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Staying Humble With Cory Hardrict

With a career spanning more than two decades, it’s no accident that Cory Hardrict is on your television screen. He’s all about his hustle. The “American Sniper” actor is set to star in a number of films over the next two years, and doesn’t plan on slowing down anytime soon. He stopped by JET to talk about his upcoming film, “Brotherly Love,” and how patience, honor and consistency always wins.

JET: How are you feeling today?

Cory Hardrict: Way up. I feel blessed.

JET: Good! I know you’ve been pretty busy touring for your new film Brotherly Love. How’s that going?

Cory Hardrict: It’s been crazy! All of the cities have been responding to the movie calling it a classic…you know like a mixture of Boyz in the Hood, Menace II Society, Juice…Cooley High, Love & Basketball. They are putting it in some categories of films that people love and have grown up with, so it’s great to be in good company.

JET: You know I watched the trailer and it really does give me that urban love story. One of a man who is attempting to protect his family, but who is also caught up in the streets.

Cory Hardrict: Yeah and that’s my role. I play the father figure role to my younger siblings: my younger sister played by Keke Palmer, my younger brother played by Eric Hill and my mom played by Macy Gray. My mom is so ill so I gotta help provide to buy medicine for her and also I got to be there for my younger sister who is an aspiring musician for her future dreams and goals. So I’m there to make sure everybody’s in line and I go out there and do whatever I gotta do to put food on the table.

JET: I saw an interview from awhile ago when you were promoting “American Sniper.” You were talking about how you and your wife, Tia Mowry, met and I thought to myself, “This seems like one humble brother.” How do you work to not let fame go to your head? How do you remain YOU while in the midst of all of the lights, cameras and action?

Cory Hardrict: Wow…from my upbringing. My mom raised me really well. I come from a great family, a great foundation. You know and even though I’m in L.A. now and I’m acting, I feel like that’s my job, but you know it’s not who I am. The whole celebrity thing…we don’t play into that, we’re just really simple people and my wife’s very simple and she’s humble.

JET: Acting is a profession that you have to love to do to be successful in. How do you remain resilient in a field where it’s easy to get discouraged?

Cory Hardrict: Yeah. I put my attention where it should be and that’s the work. I always focus on getting better. I’ve been doing this for 20 years and staying consistent. You can’t worry about the results. You just have to worry about doing great work and let the other stuff happen. You keep good people around you who gonna tell you the truth at all times. I don’t need a group of people telling me, “You’re great.” When you start buying into all of that thinking, you get ahead of yourself a little bit out here. So stay focused on the work, and what got you to this point. Keeping faith and that’s it.

JET: Keeping faith. You’re a spiritual man.

Cory Hardrict: Yeah! I talk to God. I got on my knees on the ride here. I have conversations with Him. You can find God everywhere and talk to Him everywhere. He’s always with me no matter where I’m at.

JET: What was the most challenging aspect of your career?

Cory Hardrict: It’s always a struggle when you’re African-American. I’m gonna be honest with you because sometimes those roles are not there for us and then when they are there, it’s only one role and you got like 1,000 people going for that role and they’re trying to find the most popular rapper [or] most popular musician. It’s like they don’t care about the artists sometimes. It’s like, ‘How can we put people in the seats first?’ and then you mess up.You can’t cast a movie based on someone’s popularity. You gotta cast on the great person and you know we don’t have that luxury all the time like other races. It’s more opportunities [for them]. But we’re resilient people. We work hard. We don’t quit.

JET: Do you see that changing in the future?

Cory Hardrict: I hope it changes because it’s a lot of talented people out here who need the opportunity to showcase what they can do to the world. We are more than just “urban.” We’re worldwide.

JET: You and Tia have a beautiful baby boy. What life lessons do you hope to pass down to your son?

Cory Hardrict: Respect everybody. You know, don’t take anybody for granted. He has two parents that are in the business, but we’re still trying to teach him that life is not easy. We’re not just going to lay it all out for [him]. [He’s] still going to have to work for it. It’s funny because he said to me, “I want to be an actor.” It almost made me cry. He’s not even four yet.

JET: That’s cute. What would you tell him about the business? Say when he gets older and decides he wants to act?

Cory Hardrict: You gonna have to work son. No one’s gonna give you anything in this business. What I realized was that everything that comes easy is not worth having. And I worked so hard to be where I am today. And I’m still working and still struggling in some ways, and I still get told “no.”

JET: What else you got going on?

Cory Hardrict: I did a movie called Spectral. It comes out next summer where I’m saving Europe you know fighting ghost. I’m shooting a movie now called November Criminals with Chloë Moretz. Destined comes out this fall, Car Dogs comes out this summer with Octavia Spencer….so I got a bunch of films coming out. But go see Brotherly Love on April 24. It’s some future stars in that film.

Want more Cory? Check out JET’s “5 Things You Didn’t Know” interview with the star.