What's it like to be hoisted 20 feet in the air while suspended inside the slimy rump of a gigantic, amoeba-like alien? Only Orlando Jones who co-stars with David Duchovny and Julianne Moore in the sci-fi comedy Evolution (opening Friday) knows the answer to that unsavory question.
Though much of the film is filled with computer graphic imagery, Jones couldn't rely on technology to fake this particular scene. "That actual set piece was there," he groans. "I kept slipping as I tried to find my footing on the ladder. When you hear me yelling to David, 'Grab me' I wasn't joking. I thought, 'If David lets go of me and I fall down and break my neck, I'm going to kill him.' It may have been difficult with a broken neck, but I felt I was up to it!"
Jones who has previously appeared in The Replacements, Bedazzled and Office Space is best known as the current pitchman for 7 Up. But he swears his over-the-top antics in the soda's TV ads don't necessarily reflect his true comic style. "When it's just you and a can of 7 Up, you throw subtlety out the window," he chuckles. "Because no one's going to watch those commercials and say, 'You know, there were some moments there that were quite lovely!'"
While his role in Evolution gets plenty of laughs, Jones says he made an effort not to overdo his character's tomfoolery. Says the actor: "The tendency with a movie like this is to go in and think, 'I want to be Eddie Murphy,' and push the comedy all the way through. I didn't think it would make the science fiction aspect believable if I did that."
And as for buzz that Jones may be Hollywood's "next big thing," well, he pays no heed to that hype. "When I was doing my first movie," he recalls, "I heard the same thing: 'You stole the movie. This is going to lead to much bigger roles for you.' I think six people saw that movie and two were my mom and dad."