Former NFL Player Kerry Rhodes Talks Acting In And Executive Producing ‘Tragedy Girls’ – Now In Theaters

October 21, 2017

Written by Kelli Marchman McNeely

Kelli Marchman McNeely is the owner of She is an Executive Producer of "13 Slays Till Christmas" which is out on Digital and DVD and now streaming on Tubi. She has several other films in the works. Kelli is an animal lover and a true horror addict since the age of 9 when she saw Friday the 13th. Email:

Today, I sat down to talk with former NFL player turned actor-writer-producer to discuss his upcoming role in Tragedy Girls which looks fantastic by the way.
After retiring from the Arizona Cardinals Kerry turned his attention to both modeling and acting. His first on-screen role was in the film Misunderstandings (2009), followed by an appearance in Lady Gaga’s video for ‘Paparazzi’. After a few other projects, including his 6-episode comedy series ‘Good Cop Bike Cop’, he found his reoccurring role on Tyler Perry’s series ‘If Loving You Is Wrong’ which he currently is co-starring in. Now, his horror film Tragedy Girls is approaching its theatrical release on October 20th.
Horror Fuel: “What drew you to the film industry after leaving football?”
Rhodes: “I’ve always been attached to it. I’ve always had a past with it, starting back in middle school. When I was in the seventh grade I wrote, directed, and starred in my own medieval play. I think for anybody to think along those lines of making a medieval play to come to life has some kind of love for the industry. From that point on I kept with it. It was always there. When I was playing football it was kind of put on the backburner, but it was always in my DNA and something I was going to do. I had a chance to do it when I was done with football, I jumped right into it. I was also a theater minor in college.”
Horror Fuel: “Oh, okay. If you think about it, football is another type of stage where you perform to entertain the masses.”
Rhodes: “Absolutely. I think, especially in football now, because they are letting the guys celebrate again and use their creativity. They are letting the guys celebrate again which I think is cool. It lets the guys have fun doing what they do. You’ll get a better show. I’m glad they are doing that.”
Horror Fuel: “I agree with you.”
Horror Fuel: “When you returned to acting from playing football, what moment was it that you realized that acting is what you really wanted to do?”
Rhodes: “Right after I retired I jumped right into a project I made in-house. When I left I still had a few inklings to go back. I made the decision to leave on my own. Me and a couple of friends made this little miniseries called ‘Good Cop Bike Cop’, a comedy and we shot six episodes and it was a little rocky getting back into it. My character was Michael Jackson and I played it kind of like Danny Glover in Lethal Weapon. My character was like Seth Rogan in ‘Super Bad’.  But at the end of episode six, I had a moment where I was shooting a scene with my partner and I remember were on like a sting and there was a moment there was I like, ‘This feels really good.’ it was almost emotion and I felt it and I thought, ‘Yeah, I want to do this.’ It’s something that has helped me in my life. It’s all good.”

Horror Fuel: “You currently have a reoccurring role in Tyler Perry’s TV series. Is that correct?”
Rhodes: “It’s Tyler Perry’s ‘If Loving You Is Wrong’. It’s on Opera’s network OWN. I play a character named Rick, a cop who is trying to figure out a murder right now. It’s set in a southern town where everybody knows everybody. The killer’s pretty close. It’s pretty exciting.”
Horror Fuel: “That’s awesome. I’m a Tyler Perry fan.”
Rhodes: “Are you? Are you going to see Tyler’s ‘Boo 2’ coming out this week?”
Horror Fuel: “Mom wants me to take her to see it.”
Rhodes: Was the first one good?”
Horror Fuel: “I liked it, but then again I’m a Madea fan.”
Rhodes: “Tyler’s a good guy. He gives a lot of opportunities to people. He’s a cool guy.”

Horror Fuel: “Correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t you also play a cop in  Lady Gaga’s Paparazzi video, the part when the police are taking her away?”
Rhodes: “[laughter] I did, I did. [laughter]. That was old school. That was a long time ago [laughter].”
Horror Fuel: “[laughter]”

Horror Fuel: “‘Tragedy Girls’ is about to open in theaters. Tell us about it?”
Rhodes: “Tragedy Girls is about these two high school girls that are best friends and they are not getting enough attention in life. They have a blog called “Tragedy Girls”. To become more famous and their love of the horror genre, the go on a mission to capture a serial killer to become famous and to make their blog blow up. It’s one one of those things that are really relevant right now in the times of social media. Everything is social media driven. The more famous you are on there the more famous you are in real life.  You have a great cast that’s on board. Everybody kills their roles. The film’s done its festival rounds for a few months and we are getting to see the reactions of the people there and reactions have been really, really good. We’re excited about it and can’t wait for it to drop this Friday.”
Horror Fuel: “The trailer and the clips look great. I think it will do really well.”
Rhodes: “So, you’re going to get a big group together and go see that before Madea, right [laughter]?”
Horror Fuel: “I’ll work on that [laughter].”

