Post-hypnotic bling-bling doesn’t mean that much to me, and the hype is played out. I have about as much interest in this cross-cultural backlash as I do in scaphism. Movies that cater to the caterwauling inner-city youth trapped inside the heart of every suburbanite kid have been done to death, or am I mistaken?
I like the character aspects of its iconography. What I don’t like is being preached to about blacks and whites, and their respective roles in this Hollywood community. Its blah, blah, blah...Hire a f*cking Chinese guy, for God's sake. Ah, they’ll never learn...
I was just three short hours from hopping on a boat. I didn’t have time for roundtable discussions about the repercussions of a harmless teenage comedy. That’s why I turned to my homeless friend Lil' Pimp Sh*t. If nothing else, he could go down to the harbor and harpoon himself a free hotel lunch. But Xjan the Rapping Hobo jumped in my face, telling me I’d sold out, "You can't use that cock-rub. He speaks improper English. Did you ever think about how that makes Movieweb look in terms of quality? Give me the assignment. I’ll put my work over at www.xjan.com on hold for a while, and do you this favor. You go float away on your boat..."
I agreed. The following is Xjan's interview with the cast of Malibu's Most Wanted. Mostly, it’s just a bunch of bitchy actors who’ve had it rough. Hey, I guess the race card is a touchy subject in this town. Read on and enjoy...
Xjan the Rapping Hobo, here. I’m going to knock this one out of the stratosphere. First I sat down with that tubby John Whitesell and Ryan O’Neal. They looked like two turtles trying to crawl away from what they came to shill. I always liked Ryan’s daughter in Little Darlings, it was krunk. She makes me want to take it to the circus and jack my junk. Enough about me, let’s get down to business...Who are these people and what the f*ck is this?
"Ryan O'Neal & Director John Whitesell"
Q: What, was you gay? What made you think this would be a good character to play?
O'Neal: I don’t know. I read it and said, "I can do this." I can be governor. It was pretty easy going. I didn’t have a lot to do.
Q: Was ya'll smoking pot? Don’t you think this would have been better had you been the governor of Georgia, but with the same plot??
O'Neal: We would have had a better flag.
Q: Don’t you think that California is a little more accepting? In the context of this story, it’s a bit more than perplexing?
O'Neal: I didn’t really consider any of that. But I suppose so. California is famous for being accommodating and accepting of all lifestyles. Sexual practices. Even if our energy bills are a little bit high.
Q: One minute you’re a serious actor, the next you’re having us cracked up and laughing. How does a man like yourself keep that spectrum of balance?
O'Neal: I have no idea what I’m doing. I tell you. I’ve always thought of myself as light on my feet. Most of my early work was done in serious dramatic roles. I don’t know how that happened. Hollywood is a funny place.
Q: Is there a preference by you, Mr. Koo-Koo-Ka-Choo?
O'Neal: No. Dying is easy. Comedy is hard. Who said that? W. C. Fields? Everyone who does comedy is just repeating it...
Q: In terms of the madcap elements found in this movie, what kind of energy did that create on this particular set? Was it super and groovy?
O'Neal: It was vibrant. To say the least. John, as our director, had to hold everyone in check. Until the cameras were rolling, because a lot of the humor was popping out before we even got the takes going. Especially with Anthony Anderson and Taye, and Jamie. These guys were cooking. Just cooking. Loosening up their throats. We even clicked on early, just to catch some of it.
Q: In Jamie’s TV show, there’s a lot of spontaneous, from-the-hip type of work. Was it a hard transition acting against someone who has such a quirk?
O'Neal: The difficulty for us was time. We had to create a kind of short end. We’d do what was written, and if we felt like we got it, then we’d have fun. Virtually, with every scene, we’d do it as it was written on the page. And then we’d give it to everyone. They all had room to improv and come up with stuff. If we found something that we felt really worked, early on in rehearsals, we’d work it in. B-Rad is a character that came from Jamie’s TV show. That rarely happens, that you do a little skit on your TV show, and the studio thinks it’s so interesting that they expand it into a major multi-million dollar motion picture. I don’t even know of another case of this happening. (Run Ronnie, Run, Ernest goes to Camp, Ali G, Pootie Tang?)
Q: You’ve been doing this for such a long time and you’ve got a lot of clout; do you believe Hollywood is getting better at telling stories than when you first started out?
O'Neal: Yes. Of course. When we were doing Peyton Place, we had our first black crewmember. He was the first black man on the lot at 21st Century Fox. He came out as an electrician on Peyton Place. So, yeah, we’ve come an amazing distance. Back then, Hollywood was Lilly white. And they didn’t even try things. They thought that was taboo. That it would kill your show.
