To Single Ladies fans, Anthony Montgomery is a hated man. The actor plays the cold and calculating Darryl Jenkins, soon-to-be ex of April, a certified “nice guy” right up until he found out about April’s cheating ways. But the real Anthony Montgomery is nothing like Darryl, as I learned when we chatted the other day. Instead, he is chatty and playful and surprisingly funny. Another big surprise? The man has a rap career. Check out the video for his single, “Stimulation,” above, which will be featured on Monday’s episode of Single Ladies, and follow him on Twitter (@AMontgomery5) to stay informed about what he’s up to. (His goal is to hit one million followers, so let’s make this happen!)
For our full interview with the man everyone loves to hate, read on.
It’s so crazy to talk to you and not hear this mean, cold voice on the other end of the line!
[Laughs] Okay, look. Liz. Look. Darryl is a bit hurt. That’s all I can say. He is hurt. And instead of sitting there crying in a corner, he’s acting out.
Darryl just seems like such a stretch for you, you are nothing like him at all.
I am not! We all have aspects of him somewhere in us, but I make every realistic effort to not be that guy. It’s also because of the roles that I’ve played in my career, I’m always the nice guy, I’m always Darryl from the pilot, and every role I’ve played in Hollywood in the fifteen years I’ve been out here, I’ve always been the nice guy, the best friend, the “Why can’t every guy be like you?” guy, so for me, getting to play a role like this where I get to show a different tier to my acting abilities, it’s a thrill for me. I’ve got a throng of women across the country who love to hate me right now, it’s pretty funny. “Why are you being so mean to her?” And I’m like, she cheated with the Mayor! What are you talking about? Is everyone forgetting that?
And my problem with the situation is that the poor Mayor, no one ever calls him by his name, he’s just “The Mayor.”
He’s the Player Mayor! I don’t know when Darryl’s coming back around, but I said it would be a lot of fun if Darryl was to meet the mayor, that would be interesting if we get Common to come back. I mean, they touched on the fallout with the Mayor’s wife approaching April at Val’s shop, because you know, you never hear from the wife that’s being cheated on and confronting the mistresses, you don’t really see that, so I thought that was a very gutsy and exciting way for them to portray that, and you also never get to see a scorned husband meet the person that was the catalyst for the infidelity. Darryl had it in for April, but what about him seeing the Mayor? I’m just thinking of possible situations, because congratulations to Single Ladies, we got a second season.
My concern for you going into a season two is that because your relationship is broken and you’ve become so evil, will we ever see you have another love interest or love scene again?
That’s a good question! You know, I guess the only way that I can really look at that is…when I was on Star Trek: Enterprise, a show like that means there were characters that were dead and because of some wormhole in space or some time portal, or a person is magically alive six months after we saw them dead. So it’s like, hey, it’s television. The writers can write a really cool way if they want Darryl to stay together, because obviously this is about the ladies, but if they want that to continue being Darryl’s story line, then they can write it that Darryl eventually apologizes, but I don’t think he owes that much of an apology because look, you cheated on me!
You could always come back as Darryl’s long-lost really nice twin.
[Laughs] Like Darryl said, war changes a man, I think they could find a balance for Darryl and April. The audience is already invested enough in their relationship and I think a lot of the fans actually want to see Darryl and April stay together. I mean, the best way to keep Darryl and April together is for the fans to tell VH1 what they want. Write them, blog to them, let them know you love that storyline.
When you did the Single Ladies movie, did you expect your character to change so drastically?
No, I did not realize Darryl would make a turn like that, but one thing that I was very conscious of is that I’m speaking not just for Darryl, but they gave me the voice to speak for a nation of men that are good men that have been wronged and they never say anything. I know that’s a lot to put on a character, and I take what it is I do as passionately and seriously as breathing, so I look at all the different aspects and Darryl isn’t just talking for him. So when [show creator] Stacy A. Littlejohn and I had our first conversation about Darryl in the audition, I said there’s nothing like this script on television, but all that I ask is even if I don’t get the part of Darryl, as a nice guy myself, when you have Darryl discover the infidelity, please don’t allow April to treat him as a doormat and have him in a corner crying “How could you do this to us?” because that’s not how we want to be seen. None of those guys who go through that, just because they don’t act out like Darryl is, those guys aren’t weak. And when I saw the direction Darryl was going, I had no idea he’d turn into such a jerk but you know, this is probably more accurately describing what a lot of men really feel. Some of the lines I’ve been given have been really fun to play.
There are some moments where I’m like, wow, what he just said, that hurts ME.
See? Now okay, because Darryl was such a nice guy in the pilot and April is one of our heroes, we have to have the audience love her. And he didn’t do anything, he wasn’t cheating on her, he wasn’t abusive, he did nothing to warrant her stepping out on him, so if they hadn’t made Darryl so drastically a…butt hole, I don’t think the audience would have felt as much for April. It’s like you said, I get that from a lot of women, some of the stuff you say to her and you’re doing hurts me! And I’m like, okay see, you guys are feeling for April. If they hadn’t made me such a jerk, I don’t know where the empathy would have come for April.
So in this upcoming episode your own music is being featured, how excited are you?
You know I’m beside myself, this whole thing that came around has been a blessing from God that I was not expecting.
And how did it come about?
My cousin, Darryl Treez Turner is a music producer, he sent me a beat because he knew I executive produced for my own album back in 2008 and I released and album internationally, I have a German record label that got behind me and he sent me the beat and said let me know if you’re feeling this and if so let’s see what we can do with it. I said yeah, and while we were doing that, once the show got picked up, it was a work in progress, so I took it to Atlanta and planned to work on in my down time. Tick [Salcido], who’s the music supervisor on the show, heard the song and he is a fan of mine from Enterprise, and when I met him, he was telling me he’s followed my career for years and was so great and supportive, and when he heard the song, he was completely blown away because you don’t look at me and think “rap artist.”
What do you think the fan reaction will be seeing buttoned-up Darryl rapping?
I think it’s going to shock the heck out of them 100%. It’s a club banger! It’s a sexy song but every woman who’s seen it loves it and it’s a catchy song and they get excited for the video because it shows a lot of different sides of me. You see me smiling in the video, and most rappers other than Will Smith don’t smile. It’s also got a sexy side, and edgy side, a lot of different variations of me in this three minute video. And Tick, our music supervisor, had the track for about a month and was like “We finally found a place for the song in episode nine!” I think at the end of the day, the VH1 audience, whether they know me or not, they love good music, so whether or not they make the connection that it’s me, the fact that its on the show I think people are going to love it.
I’ve spoken to Travis Winfrey as well and you both have the music thing going, in addition to acting on the show. Have you guys compared notes on your careers?
Travis was actually in a boy band earlier in his career, and he knows a heck of a lot about the music industry, so much so that we were talking about going into the studio to do a collaboration. I’m already about to go into the studio probably next week, to get started on my second single and figure out what Travis will do but I want him to help me on that, whether he’ll sing on it or help me arrange my lyrics, we’re not sure yet, but he’s so knowledgeable. And I also just found out that D.B. Woodside plays guitar.
Will you please start your own Single Ladies boy band?
No! No boy band. We’re too old. We’ll form a man-band.