Why ‘NCIS: Los Angeles’ Star LL Cool J Decided to Become an Actor

NCIS: Los Angeles star LL Cool J is known not only for his skills as a rapper but also an actor. Here’s the real reason he decided to become an actor.

LL Cool J’s movies and TV shows

Chris O'Donnell and LL Cool J on NCIS: Los Angeles |  Monty Brinton/CBS via Getty Images
Chris O’Donnell and LL Cool J on NCIS: Los Angeles | Monty Brinton/CBS via Getty Images

LL Cool J made his first movie appearance in the 1985 film Krush Groove, in which he sang the song, “I Can’t Live Without My Radio.” In 1986 he appeared in the movie Wildcats. By 1991, the rapper played Billy in the film The Hard Way, starring actors Michael J. Fox and James Woods.

In 1995, LL Cool J landed his own TV show, titled In the House. He played the character Marion Hill until the series ended in 1999. His other acting roles include appearances in Any Given Sunday, In Too Deep, House, and 30 Rock. LL Cool J began playing the role of Sam Hanna on NCIS: Los Angeles in 2009.

Why LL Cool J joined the ‘NCIS: Los Angeles’ cast

NCIS: Los Angeles cast |  Sonja Flemming/CBS via Getty Images
NCIS: Los Angeles cast | Sonja Flemming/CBS via Getty Images

The rapper and actor told Harry Smith, former host of CBS’ The Early Show, he decided to join the NCIS: Los Angeles cast because he was looking to do something different with his career. “You could do a bunch of different things. You had so much success doing many different things. To hitch yourself, your identity, your future, to something like this is not a decision that’s easily made. Why did you do it?” asked the host. LL Cool J spoke about an acting experience he had that convinced him to join the show:

I had a great experience on another drama. I did the season opener of another drama a few seasons ago and I caught the bug. I really wanted to act, and I wanted to act on a regular basis. And I wanted to challenge myself and allow myself to go on another level and allow myself to mature and experience something new in my life.

And part of that maturity process is not continuing to do the same things that you’ve always done. So, I decided to commit to this show, commit to what I thought was a great team. I believe in the NCIS brand and hopefully people will enjoy the show.

Why LL Cool J decided to become an actor

During an interview on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, the host asks LL Cool J why he wanted to become an actor. LL Cool J already had a successful acting career, so why did he choose to make the switch? Here’s what the star said:

I didn’t want to limit myself. I felt like I had the ability. I’ll even be more candid. The first time I went to a record company, I said, ‘You know, I’m thinking about doing a new record. I’d like to get an advance, get a check on a record. And the guy started adjusting himself in his seat. And I said, I’m not going to be handcuffed to his game.

I said, I have to be able to do different things. I have the talent, I have the ability—with humility—but if I have the talent and the ability to do something, I’m going after my dreams, period. I’m not going to be doing one thing just to be doing it.

Read more: The Moment LL Cool J’s Family Had a Change of Heart About His Rap Career

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