Many of us remember Rick Gonzalez for his roles in “Coach Carter,” “Roll Bounce,” “War of The Worlds,” or “Old School.” In other words, our boy had a part in some of our favorite movies. Yet he was still shocked when Lady Gaga wanted him to play Jesus in her biggest video yet, “Judas.”
As we add Lady Gaga’s leading man to his resume, we wanted to get the scoop on how the “Judas” video went down. Check out our interview with Lady Gaga’s Jesus, Rick Gonzalez.
GlobalGrind: We heard when you got the call that Lady Gaga wanted you to do the video you said “Lady Gaga, who?”
Yeah, more like I knew who she was, but it was, ‘THE Lady Gaga? You mean that one?’ and my manager was like hell yeah! I looked at my girl and was like, they want me to do a Lady Gaga video and she was like ‘THE Lady Gaga?’ Even to this day I’m like, ‘did I just do that?’ because she feels so far away to me. She’s on tour rocking stadiums and I’m back in L.A. auditioning. I can’t believe it happened.
When you had Gaga on the back of the bike, can you describe that feeling?
The feeling was, I can’t believe the biggest pop star is behind me right now singing in my ear. I was literally playing video games the day before and I’m at Universal Studios lot doing a video and not just any video, this is her biggest then. It’s just a huge juxtaposition from my life one day to the next. We would just try to get along. When we got on the bike I felt this immediate urge to protect her and keep her safe on the bike and make sure that she was able to do her performance shots and at the same time play along with me. I was constantly saying ‘are you okay, are you alright, is everything cool?’
What kinds of things did the two of you talk about?
She was totally nice and just telling me her whole process and her coming up with the whole treatment and how she and Laurieann directed the video. She’s kind of explaining the whole process to me. As we moved on to doing the video and different scenes, one thing she was always instructing me to do was for me to lead as Jesus and I was still kind of a little uncomfortable in knowing if I should take the first step in moving forward. We would just have those kinds of discussions and things like that.
What is one of the things you noticed while filming the video?
One thing that really stood out to me in doing the video was how amazing her body is. Like one time we were in this scene where we were in the bar and there’s a shot, I don’t think they really got it all, but it was a shot where we’re walking down the stairs together and she had this full body suit [on] that was made out of suede but it was tight and it showed her booty in all it’s glory and it was just like whoa. I had no idea it was like that. I was sneaking peaks, it’s really like that, Gaga? Whew!
Did you feel any pressure working with Gaga?
She was just chill, rocking Alexander McQueen boots. Really kicking it with everyone and getting along and of course the dancers in the video are on tour with her, so they had their own little family thing. They included me and Norm in it and it was just really fun. It didn’t feel like that much stress and pressure. I definitely have a lot of respect for the camp of Lady Gaga and especially her, because she works really hard and you can see why God blessed her so much. She’s really humble and she appreciates everyone working hard for her.
It was a great video and we really loved how you did lead it. When you go back to Brooklyn your swagger has to be on the hundred thousand million!
(Laughs). It’s funny because one of my close friends from Brooklyn was all ‘hey man I’m still riding with my boy even though he was wearing lipstick!’ (laughs) It ain’t lipstick it’s just that they color corrected it.’ It looks like [lipstick] but it’s not that. And they said, ‘oh, oh okay because we still ridin’ with you man! We don’t care if you got lipstick on!’ and I’m like ‘I appreciate that, that’s why y’all are my peoples. Thank you.’
You did a movie called “My Mother’s Curse” with Barbra Streisand?
I did. I just finished working on that with Barbara Streisand and Seth Rogen. It’s a really funny scene where I play a Budget Rent-A-Car agent and I have to rent them a car and I feel honored in doing it because it’s Barbara Streisand and because I’m a huge fan of Seth Rogen. The scene required a lot of improvising and just to do that with those two is amazing to me. I’ll take that for a long time. I was proudly able to show my mom, hey I worked with Barbra Streisand. She loves her so much.
Speaking of your mom and Barbra Streisand, you sent out a tweet saying that you wish Barbra Streisand was your mother.
(Laughs) Yeah because this girl was like, ‘Hey, is that your mom?’ Um, I wish! These kids man, they feel their age, you know?
Have you been receiving more scripts and more offers now that the video has been out a couple of days?
I’m working on a TV show right now. I’m doing a guest spot for Lifetime called “The Protector.” I haven’t had any time to read because I try not to read anything while I’m working. I told my agent to hold off on things that are coming in until I’m done with the project and then I’ll start looking but it’s too early to tell if anything is really coming. I’m still blessed and happy that I was able to be a part of the video. I feel like to be in a video is cool but to be part of a huge video that even has a message, because I just saw Lady Gaga’s special on HBO a couple days ago and I knew her music, but I just knew the singles. I didn’t really listen to the albums. Watching the concert and hearing all the records and the message, I have a new found respect for what she is and who she is and what she’s really trying to do with music.
I feel like she kind of gets a bad wrap because of the image, instead of what she’s really trying to do. In the special you saw her really singing, you saw her really dancing and you saw her really giving a message and I think with the “Judas” video, before it dropped people were trying to crucify her because she was taking a Biblical name and term and the whole song and trying to use it against her. Then when people saw the video they saw that she had a lot of respect for the Biblical sense of Judas and the story and Jesus himself. I’m proud to be a part of that because I think that she definitely puts out a lot of good energy out there.
Earlier you mentioned you had a girlfriend. How did you meet her?
I met her out here in California when I was working on a show and we’ve been together ever since. It’s a beautiful thing.
You are a hot commodity when it comes to the women. How does she deal with that?
My girl is very understanding. She’s hip to everything and she doesn’t really take everything too seriously in terms of that end. It’s just people giving love and praise for what you do which is a beautiful thing. It’s nothing that she would ever take seriously, because I don’t take it seriously. I appreciate it for what it is and I thank people for giving me the love for it and it doesn’t really go any further than that.
You’ve done a lot of movies and now you’re back in TV. How do you deal with the industry ups and downs? How are you working on your craft to get it better?
I deal with it by trying to stay as grounded as possible and appreciate the glass half full all the time. I realize that as fast as it can come, is as fast as it can go and you’re only as good as the work you put in, the hard work you put in. I really try to make sure that I’m always working on my craft and that I’m studying constantly and that I’m always sharp. It’s like going to the gym everyday. I think one of the important things that I learned as I got older in this industry is not to have such a heavy heart and to [not to] have such a jadedness about the industry, because that kind of translates into the work you put in and you meeting casting directors and going out on auditions and people want to be surrounded by good energy. Having a positive outlook no matter how many no’s you get. You have to have the faith and the strength to know that you’ll be able to work.