Horror Fuel: “What kind of guy is your character, Drew?”
Rhodes: “When we wrote Drew we made him the “fallen star”. He had big dreams of getting out of town and going to the NFL and getting out of town but never did. He ended up coming back and being the local gym owner. His character befriends Craig Robinson’s character, Big Al. He’s a fallen hero and is now trying to be a local celebrity. He’s befriended the most famous person in town, Big Al, and they have a ride together, let’s put it that way [laughter].”
Horror Fuel: “Gotcha.”
Horror Fuel: “Is it hard to juggle both being an actor and an executive producer for the film?”
Rhodes: “It is. It is hard sometimes. You have visions as a producer, things you want to do. As an actor, there are things you want to do, but as a producer, you have to think about the actors, but you know it is also a money game.  You have to sometimes cut things short, cut things out, sometimes reconfigure things so that things fit. It may not fit the budget or be what the director or producer thinks it is. It’s a balancing act. I hear and see both sides. I have to take care of all the actors and myself, but I also have to handle the money part of it too. It can be difficult.”
Horror Fuel: “I imagine that it is.”
Rhodes: “With most actors, good actors, they come prepared. When they’re not that they can’t do something it becomes a problem.”
Horror Fuel: It sounds like a delicate balancing act.”
Rhodes: It is.”
Horror Fuel: “The movie looks like a blast. What was it like on set?”
Rhodes: “It was a blast. We had a lot of fun. Everybody hung out. We shot in the country so there wasn’t much to do. We became this little family down there. We all hung out, ate out together at the same restaurants every day, so we bonded really well. When Craig and I were on set I had him dying laughing and he had me dying laughing [laughter], so it was a blast overall. ”
Horror Fuel: “Hopefully, on the Blu-ray, we’ll get to see some of those funny outtakes in the special features.”
Rhodes: “We’ll see.”
Horror Fuel: “Your wife, Nicky Whelan, also appears in the film as Mrs. Kent. What was it like to act alongside her in a film?” (see clip below)
Rhodes: “It’s good. That’s what we do. We actually met on set in a ‘Funny or Die’ that also I produced. We’re accustomed to it. Any role that I come across I’m going to let her know about it and vice-versa. It’s almost like a common courtesy. It makes it fun when the person you love or want to be around is around and working, so it works out well.”
Horror Fuel: “It’s great that you two have that kind of relationship.”

Horror Fuel: “Tragedy Girls’ has a strong message about social media. What is your view on our social media addiction?”
Rhodes: “I think so, without spoiling the movie. There’s a limit to what is real life and what isn’t. There are posts to sway everybody to believe what people are posting and it’s not healthy. You find yourself comparing yourself to people who aren’t real. You start judging yourself based on these false claims. Don’t make everything a competition on social media because everything you see on social media is not real. I think that’s what was kind of portrayed in the film.”
Horror Fuel: “I think that you’re right. All the filters, all the staged scenes, those things can get in your head and you develop unrealistic ideas, especially for younger people.”
Horror Fuel: “Besides acting, writing, and producing you also run a charity. If you will fill us in on it.”
Rhodes: “It’s the Kerry Rhodes Foundation and I started it back in 2005. It is my way to give back. Soon as I got drafted I wanted to give back right away. It has changed and shifted throughout the years, but initially, it was education based. I gave a couple of kids scholarships. I helped my school in the early years like I redid the gym floor, stuff like that. I helped where I could. Now I ‘ve pushed the initiative and teamed up with a company called ‘Let’s Get Fit’ and we tackle childhood obesity. It’s running ramped and we want to stomp that out and get people living healthy and be addressing that head-on. I think especially in the southern states, I’m from Alabama, it’s a real big epidemic. We want to get people better. That’s what it all boils down to.”
Horror Fuel: “That’s awesome. We definitely have an issue with that here in the south.”
While Kerry Rhodes is serious about his roles and his charity, he came across as a genuine, down-to-earth guy with a great laugh. He was a pleasure to talk with and I look forward to seeing what he does next in his acting career.
You should definitely check out Tragedy Girls which is now playing in theaters nationwide and keep an eye out for Kerry in more film and series soon. Follow Kerry on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for regular updates on his projects and more. Visit the Kerry Rhodes Foundation page for ways to help communities tackle obstacles they are facing.

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