Tyler Lepley Delivers a Knock Out in ‘Ringside’
Actor Tyler Lepley is no stranger to playing roles that face adversity; from his character Benny in Tyler Perry’s hit show, The Haves and The Have Nots to his latest project as the lead character in the TVOne film Ringside. Lepley was able to tap into his boxing and personal training roots to bring the story of undefeated boxer Jaxon Hollie to life.
“Ringside is about a boxer, but it’s not a boxing movie, per se. We all face battles at different points in life and that’s what Ringside is about; the battles we have to face even when we don’t feel like fighting,” said writer and director Russ Parr.
JET caught up with Tyler Lepley to discuss how he prepared Ringside as well as some tips for healthy living.
JET: How would you describe your character Jaxon Holley in Ringside?
Tyler Lepley: Jaxon’s story is very deep; it’s very multi-faceted. He’s a dynamic complex character that has a lot of things to deal with at once. On one side he is a provider; which is a role he was thrust into. He has a sister that is bothersome, his brother is draining him dry with money, and his manager has a gambling problem. Jaxon has to balance all of that and get his mind right, to not only go into the ring for the championship title, but to also not waste this prime opportunity. In reality, he’s a hardworking, highly educated man and that’s what drew me to this character.
JET: How did you use your boxing background to help prepare you for this role?
Lepley: For me, it was just about going back to the basics. At one point I was really going to do the boxing thing for real. I think the biggest thing was to tie it back into the type of training I was doing at that time. Also, I had to eat the right way. Taking care of my body, mind, and spirit is part of my everyday thing anyway. I think the only thing that really changed was turning it all the way up. I’m a firm believer that most of the changes have to start in the kitchen in terms of what you are putting in your body.
JET: What do you hope viewers take away from this film?
Lepley: I hope they see just what it takes to succeed with any opportunity given to you of a big magnitude. If you have a big opportunity then it doesn’t behoove you to spread yourself thin. When you have a potentially life-altering opportunity in front of you, it takes really keen focus and diligence to succeed in those situations. Sometimes you really need to focus on the task at hand.
JET: Did you take any lessons from working with Tyler Perry on The Haves and The Have Nots to working on Ringside with Russ Parr?
Lepley: Absolutely, when we work over at Tyler Perry Studios, we work hard, long, and fast. We shoot at a fast pace, so with me coming up in that style, it’s a plus because going to any other set, it’s easier to adapt. We are used to shooting anywhere from 75 to 90 pages a day at TPS, so that regiment really gets you ready to shoot the standard 12 pages a day for a film. What I learned from Mr. Perry is the right work ethic to bring to any job. There are a lot of similarities between Mr. Parr and Mr. Perry in the sense that they are both collaborators. That is a good thing for creative types since it allows you to have a space to create. It’s a treat as an actor being able to have that with both of them.
JET: Who are your favorite boxers?
Lepley: I have to say Sugar Ray Robinson, you know he was the first to roll around in a pink Cadillac. He was flashy before Floyd Mayweather. Back then everything was black and white so you couldn’t even tell his Cadillac was pink (laughs). He was my style of boxer. My favorite boxer of all time is Muhammad Ali because he was the greatest. After that Iron Mike Tyson, I like the bravado he walks around with and I get a lot of inspiration from Floyd Mayweather as well.
JET: You were also a personal trainer at one point, so can you give three healthy tips to help some kick-start their fitness journey or maintain it?
Lepley: Drink enough water, get enough sleep, and get motivated. We only get one shot at this thing, and before you know it, it’s going to be over. So, to be here a long time, you have to get motivated to get healthy and get started.
Ringside airs on TVOne on Sunday September 4 at 7/8c.