Jocko Sims returns in 3rd season of The Last Ship

Jocko Sims returns in 3rd season of The Last Ship
Written and interviewed by Tocarra Eldridge
Photo Credit: Photographer Diana Ragland

Recently, TNT announced the season 3 premiere for “The Last Ship” having a two-hour episode on Sunday, June 12thJocko Sims, known for TV series and films such as “Crash,” “Masters of Sex”, and “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes,” just to name several, will return on the hit series with his amazing character that we know as Lt. Carlton Burk.

Outside of acting, Jocko hosts Apollo Night LA radio show with his mother Karen Sims, a.k.a. Cinnamon where he showcases all genres of unsigned/indie music artists. Some of the show’s past guest include Faith Evans, Ja Rule, Jamie Foxx and Kim Whitley. Also, he is a part of numerous community initiatives where he speaks on panels and makes countless appearances.

I had the opportunity to speak to Jocko Sims about his career and initiatives. Here is what the amazing actor has to share.

Tocarra Eldridge: You play the role of Lt. Carlton Burk on the TNT series “The Last Ship” which returns this summer for a 3rd season. Will your fans get to see anything new and exciting about your character when you return next season?
Jocko Sims: Yes, one thing that is different this season is that Lt. Burk has a brother. His name is Cameron Burk and he’s played by LaMonica Garrett. He is a great actor; just a terrific guy. As far as the story goes, he has survived over the last four months being off the ship. He found a way to do it on his own, so he’s a tough guy. He comes back on the ship and we have to work together. So, you’re going to see a little bit of comedy, a little bit of sibling rivalry. We bump heads a little bit. LaMonica Garrett is just a great guy. It’s fun working with him.

Tocarra: What do you like most about working with the producers and such a talented cast on the show?
Jocko: The first thing that you would notice if you are a guest when you come on this set is how close everybody is and how wonderful the energy and the spirit is on the set. A lot of the cast members were new. You have a lot of green people come on and they are grateful. The longer you are in this business the more you tend to expect things to go certain ways and it cannot be as friendly. Because we are all so excited and happy to have this job and be on this series, and especially to have a 3rd season coming up – the energy is great, the writing is awesome. They often tend to incorporate bits of your personality in the characters whenever they can fit it in.

Tocarra: When you where first booked for the show, did you have any challenges regarding getting into character as a lieutenant?
Jocko: This is probably the toughest character I’ve ever played. I usually play more cerebral characters like lawyers and detectives. Particularly this guy, Lieutenant Burk was really tough in the second episode where he’s being real hard on his guys. He’s yelling at them and getting them in shape. I didn’t believe that I could do it. Nonetheless, I went and I did the audition. I was quite surprised when I got the call and they said ‘you got it’. As far as preparing for the role I just decided on my own to get into better shape, to bulk up a little bit and pack some muscle on. Three years later I feel like I really identify with the character.

Tocarra: You also host a radio program called “Apollo Night LA” with your mother Karen Sims. How has that experience been for you working with you mother?
Jocko: Well, I like it because I’ve always been a fan of music first and foremost. I’ve always been a fan of making music. To have a format or a program where artists can demonstrate their talents and have it critiqued and possibly be seen by industry professionals is already something that I loved. Kudos to my mom who created the show! It was her idea originally for me to just host that show with my friends. I told her, “Well mom, I don’t want to do that. I want to focus on my acting and so forth.” So, she started it and I went to that first show just to help out, and I was hooked ever since. Here we are three years later, and the show is going and we’re having a lot of fun.

Tocarra: You also interview celebrities on your show as well. I see that you have interviewed JaRule. In the past I had the opportunity to interview him as well. Who are some of the individuals that you have had as guest on your show?
Jocko: Ja Rule was on the first year way back when. That was actually my first celebrity interview, so I was pretty nervous. That’s my boy. He is real cool. He always comes through. In the past year, we’ve had Envogue, which was really big for me because I just remember being young and my mom playing all of Envogue’s tapes and just loving their music. They were always so good, so talented. To have them in the studio, I’m just looking at them like ‘wow’! I remember being in San Antonio around the age of 9 or 10, and now here I am face to face with this talented powerhouse group. Same thing goes for Faith Evans. She came through and did the whole show with us. We had fun with her. Jamie Foxx was a fun episode. He is really really funny as you know. It’s been great. One more, KeKe Palmer was one of my favorites too. KeKe played my sister a couple years ago on a show called “Masters of Sex”. As I worked with her, I said ‘hey you gotta come do the show’. She said, ‘I would love to.’ We had a good time with her as well.

