O’Shea “Ice Cube” Jackson may be a living Hip Hop legend with over two decades of history-making music under his belt, but he is equally prolific in the world of film. Since his first role as Doughboy in John Singleton‘s 1991 classic Boyz n the Hood, Ice Cube has proven himself to be a power player in Hollywood with credits of actor, writer, producer and/or director on over 25 feature films.
2010 has been a stellar year for the 41-year-old married father of four, as he released his 10th solo album, received great news about his television series Are We There Yet? and will be in theaters nationwide this Friday, August 20 with his new movie Lottery Ticket.
Ice Cube called up to let UrbLife.com in on the excitement about current projects and his upcoming work with Woody Harrelson. Can we expect a life story from Cube anytime soon? Read on…
The writers and directors for Lottery Ticket are new to the big screen. When you went into the executive producer position with your team how did you guys decide to get with them?
Ice Cube: That seems to be our forte over at Cube Vision, every other movie we’re working with a first time director from people like Kevin Bray (All About The Benjamins) and Steve Carr (Next Friday)… and the list goes on, with first-time director after first-time director. We love first-time directors because they know enough to put their style and stamp on a project, but they don’t know enough to produce the project. We can put our stamp on it, and our Cube Vision magic with their talent to be successful from that aspect of doing things.
Lottery Ticket is a comedy, but there was an obvious message about giving back – and it wasn’t pretentious. Was this message something that caught your eye about the script?
Ice Cube: When you’re dealing with a PG-13 comedy, there’s a lot of opportunities for those kinds of moments throughout the movie. With Barbershop we learned that people want the laughs but they also want to feel something, like they got a new perspective on things, that they learned something or that something was said that they know needs to be said in the world.
People want to leave with that sense of satisfaction. There are also things in this movie that seem stereotypical, like the projects, but we wanted someone to come from what society thinks is the bottom [and rise]all the way to the top. That’s everybody’s dream.
In your character Mr. Washington, you aged yourself and played a sort of antihero who comes out and shows he has a heart. Was there any particular inspiration behind that?
Ice Cube: I wanted to represent [elderly people]… they’ve basically shut themselves in. I wanted to show that there are some young people that are going to do the right thing no matter where they come from. It’s that hope that brings Mr. Washington out of the house and back into life. Our elders want to have that hope that we’ll have someone coming from the wrong place and doing the right thing.
You simultaneously have other movie projects you’re working on and the Are We There Yet? series on television. Has it been picked up for a second season yet, and how far along are you with the movies you’re working on?
Ice Cube: Fortunately we’ve been picked up for 90 episodes, which is about five or six seasons. That’s a big deal. We were able to come in at TBS through the door that Tyler Perry made possible. I have to give that brother a lot of credit for having this model where doing 10 shows can get you 90. It’s a good thing, we were able to take advantage of that opportunity to bring Are We There Yet? to TV.
A lot of people are dealing with blended families where you have a single mother trying to make it work with a new man. We’re going to have a lot of fun, but we’re doing it with class and hopefully people will dig it.
Right now I have a movie coming out with Woody Harrelson called Rampart, and it’s about one of the worst divisions of the LAPD and how they deal with corruption. I play a homicide detective who’s trying to bring down a bad cop, so it’s a pretty good role.
Is the rumored Welcome Back Kotter project ever going to happen?
Ice Cube: I think that’s dead in the water, the company behind it killed it off.
You started blogging recently on IceCube.com, and your stories are awesome… but would you ever write a book about your life?
Ice Cube: I haven’t thought about it. People have approached me with the idea, but I always feel like I have so much more to do. I haven’t considered it because I’m so busy looking forward, that to start looking back might have me walking backwards.
When people go out to the theaters to see Lottery Ticket, what do you want them to take from the movie?
Ice Cube: I want them to have fun and realize that while everybody has this dream to make it, you should be careful what you wish for. It’s a fantasy that’s really wrapped in a lot of reality, because with money comes problems and we have to solve our problems. Maybe if we weren’t so materialistic we would realize that what matters is the people who were there before the money.
The movie is fun and all, but it takes its turns… It takes you on an emotional ride a little bit, and that’s cool, because that’s what everybody wants.
Follow Ice Cube on Twitter @IceCube!