Actor Goes "Full Frontal"

The Early Show: Blair Underwood
CBS/The Early Show
Imagine a movie where every character collides physically or emotionally with everyone else. That's exactly what happens in the film-within-a-film-within-a-film "Full Frontal."

Television and movie actor Blair Underwood is one of the stars who had to navigate through the complexities of this deliberately low-budget new movie from Oscar winning director Steven Soderbergh.

This is a different sort of movie, one that might surprise moviegoers accustomed to the types of films that usually feature Julia Roberts, said Underwood on a visit to The Early Show.

In the movie, Underwood co-stars with Roberts as the leading man and plays a dual role of sorts — a Hollywood actor who is starring in a movie with Robert's character.

Underwood says working on "Full Frontal," was a joy. However, Soberbergh set out some unusual guidelines for actors who signed on for the $2 million movie.

The performers had to drive themselves to work, they had to maintain their own hair and makeup and actors had to provide and preserve their own wardrobe.

They were not provided with trailers, and they were encouraged to improvise. Actors also had to be interviewed about their character and other characters that would end up in the film. Underwood adds that the last instruction from the director was to have fun.

Underwood, 37, has built a career from independent features like the upcoming "G" (he's the title character, a hip-hop mogul, in a retelling of "The Great Gatsby") to big-time TV projects like the Steven Bochco medical drama "City of Angels." That CBS show was among the highest-rated shows in black households but overall ratings were only fair. It was canceled after two seasons.

He hopes his film career develops into something like what Denzel Washington has achieved, in that he would be offered characters that were originally written for white actors.

Some may wonder if the "Full Frontal" movie title is literal. Underwood says viewers will have to find that out on their own.

FAST FACTS ABOUT BLAIR UNDERWOOD

  • Blair Underwood was born in Tacoma, Wash. on August 25, 1964.
  • He attended Carnegie-Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pa. and majored in theater.
  • In 1985, Blair made his feature film debut in "Krush Groove."
  • Blair had regular role on "One Life to Live" in 1986.
  • From 1987-1993, Blair was cast as lawyer Jonathan Rollins on the NBC series "L.A. Law."
  • Returned to TV series work as co-star of the CBS medical drama "City ofAngels" in 2000.
  • He received the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture for "Rules of Engagement" and Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series for"City of Angels" in 2001.

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