How Does Larenz Tate Follow 'Crash'? With A 'Male Version of 'Sex And The City''

Actor screened his directorial debut, 'The Hot Spot,' last week.

"Working with Ludacris was a great experience — er, I mean Mr. Chris Bridges, the actor," actor Larenz Tate said about working with the MC in "Crash."

"It was a treat to see a brother leave that hip-hop persona at the door and surrender all those things that we think about rap artists. He just indulged in the character and what it meant. He's smart and he really wants to be in Hollywood — not just for the fame, but he's trying to make his niche as an actor. And I respect him for making that transition."

Ludacris co-stars with Tate in "Crash," along with Sandra Bullock, Don Cheadle, Thandie Newton and Matt Dillon. Paul Haggis ("Million Dollar Baby") wrote the film, in which a car accident brings together people of different races in Los Angeles.

" 'Crash' is a movie about the racial tension that still exists in America," said Tate, who is best known for his roles in "Menace II Society" and "A Man Apart." "A lot of us pretend that we don't have preconceived notions and stereotypical ideals about each other, but we do. And we wanted to create a movie about people whose lives crash into each others' accidentally."

Tate was introduced to Hollywood's mainstream through the 1993 film "Menace II Society," but maintained that "Crash" and "Menace" are very different.

" 'Menace II Society' had a specific message," he said. "The lifestyle in South Central was deadly because there are these individuals who need to see past 25 years old, and a lot of them don't because of obstacles in their lives. [In 'Crash'], all of us are included in these hang-ups about each other — black and white, Spanish and Asian, Persians. Racism is very much alive, and that's where a lot of the tension comes from."

And while the film didn't have very much money to start, Tate remembered the financial problems he'd had while filming his own independent project, "The Hot Spot."

"We didn't have a studio when we started this movie," he recalled. "Don Cheadle and the producers were able to round up actors that meant something to the investor, and he put up some money. But before I was hired to star in 'Crash' with everyone, we were editing 'The Hot Spot.' And when Don Cheadle said, 'Hey man, we have no money,' I'm like, 'Don, it's all good.' "

Tate screened the straight-to-DVD "Hot Spot," which stars a Chicago rapper named Crunch, last week. Tate, along with his brother Lamar, created the film's concept while another sibling, Laron, wrote the script. And even though he just finished "Hot Spot" and "Crash" dropped last week, he's still open to working in R&B diva videos.

"I should tell somebody to call me up," Tate laughed about repeating his performance in Ashanti's "Rain On Me." "DJ Clue calls that 'Love Jones Two,' " referring to Tate's role in the 1997 film, "the other side of my character on the Ashanti video set."

Meanwhile, the actor's been keeping busy with a few film projects he wouldn't discuss, and a pilot for CBS that revolves around four guys dealing with relationships in New York. Sound familiar?

"Yeah, it's the male version of 'Sex and the City,' " he said. "It's called 'Love Monkey.' I'd probably be the Kim Cattrall character — he's a very well-off individual and he's got a lot of ladies."

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