‘A Million Little Things’: Romany Malco On Being ‘Hollywood’s Side-Chick’ Before Making ‘Tijuana Jackson’

Romany Malco has become a household name through scene-stealing performances on the big and small screens. From The 40-Year-Old Virgin to A Million Little Things, Malco always brings his signature brand of talent and charm. Now, he’s promoting a new project, Tijuana Jackson: Purpose Over Prison, which he wrote, directed, and starred in as the title character. But before making the film, Malco confessed that he felt like ‘Hollywood’s Side-Chick.’ Here’s why.

Romany Malco
Romany Malco | Tibrina Hobson/WireImage

Romany Malco created and produced ‘Tijuana Jackson: Purpose Over Prison’

Fans of the SiriusXM radio show, Sway in the Morning, were captivated by Malco, who was a guest on the program in July. He spoke about his new comedy, Tijuana Jackson: Purpose Over Prison, which is now available on streaming platforms. As dished by the synopsis, in the film, “An ex-convict on parole is set on becoming a world-renowned motivational speaker.”

Malco told Sway that he has been performing as TJ for 20 years. The actor’s fans can head over to his YouTube channel to check out his earlier work as the character. “Tijuana Jackson is really just another side of me,” Malco told Sway. “I grew up in communities where brothers were getting out of prison, and you realize it’s not just the system that ostracizes them, but back in my day when brothers got out [of prison], family members ostracized them too.”

Malco confessed to feeling like ‘Hollywood’s Side-Chick’

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Sway pointed out that Malco self-financed Tijuana Jackson: Purpose Over Prison. Malco added that he kept costs low, in part, by granting participants in the project co-ownership. The filmmaker noted that when artists become involved in independent films, they are not necessarily in it for the money. And with his approach, he was able to add Regina Hall to the cast.

But Malco didn’t initially set out to raise funds for Tijuana Jackson: Purpose Over Prison on his own. “I was trying to raise money in Hollywood to make the movie,” he shared with Sway, “But I realized that the language, you know it’s just such a raw movie.”

“It’s funny as h*ll, but it’s so raw that I realized that I was just basically Hollywood’s side-chick,” quipped Malco. “They were making a bunch of promises, but they weren’t really trying to make no commitments. [There were] no commitments coming through. So, I went ahead and hustled it up.”

A crowd-funding campaign helped make ‘Tijuana Jackson’ possible

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After coming up dry in Hollywood, Malco decided to pivot to a different plan for financing his independent movie. He told Sway, “This is a prime example right here of a project that I put my money into. I also did a crowd-funding campaign, and I got investors involved. And, I kept it at a price point that almost just guaranteed a return.”

“And the funny thing is,” Malco mused, “When I first started the crowd-funding campaign, my manager was like, ‘I don’t want you to do this.’ I was like, ‘Why not?’ He was like, ‘It’s not a good look for an established actor to be asking his fans for money.’ I was like, ‘Wait, you think I’m an established actor?’”

Tijuana Jackson: Purpose Over Prison is streaming now on various platforms, including iTunes, Google Play, Amazon Prime Video, and Fandango.

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