Actor Lance Gross, who's accustomed to playing the good guy in his film and television roles, said he sought prayer after portraying a pimp in the upcoming TV One crime drama "When Love Kills: The Falicia Blakely Story."
The 36-year-old actor who rose to fame on the Tyler Perry sitcom "House of Pain" said his latest role started to interfere with his family life and required a lot of prayer.
"It was one of those roles that I may need therapy for. ... I had to detox and I had to pray a lot," Gross told Page Six. "I had a very small argument with my wife. I said something that Dino would say. It was not me. I was like, 'Wait ... let me chill out. This is not me!"
Still, Gross said it was important for him to pursue something different in his acting career.
"I needed to break out of the lane that I was in because I was so comfortable," the actor said.
The TV film drama, "When Love Kills: The Falicia Blakely Story," is based on the true story of Falicia Blakely, a teenage mother-turned-stripper who fell into a life of crime after falling in love with a pimp named Dino in Atlanta, Georgia. At 19, Blakely confessed to killing three men in two days in 2002 with the help of fellow stripper, Ameshia Ervin, who also helped her commit robbery.
Now 33, Blakely is serving a life sentence at a Georgia prison. Christian actress Tasha Smith decided to sign on to bring Blakely's story to television in her directorial debut because she wanted to look for the humanity in the crime.
"Art is important because sometimes you have to see the state of a culture or an experience. Through filmmaking we get to deliver a message," she told the New York Post. "Some people may watch [the movie] and say, 'Wow I never want to be a Falicia. Let me be careful to take care of myself and be as healthy as I can so that I can acknowledge the kind of love I'm allowed to have."
Smith said she was moved by Blakely's story which began with a rough childhood. As a Christian, the actress said she would tell the imprisoned woman that God still forgives her in spite of her crimes.
"Earlier today, somebody asked me what I would say to Falicia if I had the chance to speak to her. I would just say, 'I forgive you, God forgives you, and now you have to forgive yourself,'" she said told EBONY magazine. "There are so many young girls out there who have a story, and I just wanted to bring some compassion to it. So, that's why it touched me, and I thought I would just do it some justice."
"When Love Kills: The Falicia Blakely Story" premieres on TV One at 9 p.m. ET on Aug. 28.