Interview with Ice Cube & O’Shea Jackson Jr.
With Straight Outta Compton already a huge box U.S office hit, producer and icon Ice Cube hits the red carpet with son O’Shea Jackson Jr in Sydney for the Australian premiere. Ice Cube has been in movies since first making an impression in Boyz n the Hood (1991) and is the producer of this ten year passion project.
SAB – Is the legendary soundtrack as relevant now as it was when released in the 1980s?
ICE CUBE – People all over have been waiting for this story. It had been entertained around the NWA family tree for years, you got Eminem, you got Snoop (Dogg), you got Beats by Dre and you got a thousand movies with me! None of that would have happened without NWA so people are coming out to see where it all started, I’m proud of that.
SAB – The younger generation might not have necessarily grown up with your music but because it’s always been around and important to hip hop culture in general, what does it mean to you that your music and movie remains relevant?
IC – Great, of course my generation know what happened but to show a new generation this splice of history, splice of how it went down straight from the horses mouth so to speak, it is fantastic the response to the movie. They seem to be watching it over and over again, that’s a beautiful thing.
SAB – The fact the authenticity is because of you, is that what you like most?
IC – That was my dream come true to tell our own story in a way we wanted to tell it. Director F. Gary Gray did a magnificent job, cast is wonderful, we got a great movie here.
SAB – As a producer, how hard was it to get this movie going? Did any studios turn you down?
IC – It was extremely hard. You know I’ve been trying to get this movie made for over ten years! With only the last four, it started to pick up momentum and is one of the hardest projects I have ever done in my life. Every single day was a grind to keep it together.
SAB – How happy are you with the performance of O’Shea portraying you?
IC – He had to audition, you know for over two years we put him through the ringer mainly because I knew he would get lots of scrutiny if he wasn’t ready. I think, no I know he did a magnificent job, he was the best man for it. I knew it (laughs), he believed in himself, he did the hard work and it paid off.
SAB – Why do you think it has been a massive hit in the US so quickly, maybe due to the controversy or classic music?
IC – It’s ultimately a story about five guys, story of brotherhood, story of break up to make up, rags to riches, David vs Goliath, freedom of speech, all that wrapped into one good movie that audiences have related to. It makes me proud.
SAB – Well done mate and I loved you in Anaconda.
IC – (laughs and gives me a big smile) Oh thank you Shane.
O’Shea Jackson Jr walks over waving at fans then turns his attention to me with an outstretched hand to shake.
SAB – G’day O’Shea, astounding first movie. Are you going to keep acting?
OJr – Definitely, it was a two year audition process with three different acting coaches. I put so much energy into it. I refuse that this will be my only film.
SAB – Speaking of the process, was it hard to land the role?
OJr – Very difficult, anybody who thinks acting is easy or that being in any role is easy does not have respect for the craft. It took a lot of energy, a lot of my time and other people’s time, I thank all who helped me or I wouldn’t be here.
SAB – Did you feel more pressure because of your dad?
OJr – I personally put more pressure on myself. This all started by me choosing not to sit in a theatre and see someone else portray him and me not think it was up to par or not feel it. So I had to make sure the ball was in my hands to cement my family legacy in cinema forever.
SAB – With this role you have perfected as icon Ice Cube, or doing your own music, did he give you much advice?
OJr – To make sure whatever I do, my heart is in it or it will show up if it’s not.
SAB – What do you think of music now as opposed to the NWA era, any influences?
OJr – Extremely influential, especially when bands have something to say, they are kind of stepping in the footsteps of NWA. Everyone seems to want to talk about this generation of music and speak down on it, but there has been bad songs within every generation. There’s still plenty of great artists with things to say.
SAB – How old were you when you first started to hear or recognise these NWA songs?
OJr – My older brother showed me when I was about 12/13 years old, I’m a little biased on solo Ice Cube for obvious reasons but he showed me his roots, where he came from and I’ve been rockin’ ever since. It’s part of my life.
SAB – Did you have a swear jar around the house as a kid?
OJr – Ahhh no (laughs), not at all. If you know the words and understand what you’re saying, you can say it. That was always the rule in the house.
MUST SEE CUBE MOVIES (AS ACTOR): Anaconda – Boyz n the Hood – Three Kings – Higher Learning – Friday – Ride Along – 21/22 Jump Street.
Shane A. BassettSydney Unleashed is one of Australia’s premier entertainment publications exploring the latest in lifestyle trends. From Sydney’s finest restaurants, cafes and bars to the hottest in gadgets, products, and home entertainment, Sydney Unleashed is your one-stop lifestyle platform.