HOLLYWOOD — Give Chris Brown a mic and a stage and he’ll bust out dance moves quicker than you can say “Michael Jackson.” Throw him some simple lines of dialogue and a soundstage … and the result isn’t exactly the same.
Choking on lines is a rite of passage for any acting novice, and Brown is no exception. The 16-year-old R&B phenom is guest-starring on UPN’s “One on One” — which, incidentally, happens to be one of his favorite sitcoms — and he told MTV News backstage that he had some nerves to battle.
“I was a little nervous. There was some stumbling sometimes, but I got through it,” Brown said of his cameo. “Everybody does that and it gets easier [with each take].”
In the episode, set to air in March, Brown tries to put the moves on a girl he spots at a party he just performed at, but he eventually gets turned down because of his age.
“Chris approaches me, and I go, ‘OK, you’re cute, but you’re 16,’ ” laughed 19-year-old actress Kyla Pratt (“Fat Albert,” “Dr. Dolittle”), who plays Breanna. “Then he’s like, ‘It’s OK, we can still get something going. You ain’t afraid of a little jail time, are you?’ ”
You know it has to be fiction when R&B’s new prince can’t get a date (see “Chris Brown Dancing His ‘Run It!’ Straight Up The Charts” ). Still, Brown plays himself in the cameo, albeit with some added cockiness.
“The Chris you’re talking to right now isn’t trying to be too suave or too gangsta, but here I had to play the role of the star, like, ‘Hey, baby, how you doing?’ Like I’m the stuff,” he explained. “That’s not me at all, so I had to be a lot smoother.”
Brown may be new to the acting game, but he was quick to pick up some pointers from fellow singer/actor Ray J (who stars as D-Mack on the show) and former tour mate Marques Houston, who stopped by the set briefly since his own UPN sitcom “Cuts” films in the studio next door. Both had nothing but praise for their friend.
“Chris is a natural,” Ray J said. “You can just tell in his style and his confidence as an artist that … he knows what he wants in life and he shows that on the set. It’s really all about having fun and I think he displayed that today in a really positive way.”
“I didn’t really give him any pointers, other than to do his thing,” Houston added.
“When he first came in, he seemed a little shy and was talking a little low,” Pratt recalled. “[Eventually] he got comfortable with us and got all loud, so everything turned out great. I think he has a little future in the acting business.”
Brown says TV is just the beginning; he also has his sights set on the silver screen (see “Chris Brown Wants To Hit The Big Screen Like His Idol Usher” ).
“My dream role is just to be like myself, [but in a role involving] action or basketball or fighting. Not saying I like the fighting, but it would be a great experience for me to be able to do something out of the box that’s still in my origin,” the singer said.
Brown has been sifting through a stack of scripts, including a couple of dance flicks and a drama. But while he has yet to settle on his first official big-screen role, he notes that he’d like to get one in the can by next year.
“I’m just looking right now, trying to see which one will really fit me,” he said.
Meanwhile, on the music front, the singer is prepping his third single, “Gimme That,” off his self-titled debut. (Brown provides a taste of the song at the end of his “Yo!” video; see “Chris Brown Explains The Finer Points Of Hollering ‘Yo!’ “ ) Brown plans to co-direct the clip with previous collaborator Erik White sometime in February.