The Meet & Greet: Is Collins Pennie Hollywood's 'Hunk of All Trades'?
Welcome back to Celebuzz’s Meet & Greet, where we talk with rising actors, musicians and entertainers before they hit it big. Watch out for these future A-listers!
Don't be surprised if you recognize Collins Pennie's mug. The handsome hunk has starred in hospital drama Hawthorne with Jada Pinkett-Smith, danced circles around Beyonce in the 'Run the World (Girls)' video, and modeled for top designer Calvin Klein. Now, Collins is hunting down Justin Timberlake in the new sci-fi thriller, In Time.
The multi-talented star recently sat down with Celebuzz to chat about his career--which consists of basically everything but the kitchen sink!
Your latest film, In Time, just debuted footage at ComicCon. Tell us a little bit about that project and the character you play in the movie.
Basically, the aging gene has been switched off by age 25 and time has become the new currency. Will Salas, played by Justin Timberlake, has acquired some time. I play Timekeeper Jaeger who works under Timekeeper Leon (Cillian Murphy) and we are on the run chasing Justin Timberlake for this time he’s acquired, and we don’t know how he acquired it. It’s pretty cool because it’s the first film that I’ve done where I get to do a little bit of action and get to hold a gun! It was pretty fun and everybody on set was absolutely incredible! It was an incredible experience.
Before In Time, you were in numerous dance films like Stomp the Yard 2 and Fame. How did you prepare for these physically demanding roles?
We had two or three weeks of rehearsal—eight hours a day going over routines and going over them over and over again. I’m an actor but even though I used to dance a while ago earlier in my career, I give kudos to the dancers out there in the world because they work really REALLY hard. They have an amazing amount of stamina. I was ready to fall down every five minutes!
You started out as a dancer before becoming an actor. What drew you to acting?
I’ve always had a passion for performing and entertainment. Even now, I still take dance classes because I love it. I love to dance. I did initially start my career dancing—I went to Broadway Dance Center and I went to a few auditions and did a couple of music videos. Acting just kind of took off!
Speaking of which, you also performed in Rent at the Hollywood Bowl with Neil Patrick Harris and Wayne Brady. What was that experience like?
Wow! It was incredible! I have never ever, ever done musical theater. When I got the call that they were interested in me doing Rent, I couldn’t turn it down because Rent is such an iconic play and has such a cult following. I knew it would be a challenge and I had to step it up and I wanted to experience it. It was a lot of fun working with Wayne Brady, Nicole Scherzinger, Vanessa Hudgens and Neil Patrick Harris. We didn’t have a lot of time to rehearse so we were really under the knife but it was one of the best experiences I've ever had in my life! I would love to do more of musical theater in the future.
You can kind of say you’re a ‘jack of all trades’—appearing in films, TV, music videos and such. What is your favorite medium to work with?
Oh, it’s so tough to choose one! I love it all! I’m an artist so I like to express myself creatively in a lot of different mediums at different times depending how I feel. I can’t pick one! I love it all!
I hear you’ve modeled for Calvin Klein too!
I did! Earlier in my career, I got signed to Ford Model Management and I went on a casting. I was in the ck One fragrance campaign. It was an incredible experience! So many icons in the past have done that campaign so to be a part of that, to be among that list of people, was just an incredible honor.
Hollywood hunks like Mark Wahlberg have all modeled for Calvin Klein. How do you feel about being an official sex symbol for people out there?
[Laughs] I don’t really look at myself as a sex symbol but if they want to put me in that category, I’ll take it! I’ll definitely take that!
Since you’ve basically done it all, what advice do you have for aspiring actors/dancers/models out there?
Continue to focus on your craft. Continue to study your skill. You should never stop learning—continue to read or take classes and expand your knowledge in every way, but specifically your particular field. That’s the best advice I can give—just continue to get better.
Check out Collins in the In Time trailer below, and the film out in theaters on October 28! You can also follow Collins on Twitter!