Tocarra: Last year, you participated in the “Men of TNT” panel at the American Black Film Festival (ABFF) in NYC. As a black actor and producer, do you feel as though we have come a long way when it comes to the film industry or do we still have a lot of ground to cover?
Jocko: I think it fluctuates. I think we have good seasons, I think we have bad seasons, and not so ok seasons. There was a time years ago when you turned on NBC or CBS and you saw “The Cosby Show”, “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air”. You saw “Martin” and “In Living Color” on Fox which was huge and what launched amazing long careers – Jim Carrey, Jennifer Lopez, Jamie Foxx, and the Wayans Brothers. I miss those days where you consistently had black entertainment or black culture consistently apart of something that everybody watched. “Def Comedy Jam” launched a lot of comedians and careers through Russell Simmons on HBO during the 90s as well. I feel like that kind of time has come and gone and I think it may be due to a few things. I think it has been this notion for a while with executives that Black shows aren’t watched by enough people, so therefore we can’t get enough ratings. We need to have these white shows and these white faces so that people will watch the shows. I think they’re wrong in that. They find that out time and time again, when they look at the movies that come out – “Think Like a Man I and II”, and all these movies and Black films that come out and end up being #1 at the box office. And that’s just the films. Then you go on television and you have shows like “Empire” which broke television records, not just for an African-American show, but just record breaking television with the viewers. It’s just incredible. They find that if they get the formula right, if they get the right writers and the right cast, it can work. Hopefully, they’ll take a look at these things and we’ll have a lot more of this stuff to come.

Tocarra: Do you have any advice or words of encouragement that you would like to share with up and coming and aspiring actors or actresses who are looking to be successful in the film industry?
Jocko: Yeah! I think a lot of people just overall – there’s a small fraction of people who begin this pursuit and don’t take seriously the amount of work that has to come into play. I personally studied theater for 5 years. I did five years of school before I had my first audition. I booked my first audition and I booked my second audition and I came out the gate swinging. I felt like I was very well prepared. And not just studying the craft and taking acting classes, but also understanding and learning the business. I took my time. I’m not saying everyone should go study for 5 years, but you should be studying. You should always be studying your craft. You should always be working with fellow actors. The cool thing about a class is not that you’re learning something or a technique that’s going to give you the key to go have success, but when you’re in class you’re around like-minded individuals. You’re around a group of people who have the same goal, who want to achieve the same goal. So, these questions of how do I get an agent, how do I get on set, well somebody in your class may be on set or somebody in your class may have an agent. That’s what happened to me, one of my good friends when I was in college said, “Hey, I think you’re good, and in this play we’re doing, I think you should be my stepdad who is an agent.” That’s how my career started. Had I not been in there, I don’t know how I would have gotten started. It’s kind of hard when you’re out there floating around by yourself. So, be around people who want the same thing, and you guys can go attack the business together. I also encourage young artist to write films, short stories, plays, full length films, television shows, and pilots for several reasons. Number one, you start to really gather and understand the process of writing and understand how to write scripts and stories. You’ll have a better grasp at it once somebody hands you a script. Number two, you never know you might be writing your “Rocky”. I grew up watching the “Rocky” movies, but I didn’t know until I got older that Sylvester Stallone had written those movies. He is a great example of somebody who just went out there and hit the pavement hard. You better believe he got a lot of No’s' initially, but look what’s it’s become. Here we are 20, 30 years later we have another sequel/spin off. You have to work hard, have a strong work ethic, surround yourself by like-minded people, take classes and write.
 

Follow Jocko Sims on Twitter: @JockoSims
Instagram: @JockoSims
Apollo Night LA: http://apollonightla.com



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