In a turbulent industry that’s seen even the brightest stars dim almost as quickly as they first gleamed, Tahj Mowry – at the ripe age of 34-years-young – already boasts a resume that spans over three decades (a feat few twice his age can boast).
Helping to cement the Mowry name as one of the most revered families in entertainment, Tahj – best known for his television roles as ‘Teddy’ on the classic sitcom ‘Full House’ and the lovable know-it-all ‘TJ’ on ‘Smart Guy’ – has navigated diverse duties over his tenure that’s included forays into film, music, and much more.
As he enters the next chapter of his career, the veteran actor exclusively told That Grape Juice much of his future will include journeys to the past. In addition to his recently unveiled film, ‘Welcome Matt,’ he’s pushing forward with the long-awaited reboot of his 90’s hit sitcom, ‘Smart Guy,’ as well as reuniting with the show’s star – Essence Atkins – on a new Viola Davis-produced venture alongside fellow TV vets Tisha Campbell, Sherri Shepherd, and more.
See how he dished on all of this and more inside:
That Grape Juice: Let’s talk about ‘Welcome Matt.’ For those of us who may not know what the film is about, give us a quick synopsis.
Tahj: It’s about a writer/director who gains a little bit of fame from the first movie he writes and directs. During the process of gearing up for his next film, he goes through a traumatic experience that derails him and leads to a dark place where he ultimately discovers he suffers from Agoraphobia (the fear of going outside or be in open or public spaces).
He thinks the next best thing is to write, star in, and direct his next movie all from his home. Later, he finds out that is the dumbest idea ever.
That Grape Juice: Though a comedy, I appreciate how ‘Welcome Matt’ tackles the very serious subject matter of mental health.
Tahj: It’s representation for mental health in the black community, which we don’t see as much as we should. I am so excited to be able to be the face of that for people out here – kids and these adults who are struggling with anxiety, panic attacks, phobias, depression, and more.
That Grape Juice: What drew you to the script?
Tahj: I had been looking for something to show myself in a different light for a long time. When I read [the script], I was like, ‘I have to do this film because it’s hilarious, dramatic, and it’ll allow me to stretch my acting.’
That Grape Juice: Has the real-life Tahj had any difficulty transitioning back into “normal life” as the impact of the pandemic wanes?
Tahj: I wouldn’t say it’s difficult; it’s more weird. I’m a homebody anyway, so I feel like quarantine was made for people like me. But, I feel like a lot of us have sort of forgotten how to be social if it’s not on Zoom or FaceTime.
That Grape Juice: Same here, so I feel you! Switching gears a bit, let’s talk about ‘Black Don’t Crack’ – the recently announced sitcom which reunites you with your former ‘Smart Guy’ co-star Essence Atkins. What can you tell us about that?
Tahj: It’s being shopped around to find the perfect home, but I tell you the show is hilarious! It was nothing but a blessing to be on set with Essence again because she’s a big sister to me. It’s produced by Viola Davis and Regina Hicks, Sherri Shepherd plays my mom, and we have Queen Tisha Campbell on the show too.
Working with that cast and crew was truly a beautiful experience and I can’t wait until we do find the right network.
That Grape Juice: Of course, the news of your reunion with Essence only excited fans looking for that ‘Smart Guy’ reboot. Are you tired of people asking about that at this point?
Tahj: I’m not tired at all, because it’s going to happen. Actually, that was one of the major things I was getting together and working on during quarantine. There’s been lots of conversations about it.
We do have a home for it and we do have a writer; it’s just about timing. It will happen and it’s gonna be fire.
That Grape Juice: Has the original cast expressed interest in reuniting?
Tahj: I can promise you will see everybody back together, but we also have to remember everybody’s working and has their own schedules.
I guarantee you I was able to come up with a very fresh and really dope take on how we can bring everyone back together now. It’s been years since we’ve seen the family.
That Grape Juice: From ‘Full House’ to ‘Welcome Matt,’ your career has taken you far on the big and small screen. What would you say is the biggest difference between TV and film acting?
Tahj: The biggest difference would be the time it takes to film and the amount of time that you have to dive into a character. With a TV show, you have a weekly timeframe to give the audience who that character really is whereas in a film, you only have two hours or so.
That Grape Juice: Finally, what else is on the Tahj timeline for the near future?
Tahj: I wrote my first film and it’ll actually be my directorial debut. It’s the horror genre, but it’s definitely special. It’s gonna shock a lot of people.
You’ll just start to see me in different avenues. I’m very, very excited about that.