deliver. He is behind Diamond 100%.  I know this- Tessa Farrell is rockin’ the role of Diamond. She is Diamond. As for my other project “The Cool & Creepy”, know any financiers interested in a smart gangster throwback with “True Romance” meets “Point Blank”  meets “Blue Velvet” flavor?…get at me (laughing).

The Cool & Creepy Poster- Front- One Sheet

19. From what performances and films do you have the most recognition? And do you have any message for your fans?

Well there are two big films that are my book ends to this date where I have a fan base all over the world as you know…of course my role of Blade in “Con Air” with John Malkovich and Nicolas Cage, and my iconic role of 40 Dog in the Hip Hop Cult Classic “CB4” with Charlie Murphy and Chris Rock. That’s the big one. Especially now since “Straight Outta Compton” is a big movie at the box office and number #1 at the box office 3 weeks in a row over 140 million. Most know that “CB4” was a spoof of N.W.A.’s story right down to the parody of “Straight Outta Locash”. Easy-E even did a cameo in “CB4”.

Both “CB4” and “Straight Outta Compton” are from Universal Pictures. And let’s not forget all the fans that appreciate the plays I have done over the years from Off-Off Broadway to the Tony Award winning South Coast Repertory Theatre. And yes of course I wanna shout out to my fans! I am always grateful for anyone who adulates my work. Thanks for your love and support. It keeps me going. My fans next to God are my engine. My work – feast or famine is not in vain. The industry may not appreciate my work on the level I desire, but the people do. It means something to me. My love to you all, you inspire this OG to want to be great still, to continue to evolve and never give up and continue living the dream to the end…and even then.

CB4 Still Shot from a scene cut out of the film - with Charlie Murphy as Gusto and Ty as the iconic 40 Dog

CB4 Still Shot from a scene cut out of the film – with Charlie Murphy as Gusto and Ty as the iconic 40 Dog

20. What is success all about for you?

Success for me is subjective. Everyone is relatively successful. My quest for success is about empowering me to be able to provide opportunities for the unsung that deserves to be sung about. Pull them along on my shoulders. Success is about being “My Brother’s Keeper”.

21. Do you have a message for your fans and all the readers here, I am sure they would love a message from you.

I am humbled by your love of my work and my person. It is a blessing and never taken for granted.

22. What are your favorite quotes?

**“The only Zen you find on the tops of mountains is the Zen you bring up there”

~ Robert M. Pirsig

**”Ever tried? Ever failed? No matter, try again, fail again. Fail better.”

~Samuel Beckett

23. Thank you very much for your cooperation Ty!  I hope this film will come to Japan. Please make it happen! 

Make it happen via your connections and media Ninja Girl!!!!!

Ty Granderson Jones’ Demo 2015 from Ty Granderson Jones on Vimeo.

Seed (1998) – Experimental Film – Scene with Ty Granderson Jones & Eddie Ross Pagliaro – Sundance Project (Warning- Explicit) from Ty Granderson Jones on Vimeo.

Tapped Out (2003) – Urban Indie Classic – Clip 1 – Starring Ty Granderson Jones from Ty Granderson Jones on Vimeo.

edited by Anthony Heller

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