Tue | Jan 18, 2022

Five Questions with Nick Creegan

Published:Friday | December 3, 2021 | 12:06 AMStephanie Lyew/Gleaner Writer

Somewhere in-between the imagination of a seven-year-old boy playing the role of a talk-show host entertaining an audience of stuffed animals and action figures in his childhood bedroom, and being a distinguished sports journalist, interviewing professional athletes in adulthood, Nick Creegan discovered a whole new world — or more so, it found him.

Having built a reputable career in journalism with networks such as ESPN and Fox News, and as a host of AOL’s original sports comedy series 2 Point Lead, he was already exposed to the lights, camera and action of show business, but he changed the script as he went on to pursue acting.

Born in White Plains, New York, and raised in a single-parent home by a Jamaican mother, the journalist-turned-actor has always managed to pay tribute to a rich heritage, artistically, that is a root in his tree of success.

Creegan’s first role was Desmond in the Oprah Winfrey Network’s David Makes Man. It was offered to him in 2018 after the casting team happened to view a viral video clip of the then journalist speaking in a Jamaican accent about an extra container of oxtail gravy he had received from a New York City restaurant owner.

“In Jamaican restaurants in New York, that just doesn’t happen, and because it was so unbelievable, I decided to do a comedy sketch about it,” he told The Gleaner. It was another two years before landing his next role, which, Creegan said, “in the grand scheme of things, it really isn’t a long time”.

“Compared to a lot of my friends who are actors, I have been very blessed, in the sense that I haven’t had to go too long without working,” he continued.

Creegan shared that 2021 forced actors to become resourceful, and feels blessed to have landed several major roles this year alone. He is coming off a season of playing Richie Wheatley Jr on NBC’s hit series Law & Order: Organized Crime, and is currently in Vancouver shooting for Batwoman. He makes a lot of sense as the newest character jetting over to Gotham City as a regular cast member playing the purple-haired Marquis Jet, who was recently revealed as the neo-millennial version of ‘The Joker’ character most will know as a classic villain in Batman. In this week’s Five Questions with..., Creegan tells how he relates to this new version of The Joker and shares some personal nuggets.

The Joker is known for being a rebel. Do you relate or share any similarities to the character?

They first described the character as this playboy type that’s spoiled and rich and just sneaky, but the day before I flew from NY to Vancouver to shoot it, the executive producer FaceTimed me and said, ‘Hey Nick, I want to talk about your character and the direction of where it’s headed’. And I said, ‘Well, I know he creates a little havoc,’ and she said, ‘Well not a little, but a lot, because you’re going to become the first actor of colour to play The Joker.’

I do consider myself a rebel, actually; outside of the fact that the character I am playing is doing things that are terrible, like murdering people (and that’s not okay), I can relate to the loss he has and the pain from the childhood he had. Yeah… you’re going to hate him at some points, but the goal of my character – what I want you to think about – is that a lot of us have felt misunderstood at times; for example, when we choose a different path than what other people might want us to take. Like your parents may say you need to do this or that, and you’re like no, I want to be this or that.

In regard to Jamaican heritage, one of my biggest influences who I look up to is Bob Marley, and I would consider him a rebel. I would consider a lot of Jamaica’s national heroes to be rebels. Black people, on a whole, are rebels. [We] would still be enslaved if we didn’t have a rebel inside us.

So, like Marquis Jet, who clashes with his mother in ‘Batwoman’, did you find yourself clashing with your mom while growing up?

Well, my mom was never against anything I wanted to do. She was my biggest supporter. From an early age, she saw me creating a talk-show set and performing with my stuffed animals, or when I would act like I was filling in for Jay Leno. I remember for one birthday, she gifted me with a microphone. She always supported my creativity. I think she could tell I wasn’t going to be a normal child.

What foods are a must-have when you come to Jamaica?

Breakfast: Ackee and salt fish, with some coconut oil over it and a little bit of Scotch bonnet cut up. I’ll have that with fried bammy and some boiled dumplings. Sliced mangoes and pineapple. A big glass of cold Milo, not hot, because it’s hot outside. Lunch: A nice red snapper brown stew or escoveitched, and coconut water. I’d probably have that with some fried green plantain. Dinner: Curried goat with white rice and roti, and more fried sweet plantain. I don’t like rice and peas with curried goat; but if it’s rice and peas, it haffi be shelly, with coconut milk smelling strong. Or I have to have some oxtail.

What would have been the most interesting interview you did when you were a journalist?

I have had a lot of interesting ones. Now, the most shocking interview I’ve done is the one with Derek Jeter back in 2015. That was probably my first professional interview out of college, and interviewing a megastar at that. He had just retired [from] baseball and was launching a company – The Players’ Tribune – and I was covering that event. I kid you not, it sounds crazy, but when he walked into the room, I felt his aura, and I was like, I was to interview one of the most famous athletes of all time. We were talking, and his PR was trying to control the questions, and he stopped the interview and said, ‘Let him ask me whatever he wants to ask me.’ Jeter basically gave me free [rein] to ask him about life, his love life, and everything after baseball, and it is one of my favourite interviews to this day.

So it’s safe to assume you’re open to answering this question then. Is Nick Creegan single, or is he also a ‘sexy playboy’ like his character?

Yes. I am single. You have to ask them. I don’t know what they are saying [about me being a sexy playboy]. This is interesting because I started out as a corporate professional. I was used to being public on social media with whomever I was dating. Now, I am so focused on my career. Sometimes I feel like I don’t have time to date. I feel like it wouldn’t be fair to the woman or to myself. I would need someone who can understand there are certain days I don’t have time, I am tired, or I don’t have time to converse when I come home. At this time, I am interested to meet new people, and I am having a good time. I just try to carry myself as the same Nick I have always been, and I am careful who I give my energy to.