Nelsan Ellis Talks GET ON UP, Learning About Bobby Byrd, Doing Some Serious Sweating Alongside Chadwick Boseman, the End of TRUE BLOOD and More

     August 1, 2014


Whether you’re into True Blood or not, it’s about time that show comes to an end; Nelsan Ellis needs more time for movies now!  He stars in Get On Up as Bobby Byrd, James Brown’s (Chadwick Boseman) best friend, collaborator and steadfast supporter.  Back when they were just kids, Bobby convinced his family to take James in after he got out of prison and, ever since, even when things got especially tough, Bobby stood by his side no matter what.

With Get On Up due in theaters on Friday, August 1st, Ellis took the time to sit down and discuss how he went in to audition for the role of James Brown and came out playing Bobby Byrd, what made this film especially challenging, what he thinks about Bobby’s choice to stick with James despite his poor attitude, how he feels about the end of True Blood and more.  Hit the jump for the full video interview.

get-on-up-nelsan-ellisNelsan Ellis:

  • 00:00 – On originally auditioning for the role of James Brown.
  • 00:50 – Jumping into research, singing, piano and dance training all at once.
  • 01:39 – Prepping for the movie alongside Boseman.
  • 02:02 – On knowing nothing about Bobby Byrd prior to the film.
  • 03:07 – Has he had contact with Byrd’s family?
  • 03:40 – Bobby Byrd as James Brown’s anchor and the film’s anchor as well.
  • 04:25 – Ellis’ thoughts on Bobby’s decision to stand by James despite his behavior.
  • 06:11 – The lack of information available on Bobby Byrd.
  • 08:55 – On doing the concert scenes, and losing weight and sweating quite a bit in the process.
  • 10:43 – On Tate Taylor as an actor’s director during those concert scenes.
  • 12:33 – How many different wigs does he wear in the movie?
  • 12:50 – On having to play Byrd over the course of many years of his life.
  • 14:40 – Does the end of True Blood mean more movies?
  • 14:55 – How he feels about True Blood coming to a close.

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