January 20, 2014

Ferris State Basketball Alumnus John Kap One Of Stars In Nation's Number One Movie This Week

Story Courtesy FSU News Services

Big Rapids, Mich. - A Ferris State University alumnus and former Bulldog men's basketball player has played a major role as a co-star in Universal's recently-released movie Ride Along, which premiered this past weekend in record-breaking fashion as the nation's number one film.

"Big" John Kap co-starred in the release of the action/comedy film "Ride Along" with stars Ice Cube and Kevin Hart. The film wracked up a superb $41.2 million in its Martin Luther King record-breaking weekend.

Son of Walter and Delores Kap, and raised since the age of 12 in the Chippewa Lake and Big Rapids area after moving from Detroit, Kap played basketball at Ferris thanks to the encouragement of former assistant coach Gary Waters. Kap transferred from Laramie Community College, where he had a full-ride scholarship.

"Knee problems ended my playing career in my junior year, but three men from Ferris really helped me become the man I am today," says Kap. "In addition to Coach Waters, there's legendary coach Jim Wink. Although I didn't play for him, I spent many hours as a young man hanging out at the gym. He and Coach Waters were like fathers to me! Also, Hockey Coach John Perpich made me head strength coach for the team in 1988."

Kap speaks fondly of his teen years growing up in the shadow of Ferris State University, a place where he ultimately became a Bulldog basketball player and a place from which Kap said, "I got a great education … which has helped me in every aspect of my life — professionally as well as personally. I made lifelong friends I hold dear to this day."

Now based in Atlanta, Kap was excited to watch his current major project become a reality with the Friday, Jan. 17 release of "Ride Along." and was part of the big premiere party for the movie this past Friday in Atlanta. It has been a labor of love. This role was a process that was three years in the making for the 6-foot-8, 350-pound Kap, who previously enjoyed a successful career as a professional wrestler for Ted Turner's World Championship Wrestling.

"People will sometimes look at you and say 'man, you're an overnight sensation,'" Kap started to say. "The reality is that this was three years in the making … three years of actor training and me paying my dues to get to this point. Everything I've done in my life has prepared me for these kinds of opportunities. One of the things that will sometimes separate the people who make it from the people who don't make it is perseverance. You have to outlast all of the others who are competing for the same thing."

The long process that has led Kap to where he is today, starring in films and television shows, was far from that of the overnight sensation. What has changed, however, is the attention he is increasingly receiving as a result of his work in "Ride Along". The anticipation for the film continues to build, according to Kap, who said, "Some people are already saying that 'Ride Along' could be in the line of previous cop films like 'Bad Boys,' 'Lethal Weapon' and 'Rush Hour.' There's a lot of excitement and I'm already scheduled to be in 'Ride Along 2.'

"As an actor, appearing in movie trailers and television commercials is huge," said Kap, who discussed the marketing aspects that go along with making a film, including: appearances, autographs and the most recent and increasingly important reality – having a quality and strong social media presence. "Once you're in the trailers and the TV commercials, you're now in front of millions of people."

Kap appeared in all of the "Ride Along" movie trailers and 90 percent of its television commercials leading up to the film's release.

The Internet Movie Database description of 'Ride Along' describes the action/comedy film as "Fast-talking security guard Ben joins his cop brother-in-law James on a 24-hour patrol of Atlanta in order to prove himself worthy of marrying Angela, James' sister." Kap enjoyed every bit of the making of 'Ride Along' and the time he spent with Ice Cube and Hart.

"Working with Kevin and Cube has been a great experience for me," Kap said. "Kevin Hart is so funny. He has everyone constantly laughing. One thing about Kevin is that he is such a hard worker and a marketing genius. He is all about his business. Cube is the technical guy who wants to make sure that all aspects of a project are running the way they're supposed to run. It has been great to work with both guys."

The journey has been special for Kap who, as a kid, grew up near Ferris, where his mom, Dee Kap, was an employee for 25 years before she passed away. His Ferris time brought Kap into contact with people who made a lasting impression on him. His memories are particularly fond when he thinks about Jim Wink, the longtime men's basketball coach; Gary Waters, a top Bulldog basketball player who eventually transitioned into coaching; and John Perpich, a hockey coach who brought Kap aboard as a strength and conditioning coach. He credits those men and others for their positive influence on his future.

As for that future, it looks bright for Kap. His upcoming projects include four episodes on Tyler Perry's "The Haves and the Have Not's," the BET movie "Start Up" with Diggy Simmons and Bria Murphy, a summer film titled "Let's Be Cops" with Damon Wayans Jr. and James D'Arcy and more.

Part of growing into the man he is today started with his willingness to step out of his comfort zone to pursue a career as an actor.

"This whole thing with 'Ride Along' has been amazing for my career," Kap said. "For three years, no one was interested in anything I had to say. Working on this project has changed everything around for me."

But, one thing will never change for Kap, "I'm 100 percent FSU Bulldog."

The film is rated PG-13 and does have some adult content and language.

To read a previous Ferris State University story on Kap, visit:
http://www.ferris.edu/HTMLS/parentinfo/success/2013/kap/homepage.htm

John Kap's Internet Movie Database: 
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1408253/

Follow Kap on Twitter: 
https://twitter.com/BigJohnkap

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