BALLERS is on a winning streak.
With its renewal for season three, HBO has released season two of BALLERS on digital platforms and will have its DVD/Blu-ray release on January 31, 2017.
In season two of BALLERS, things are getting more competitive and complicated for retired football star turned financial manager Spencer Strasmore. As the lines between professional and personal blur in his pursuit of lasting success and glory, Spencer must face demons from the past when he goes head-to-head with the biggest business manager on the scene. Meanwhile, Spencer’s closest friends and clients struggle to find their footing. A humblied Ricky (John David) explores his options as a free agent, while getting to know the father who left him behind. Charles (Omar Miller) tries to balance a new baby and his future in the game. Vernon (Donovan Carter) deals with the consequences of his life off the field. Returning to help Spencer juggle lucrative deals and big personalities are his outrageous business partner, Joe (Rob Corddry), a level-headed agent Jason (Troy Grarity) and girlfriend/sports reporter, Tracy (Arielle Kebbel). In a business where it’s go big or go home, Spencer and his crew are about to learn that having it all means being ready to fight for more dollars, deals and respect.
LRM conducted an exclusive phone interview with actress Jazmyn Simon, who plays Charles’ wife Julie. We had a delightful time discussing BALLERS as a show, the cast, Miami and especially Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.
Read the full transcript below.
LRM: Thanks for talking to me about your upcoming Blu-ray/DVD release of BALLERS.
Jazmyn Simon: Of course, thanks for having the time to talk to me.
LRM: Not a problem. Tell me in your opinion on why BALLERS is so popular amongst the fans.
Jazmyn Simon: I think BALLERS is popular, because it has something for everybody. If you’re a football fan, you’ll love BALLERS since we have real football players in every episode. We get to use real team names. And we have The Rock. That goes to every reason you should watch BALLERS. [Laughter]
The Rock! [Laughter]
It’s not often you’ll get the biggest movie star in the world on a TV show. When you do get him, you’ll have to make sure it is exceptional. That’s what Stephen Levinson and HBO has done. There is something for everyone on BALLERS. There’s football. There’s a love story between Julie and Charles. There’s a story between a father and son reuniting. And you have Donavan Carter who plays an imbecile who spends all his money. And I’m sure someone could relate to that too. [Laughter]
LRM: Now talk about your character, Julie Greane. Your character is a very strong, opinionated woman. I remembered her from the first season that she was trying handle the crazy antics of her husband and trying to have a kid. What did we see for season two for her?
Jazmyn Simon: As you mentioned, we are trying to have a baby at the end of season one. Charles, right after we had the baby, found out that he was going back to the NFL with the Dolphins. That’s how our season ends.
Our season begins immediately after that season. Charles was trying to figure out if he was going back to play or going back to the dealership. What is he going to do with the rest of his life? You have that on top of having a baby. We have a little girl, who you’ll see this season. She is adorable. We’re trying to manage life. It’s to see if Julie and Charles can hold it all together. With Julie and Charles, there will always bound to be some sort of drama. We just have to figure out on what that drama is going to be. [Laughter]
Last year was a fun house. This year, it’ll be something else.
LRM: Yeah, that’s true. Talk about your character, Julie. She is a very strong woman and she has a career too. Usually, when I picture wives in the sports world—I’m thinking of the stereotypical WAGS. [Laughter] Your character is a whole lot different.
Jazmyn Simon: Exactly. It’s sad too. Julie is a very strong woman. She is a doctor. She met Charles in college. It wasn’t like he was rich when she met him. She just fell in love with him. She’s smart. She’s sassy. She goes to work every day.
When this role came to me, here was an opportunity to change the stereotype that people may have for football players’ wives or even basketball players’ wives. Like you said, when you hear football player’s wife, you think of a big diamond ring and in active wear all day. [Laughter] Stay at home and spending all the money.
It’s the opposite of Julie. I hope I’m changing stereotypes with one viewer at a time. They tend to sensationalize everything. There might be footballer wives that spend a lot of money at home. That’s not a majority. That’s just on what the portrayal is.
Julie represents a lot of football players’ wives out there. Got a job. Got a career. Educated. She holds a man down no matter if he plays football or works in a car dealership.
You are right. She is strong. That’s one of the things that attracted me to the character. She’s strong enough to go head-to-head with her husband. He’s like 6-5, 290 pounds. It doesn’t get much stronger than that.
LRM: Is the theme of the work life along dealing with the husband and child in season two being the biggest attraction for you?
Jazmyn Simon: Yeah, in season two, Julie has another hat to put on. She has mother to add along to being Charles’ cheerleader, being a doctor and taking care of herself. She is like Charles’ life coach in season two. She helps him trying to figure out what he should do—on whether he should go back to the league and be a good father.
You will see they will go on a different part of their journey in season two. I do want everybody to buy the DVD/Blu-ray and get it on iTunes, because they do have some twisted fun that you’ll never expect. It may be another fun house this time, but it is something that gives them a little hiccup this season.
LRM: I do find BALLERS a pretty fun show to watch. Actually, I’m coming from a male perspective. Female characters do have much smaller roles. How do you feel on being on a such a male-centric show?
Jazmyn Simon: You’re right. You’re right. I wish the fifteen of the thirty minutes are geared toward the ladies. I am the only serious female regular on the show. The title of the show tells exactly on what it is. It is called BALLERS.
