Thankfully, Ice Cube understands our wicked obsession. It’s been 16 years since he made the stoner cult classic Friday – and Cube himself has turned in some pretty critically impressive performances since then, thank you very much – but all we can talk about is that simple little movie about a day gone wrong in South Central L.A.
In the years since, Friday has become a medicine for many of us. It’s this religion based in ignorant, everyday, trifling comedy – and we still love every ounce of it.
We need to see Craig, Smokey, Deebo, Rita at 7:30 and the rest of the gang back on the silver screen. Pronto. Cube’s heard those requests – and social media threats, let’s keep it real – loud and clear. And he’s working on it.
The actor is currently on the campaign trail, drumming up support for his 30th film credit in the film adaptation 21 Jump Street, out next week. But the only question journalists, fans and people on the street keep asking the gangsta-rapper-turned-Hollywood-big-shot is when is he going to bring the original Friday characters back to the big screen? “It’s a movie, basically, about hanging out. You know,” Cube chuckles, admitting he’s a bit bewildered at times of people’s fascination with the flick. “And just to see so many people invested in it and so many people quote the movie and love the movie … is … wow. That’s the most requests I get: ‘When is another Friday movie coming?’ I’ll get on Twitter and be like ‘Yo, I’m out in Chicago promoting 21 Jump Street,’ and they’ll be like, ‘yeah, we gonna see that. But f— all that. When is Friday coming?’ I gotta make sure I get this movie to the people. They want it. That’s my job is to deliver.”
Here’s what else the former NWA hip-hop superstar had to say:
EBONY.COM: This is your 30th TV/film credit. Quite the milestone. What does that say to you?
Ice Cube: That I got some work to do if I want to catch some of these other actors! It just tells me that the film-going audience likes what I present and that’s helped my longevity. I’m just happy to still be around, still be doing movies that people are into. I don’t know if you can ask for more.
EBONY.COM: Does it surprise you that this is where your career is now? When we talked last summer, we were chatting about how it’d been 20 years since Boyz in the Hood, your first film role, came out.
IC: Not really surprised, because when I look at the landscape it’s like, this is the place you want to be. It seems like I’ve taken the natural progressions. I don’t think I’ve forced anything. I went the only path I could go as a rapper, to one trying to be more embedded in entertainment.
EBONY.COM: It seems that was a successful transition, because there’s a generation of people out there who really know you as an actor who raps, but as a rapper who turned into an actor.
IC: Yeah, that’s true. But I guess that’s a tribute to some of the movies I’ve done, I think. I’ve been memorable to the point where people don’t remember my whole history.
EBONY.COM: Let’s talk Friday. Are you doing a new movie with the original cast?
IC: Yeah, you know, we going to invite everybody back, you know, and hopefully everybody shows up.
EBONY.COM: How soon are you guys going to go into production for that film?
IC: Well, I’ve started writing, so as soon as I get this script together then we’ll start casting and putting it together and getting locations and might be really in pre-production. We’re going to get it to the point where we’re in pre-production. To me, that’s when I know movie’s getting made —when we in pre-production.
EBONY.COM: Friday’s like a therapy or religion for some people. Does that surprise you after all these years, that people are still so hungry to see all the original cast back on screen?
IC: It’s pleasantly surprising!
EBONY.COM: Is that what made you finally cave in and finally do it?
IC: Just the thought of being able to have everybody back. You know to me that’s the reason why you make the movie, is because you can get everybody back. And I was anxious to give the people what they want. And I’m really hoping Chris [Tucker] feels the same way.
EBONY.COM: When will you find out if he’s going to give you an official yes?
IC: When I present the script to him , and hopefully he like what he sees and wants to do the movie. I’m willing to make whatever changes he wants to make to get him in it, because I think it’s very important for the fans of the series to see everybody back together. And there’s no good reason for him not to do it. I can’t think of a good reason.
EBONY.COM: So you’re thinking the film will be out in 2013 then?
IC: Hopefully. If we get this script tight and we start shooting this summer, we definitely will be out by hopefully early 2013. I don’t want to give no quotes and have people say, ‘Alright, that’s what you said!’ But yeah, that’s kinda what we’re shooting for.
EBONY.COM: Last we time talked, you mentioned the NWA movie. Any progress with that one?
IC: Oh yeah, it’s a lot of progress with that. You know, we got a script that’s decent. It’s time to take that script to the next level. We’re interviewing directors and it’s in full motion. So I’m excited about both of those projects.
EBONY.COM: The NWA movie is your life story, though. Will you need to divorce yourself from the project a bit so that it’s well-rounded?
IC: Yeah, it’s going to be a little weird. I’m going to be extra anal about the project. But I think it’s really going to enhance what I do, you know? When it’s your life you can’t let nothing slide. It gotta be right. So I think I can remove myself and not just, you know, tell what everybody else did bad and not tell about what I did and it be like that. It’s going to be an honest look at what made the world’s most dangerous group.
EBONY.COM: What are you looking for in the actor who portrays you?
IC: Just somebody that feels solid. I think that’s one of my best characteristics: I’m a solid person that’s not weak. I just need somebody to be solid and mean what they say.
EBONY.COM: What will people be surprised to learn about NWA when this film finally gets out there?
IC: How much fun we had and how funny we were. You know, it wasn’t all about being gangster, but it was all about being funny too. If you listen to those records, there’s comedy in those records. I think that’s what people are going to be surprised at: in the midst of all this, we was just having so much fun…until the money came.
You gotta understand, we from the hood, but we were creative dudes from the hood. So we were always in there trying to create something that was fly or dope. That’s kinda where our heads was at. We used to shoot little movies, and mess around with camcorders and stuff, waste time, and clown.
EBONY.COM: So you were even playing in the Hollywood game before you were playing in the Hollywood game?
IC: Yeah, in a lot of ways. We put together skits and, you know, used to have fun. Hollywood Shuffle was one of our favorite movies.
EBONY.COM: Would you watch that on the tour bus a lot?
IC: Yep and quote the lines. That’s what made me use John Witherspoon as my father in Friday.
EBONY.COM: I know this is like asking you to pick your favorite child, but what’s your favorite line from Friday?
IC: “Dammmmmmmmmmn!” You know, our reaction when we see Nia Long running. I mean it seems like everybody used that. And I guess my other favorite, favorite line is, ‘You got knocked the f*uck out!’ Nothing is better than that.
EBONY.COM: It’s funny because you talked about Hollywood Shuffle being your cult favorite movie, and then years later you created one with Friday. Is that surreal?
IC: Yeah, it’s a dream come true. Everybody wants that movie up under their belt. You know, everybody want that Car Wash movie or that movie that was just neighborhood classic. And, you know, I was part of one with Boyz in the Hood and then producing one with Friday. It is surreal because here I was going to the movie theaters laughing my ass off at a movie like Hollywood Shuffle, and not believing that they took it that far and coming back with the same kind of experience. Hopefully there’s some young filmmaker out there that sat in the back of the movie theater, saw Friday, and thought the same.
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EBONY Entertainment Editor