Showtime's new single-camera comedy, Barbershop (premiering Sunday at 10 pm/ET), picks up right where its film predecessors left off and enjoys a cable-friendly splash of edgier, faster-paced humor. Among the ensemble cast is newcomer Toni Trucks, who talked to TVGuide.com about inheriting rap star Eve's role as a girl in Barbershop's man's world.
TVGuide.com: Is it true that you hadn't seen the Barbershop films prior to accepting the role?
Toni Trucks: I hadn't seen the films before my initial audition, then once I did that, I figured I should see the movies. But we were encouraged to reinvent the characters. [Director] John [Ridley] was very clear that we should bring ourselves to the table.
TVGuide.com: Were you familiar with Eve's acting work, if not her music?
Trucks: Absolutely. She's an icon. Even though I didn't directly base my portrayal of the character on her, it was an honor to follow in her footsteps.
TVGuide.com: What is your take on Terri? What do you like most about her?
Trucks: She's really feisty, and she gets to say what she thinks all the time. Everyone has a bit of a social filter and Terri has none. While you stare at a grocery clerk thinking, "I might tell you off right now," Terri will punch them. [Laughs] I get to really explore her humanity, and I don't think you have the luxury of doing that in a two-hour movie.
TVGuide.com: How else will the series differ from the film?
Trucks: We had the opportunity to push the envelope in a lot of different ways. With current events coming [through on] TV every day, we get to touch on stuff that happened [in real life] last week. What you got a hint of in the movie, and what everyone enjoyed, is going to be amplified times 10.
TVGuide.com: Have any of the Barbershop film stars offered any feedback?
Trucks: Ice Cube was one of our producers, and he's been very glowing and so gracious. He tends to be a man of few words — other than his rapping — but that speaks volumes for us. I didn't really have a chance to speak with Eve about the role. I bumped into her at Paramount one day and introduced myself and she was very kind and encouraging and excited about the show.
TVGuide.com: Playing the only female stylist in a barbershop full of men, are you walking into a testosterone-filled set?
Trucks: It's testosterone-filled, but it fits Terri well because she loves a challenge. The guys in the shop don't cut her any slack, and she doesn't want them to cut her slack. She can go toe-to-toe with the guys and really enjoys that banter.
TVGuide.com: Has anything funny or memorable happened during filming yet?
Trucks: [Laughs] We all went to [Warner's Barber College] together. None of us knew how to cut hair before, but we had 24 hours at the college, then were thrust into filming and had to look like we knew what we were doing. I also get to do a lot of fun things, like punch people and do tackles.
TVGuide.com: That's always fun, getting to beat up the boys!
Trucks: It's always a good time, a good way to get out a lot of frustration.
TVGuide.com: How is Los Angeles life treating you?
Trucks: The West Coast is treating me very well. I came up here solely to film, which happened almost immediately, and everyone has treated me like gold. I haven't really gotten the chance to explore L.A., but we'll be done shooting soon so I'll have time.
TVGuide.com: Have you had a chance to go shopping on Melrose or anything fun like that?
Trucks: I've strolled Melrose and grabbed a couple pairs of jeans. [Laughs] I'm still discovering L.A., still driving around. My favorite thing right now is to go through the Paramount gates every day!
TVGuide.com: You have kept busy over the years with stage productions. How has that prepared you for working on a weekly series?
Trucks: I don't know if anything can really prepare you for it, but I am definitely grateful for my theater training. It gives you wonderful stamina for learning your lines and a really great work ethic. The stop-and-go of television can at times be unnerving, so it's such a treat and luxury to do a piece in its entirety and take the character's journey from start to finish.
TVGuide.com: What TV shows are you currently a fan of?
Trucks: It's so sad — I don't even own a television, but John Ridley was lovely enough to give me the entire season of Arrested Development, which I cannot speak more highly about. John said, "This is good, smart humor. This is what we're going to be doing."
TVGuide.com: So there was a method to him introducing you to that particular show?
Trucks: In Arrested Development, everyone is so natural and there's a hilarity to that [that makes you wonder] if these people exist. The humor is subtle and can really go under the radar a little a bit.
TVGuide.com: Do you have anything else in the works?
Trucks: We're in the final stretch [of the show], so right now I'm just going to keep my heart in Barbershop until it hits the air!