Omar Epps, <EM>House</EM> Omar Epps, House

Child prodigy. Ex-rapper. Dreamed of becoming the first black president. Who better to take on Dr. House than Omar Epps? As Season 3 of the Fox series draws to a close, TV Guide invited Epps to weigh in on Foreman's fate.

TV Guide: Why does your character, Dr. Foreman, quit Dr. House's team?
Omar Epps:
The short answer is he doesn't want to become House. House is judgmental — he's callous toward humanity. Foreman is an optimist, [but] he sees the dark side that House always talks about. It's getting to be a bit much.

TV Guide: Will you be back full-time next season? What will Foreman be doing?
Epps:
I will be back. Obviously, it will be different — but I don't think even the writers know how yet.

TV Guide: Did you like the idea of change?
Epps:
The show has good ratings, but it's been three years of the same formula, and we should push it a little bit before people get complacent.

TV Guide: What will make Foreman happy?
Epps:
His goal is to be a great doctor and maybe run a department someday.

TV Guide: Hmmm. Could he be on the fast track to run the hospital's neurology department?
Epps:
That I don't know. [Laughs]

TV Guide: Hugh Laurie is notoriously hard on himself. Does that ever make it tense on the set?
Epps:
No. We all get along and give each other space to be who we are. Hugh is a great actor and he really puts a lot of pressure on himself. We're there to support him when he's too hard on himself. It's like, "Dude, it's cool. Don't worry about it. You sound great."

TV Guide: House would bite your head off if he heard that. Would Hugh do the same?
Epps:
No. Hugh is a really nice guy, a lovable, totally cool guy.

TV Guide: Is Foreman going to have a romance next season? Everyone else does.
Epps:
I've sort of given in to the fact that Foreman's romance is his career.

TV Guide: Are you married? Kids?
Epps:
I'm married to [former R&B singer] Keisha. I have a 7-year-old and a 2-year-old.

TV Guide: What's your love story?
Epps:
We met in '92 and were close friends for years, but we were both in other relationships. Finally the timing was right, and voila! We've been together about five years, married less than a year.

TV Guide: Speaking of love, were Jesse Spencer and Jennifer Morrison as secretive about their romance off screen as Chase and Cameron were on screen?
Epps:
Initially. They were very protective of themselves, which I totally get. Once the cat was out of the bag, they relaxed a little bit. But most of us had felt the sparks between them.

TV Guide: Weren't you a child prodigy? Writing poetry and screenplays by the time you were 8 years old?
Epps:
I wrote a lot of poetry, a lot of short stories. I just wrote a film that I'll star in. It's a romantic comedy I wrote for Tracee Ellis Ross.

TV Guide: And you were a rapper, too?
Epps:
I was in a group called Wolfpack. We sold a couple of records. I'd love to be at the helm of a music company and create a home for artists to do what they do.

TV Guide: There are all these rumors out there that you're running for president. What's up with that?
Epps:
It might be that I told a story about an essay I wrote in school about wanting to be the first black president of the United States, so I think it was just crunched and mangled through the grapevine.

TV Guide: What are you doing during the hiatus?
Epps:
I'll be resting, spending time with my family and writing a three-part graphic novel called The Other Side of Truth. It deals with world domination and that kind of thing.

TV Guide: Is there anything you don't do?
Epps:
You only live once. I'm the type of person who just wants to fulfill my potential — no matter what it might be. My mother, who was a teacher, then vice principal and superintendent, is one of my inspirations. She was the first person to believe in me and my talent. My template, actually, is Will Smith. He's won Grammys, been nominated for two Academy Awards and is a film producer. It can be done.

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