The name Isaiah Mustafa doesn’t mean anything to most people, but everyone knows who he is.
The actor, best known as the “Old Spice Guy,” begins a multi-episode arc on ABC’s “Charlie’s Angels” starting Thursday (Sept. 29).
Mustafa plays Ray Goodson, a Miami Beach police detective who was engaged to “Angel” Kate Prince (Annie Ilonzeh). As the storyline goes, two also worked together before Goodson found out Prince was a crooked cop. At that point their relationship went south and Goodson called off the wedding.
But in the upcoming episode, the two are thrown back together. As Mustafa explains with a matrimonial pun, “For better or for worse, he needs her help.”
While Mustafa’s stint with the series is just a few shows, producers have left the door open for a return.
“At the end of the last episode…there’s a question, a little turn, in the relationship and it can lead to several different ways,” Mustafa says. “Each one would prolong Ray’s appearance on the show.”
When asked whether this might include a rekindling of his character’s romance with Kate, Mustafa lets out a hearty belly laugh seemingly indicating something might transpire.
“Honestly that’s a great question,” he says coyly.
It’s been an interesting ride for Mustafa since his days as an NFL practice squad player.
He began acting professionally in 2006 with a series of bit parts on TV shows and in movies. But it was his role as the quirky yet cocksure Old Spice pitchman that shot him into popular consciousness. And he’s grateful for the chance.
“Any time where I get an opportunity to keep working is a good time in my career,” he says. “The roles I’ve been getting have been progressively…bigger and bigger, which is great.”
Mustafa’s career trajectory is on the incline, having landed parts in numerous films including the upcoming Farrelly Brothers picture “The Three Stooges.” In the movie Mustafa plays a network executive, but he was mum on details other than saying he “had an amazing time on set.”
Of course it is still the Old Spice ads that get him recognition. Mustafa embraces that celebrity without reservation.
“When I see people and they really enjoy it and get a kick out if it, how can you be upset with that? Somebody’s laughing at you and they genuinely enjoy the fact that you’re humoring them. I enjoy it,” he says.
If the actor’s career continues like he hopes, some day soon people will simply refer to him as Isaiah Mustafa.