On the finish of final season’s “Insecure,” many viewers puzzled if Issa Dee, the character performed by collection creator Issa Rae, had misplaced her thoughts after dishonest on her long-suffering boyfriend Lawrence (Jay Ellis) — who then walked out on her.
“She didn’t know what she had,” says Ellis, sipping a gin cocktail at a downtown LA restaurant.
Carrying a baseball cap with the identify of the present’s seedy condominium advanced — The Dunes — sewn on the entrance, Ellis, 35, speaks candidly concerning the sexual politics that permeate the HBO comedy, now in its second season. We see Issa swiping away her loneliness on Tinder whereas Lawrence lets complete strangers decide him up on the grocery store.
Is the courting scene in LA actually that stark?
“It’s powerful, man,” Ellis says. “The tradition of LA is greater, higher, quicker. There’s all the time somebody new across the nook.”
Apart from its brazen portrayal of the conflict between the sexes, “Insecure” has flipped Hollywood’s stereotypical (and tedious) objectification of girls by having the boys do many of the undressing.
When he signed on to do the present, Ellis knew there can be some nudity concerned, however admits “there are days the place I’m like, ‘Actually? Once more?’ On the similar time, I get it. Issa’s achieved one thing actually cool with not gratuitously having ladies strolling round buck-naked only for the sake of strolling round buck bare.”
To that finish, Ellis, beneath the pretext that “Lawrence is coaching for a marathon this season,” has been working “three, 4 miles each different day.” He has shed “12 kilos, 13 kilos” within the course of. “I look very totally different on digicam due to that,” he says.
Previous to “Insecure,” Ellis starred on BET’s “The Recreation” as Bryce Westbrook, the broad receiver draft decide from Stanford College, a personality he describes as “tremendous smug.” Mockingly, Ellis says extra guys come as much as speak to him about Lawrence than the profitable jock. Lawrence could also be combating off ladies, however Ellis says Lawrence is “misplaced” and can’t clarify his personal habits. In a single controversial second developing, Tasha (Dominique Perry), a financial institution teller he’s courting on the rebound, cuts him useless when he abandons her at her household’s picnic for a extra tempting supply. Her insult of selection — the N phrase preceded by an F bomb — is so surprising it stops the present.
Do ladies actually name males that?
“It’s a time period that the women use proper now,” Ellis says sheepishly. “Guys who take no accountability in courting. They don’t plan on speaking to [the women] after hooking up with them.”
Fortuitously for Ellis, his personal life is much more secure. Born on Shaw Air Power base close to Fort Sumpter, SC, he’s an solely little one who was all the time on the transfer. “I used to be in 12 colleges in 13 years,” he says. And he stays very near his mother and father, who adopted him to LA after his father, Wendell, retired.
“They stay 4 miles away from me. I see them most likely far too typically,” he says. “So we attempt to do dinner as soon as per week, as soon as each two weeks. My dad and I am going fishing out on the San Pedro pier. After we lived in Texas, we used to go deep-sea fishing down within the Gulf.”
Providing additional proof he’s not Lawrence, Ellis describes himself as being in “a really completely happy, loving relationship,” though he received’t say with whom. Possibly it’s his personal settled life that permits him to carry out a glimmer of hope for Issa and Lawrence.
“I believe they nonetheless care about one another,” he says. “They want to determine in the event that they’re purported to be with one another or not. They’re within the midst of attempting to determine it out.”
“Insecure” 10:30 p.m. Sunday on HBO