Lance Gross is ready for action. Best known for flexing his comedic chops on Tyler Perry's House of Payne, the Oakland native can now be seen gallantly fighting bad guys as U.S. Secret Service agent Marcus Finley on the new NBC drama Crisis, which debuts this Sunday.
"I've been wanting to sink my teeth into action for years and it's finally happening," he says.
With this full-bodied role, packed with both toughness and tenderness (his character protects the president's son), Gross will exceed fans' expectations and undoubtedly attract new admirers. "I don't want to be stuck in the same romantic comedies or sitcoms," says Gross, 32. "Projects that are different and more rugged and mature have always caught my eye."
But a possible boost to his status as a sex symbol makes the self-confessed monogamist a little uncomfortable. (Previously engaged to actress and model Eva Marcille—the two split in 2010—Gross has found love again with stylist Rebecca Jefferson.) "It's crazy every time I hear heartthrob and sex symbol. I'm just Lance Gross," says the budding photographer, who splits his time between Los Angeles and Chicago, where he shoots Crisis.
"I'm a regular dude. I don't like the numbers game. I'm not into putting notches on my belt. I get one dope chick and that's all I need."