My job is to show a different side of a football player’s life. You don’t normally get to see that and it’s to show it in a positive light. On the flip side, I love that I am one of one. I get to hang out with these guys all day and learn the stuff that normal ladies don’t have the opportunity to learn. I know the dating rituals of all the single dudes on my show. [Laughter]
I think I’ve given the opportunity to be this female on this male-driven show. Hopefully, people will notice that with the few minutes on the show—I represented woman in a positive light.
LRM: With a few minutes you do actually have on the show, do they give you a lot of leeway to improv a little bit?
Jazmyn Simon: Yes! They do want you to stick to the path they paved for you. We had rehearsed a couple of times and sometimes we’ll go with something that feels better. For example, I remembered when he wrote that they found out Julie was pregnant in season one. I never forget that he wrote, “I’m two days late for my period. I think I’m pregnant.” We’re going to have to change that. [Laughter]
That’s not going to happen in real life. No lady will figure out that she would be two days late. Things like that, they’ll give me the leeway to make Julie like to my own.
When Omar [Benson Miller] and I interact in our fake marriage, they definitely give us free rein to play a little bit. Also, we had exceptional writers. We want to honor what they gave us on the page and try to do justice with that. There are clearly a good relationship between the writers and the actors.
LRM: That’s pretty awesome. Speaking of Omar Benson Miller, how was it working alongside with him—since that’s who you spend a majority of your on-screen presence with him?
Jazmyn Simon: Omar is a phenomenal actor. I was a fan of Omar before I had the opportunity to work with him. He is so good. Always prepared. He is a generous actor. He definitely makes me better in those things. It’s difficult to work with an actor if they’re not giving you anything. He always giving me something to work off of. His expressions are great. I feel I’m in life with him. He gives me a lot to pull off, which sometimes seem impossible. It makes it a believable TV relationship.
Most people that I meet tell me that they believed that Omar and I are in a relationship. That is his credit for being such a good actor. He’s such a great person to work with.
LRM: Well, that sounds great. It would be a whole lot different than acting with Dwayne Johnson. I always imagine he is bigger than life. He would have such a big presence in the room.
Jazmyn Simon: It’s funny. Omar is actually bigger than Dwayne. I have the bigger of the guys to act with all the time.
Dwayne is amazing. I’ve learned about acting [from him] than I’ve been doing it. Whoever is number one on the call sheet sets the tone for everything—for the show and everybody’s attitude. We couldn’t got a better guy than Dwayne Johnson to lead the show. He’s always prepared. He’s always humbled. He’s always great. He’s gracious. He’s phenomenal actor. I have this opportunity to act alongside with him on this show. I feel personally this is the best acting he has done.
He is a person. And he brought this person and character to life. He is great. He really is. He keeps everyone grounded.
LRM: The nice thing about this show is that it all takes place in Miami. Is that a really cool place to…..be working in for yourself? [Laughter]
Jazmyn Simon: I’ll tell you this—if you’re single and young—Miami is the place to be. Now if you’re single and in a relationship, it’s not a whole lot of greatness. [Laughter] It’s like when I went to college in Las Vegas—I like to acquaint this to Las Vegas on the water. Always a party. Always there will be hot girls and guys. For the guys on the show, if they’re single—I’m pretty sure they’ll say its paradise.
For me, I love it. People are great in Miami. They welcomed us in Miami. It’s like it’s a second home. But, I’m not single. I view Miami a little bit different. [Laughter]
LRM: So I guess you left those days of Las Vegas and Miami behind. Those fun old days.
Jazmyn Simon: I did. I did. I did. I did. I got a man. [Laughter] There’s no partying for me unless he’s with me.
LRM: Obviously, you’re real life relationship is more grounded and in sync than the fictional one, right? [Laughter]
Jazmyn Simon: It’s funny. My real life partner is on BALLERS, as well. Dulé Hill plays my work husband’s boss. It’s a very funny triangle we got going on. [Laughter]
LRM: Well, that makes everyday life on the set a whole lot easier, right?
Jazmyn Simon: For sure. Every time he comes in for work, it’s a lot of good for me. [Laughter] I do give him a hard time. I don’t want to give too much away, but you’ll have to watch season two. My actual real life boyfriend causes some problems for my work husband this season. [Laughter] We’ll see how that all works out.
LRM: [SPOILER ALERT] What do we look forward for Charles and Julie in season three? I understand he will be with a new job and a new family start.
Jazmyn Simon: For season three? Sure. Season two ended with Charles and Julie not in a good place. We’ll see more challenges between Julie and Charles, because Julie has a job and Charles is going to have a job. Who’s going to take care of the baby? We’re going to see some real life issues come to the screen for season three. We’ll see if they can work through them. Hopefully, they can.
LRM: Great. One last question for you—I know this show is about football, more football and a lot of football. What is your favorite sport you like to watch personally?
Jazmyn Simon: I love football. But, only if the 49ers are playing.
LRM: Oh, really?
Jazmyn Simon: For this season, they are not looking good. Still, I love football. I love my 49ers. I do also like basketball, but with the Golden State Warriors. I’m cheering for my hometown of San Francisco.
LRM: Well, they did put Colin Kaepernick back in the quarterback spot. We’ll see where they go now.
Jazmyn Simon: I think Kaepernick was the way to go. I’m all about Kaepernick. Everybody has bad games. You got to give that brother a chance. Hopefully, they don’t suck more this season. [Laughter]
LRM: Thank you for speaking to me about BALLERS and sports in general. Hopefully, I have a chance to connect with you next time.
Jazmyn Simon: Of course. I would love that. You have a great day!
BALLERS second season is available on Digital HD release today. It will be released for Blu-ray and DVD on January 31 next year.