Q: Looking back at Peyton Place, it seems like you took a lot of risks in the face?
O'Neal: We took risks. We weren’t allowed to use the word "Pregnant." That was a taboo word at ABC Practices and Censorship. We couldn’t say the word "crazy." I asked, "Why?" They said, "People are offended." Who? The crazies? They know it’s them that we’re talking about? Everything was done with looks and gestures.
Q: How does it feel to be accepted by these younger people? Do you feel like you’re back in the church; back in the steeple?
O'Neal: It feels good. Sure. It feels good to be active and have a job; to be here today. I’m thrilled. Thank you.
Q: This movie got bumped up, right? It was an August release, now its April that’s going to get its crease?
Whitesell: In my mind, it was never going to be an August released. That scared me; the doldrums of summer...How did you know that?
Q: I did my research.
Whitesell: They do thirty movies a year at Warner Brothers. They take the movie, they look where their slots are coming, and they start slopping stuff in. Then they say, "We got you slotted in August." No, no, no...We're not going in August. That’s not right for us.
Q: You all didn’t bounce because you guys were trying to jump on the success of Bringing Down the House?
Whitesell: Actually, if we could have finished in time, we would have moved into March, earlier. Maybe even in front of that. We were jumping around. They kind of want to see where you’re at before they’ll commit. We’re in a good time slot. Around Easter, kids are out of school for a week. They can go see it after Church.
Q: This film speaks to the Hip-Hop culture; what does it say about this new 8 Mile thing? What does it say about the power of the Hip-Hop culture in Hollywood? Is it coming on like a chicken wing?
Whitesell: I think it's knocking on the door. We really tried to create a Hip-Hop soundtrack. We brought Damon Elliot in specifically to help us with the beat. I wanted to stay true to the movie in that tone. One of the great things about rap or Hip-Hop is that you don’t have to have a great voice to be a Hip-Hop artist. If you have something to say, that’s what’s important. It’s all happening. The hooks are really catchy now, the beats are better. It’s mainstream. 50 Cent is going to be the biggest selling debut album. When we made our movie, we didn’t know about 8 Mile. We weren’t trying to ride its coattails, or do a counter balance. Or satirize it.
Q: Any parting words for the masses? Come on, Ryan O’Neal, kick it like molasses...
O'Neal: I’ll just say this: The best governor is black, the best rapper is white, and the Germans don’t want to go to war.
Okay, so they was cool. Looking at Ryan, I thought about Tatum, and that bitch made me drool. Did you see her at the Oscars decked out in a dress? I got mad shivers and I started to stress. I guess I should have listened when they answered my questions. But I’m Xjan the Rapping Hobo, there’s no need for me to be stressin'.
Anthony Anderson is a big man with an even bigger dialogue. He swallowed up our table like a greedy little hog. All I had to do was ask him one question. Once he shut up, I needed some restin'...
"Anthony Anderson (raiding the mini-bar)"
Q: Is the actor you be playin' make you feel like a hack? Did you come away from this feelin' any less black?
Anthony Anderson: Why are we any less black because we are articulate and intelligent, and we come from a certain place? Here, we have a fish out of water story where we are hired to become these two thugs, and we have no idea where we’re going to go with this and what we’re going to do with it. We’re thrown into the hood, so there’s this duality between B-Rad's character and us, and the situations that we’re in.
Taye told me this story, about how him and his buddies would go into the streets of New York to audition when the genre had just that one black guy on every sitcom or movie. They would walk around in their thug hat, which is a black knit skully; that they just had in their back pocket. And they would come from the Joseph Papp Theater, doing Shakespeare and Hamlet, and Shakespeare in the park. "Where are you off to now?" "Well, I'm off to 42nd Street, I’ve got to be nigger number 2." Those are the things we had to come across as actors. Here Taye is, doing Shakespeare, but when he goes to do film and television, that’s all there was. The thug. The gangster. In this movie, that’s the only work these two can get.
Is there such a thing as white cinema? Or is it just cinema? Why is it that when we do cinema, and we have more than two black people in it, it becomes a black film? Or an urban film? Look at Terms of Endearment. Those aren’t white movies. They’re just movies. It takes a long time for things to change and articulate. Until we have more people of color in those positions, things won’t change. I have now stepped into that realm, as a producer, creating my own television show. Now that I have a production company, I feel I should go back and afford someone an opportunity that wasn’t afforded that opportunity before I came along. There’s always a quota that certain studios have to make. This is where change happens. When you’re creating your own destiny and you’re controlling that. It’s all about intellectual property and ownership. That’s where the power is. It’s more than sitting up there and reading lines off a page. Anybody can do that, and everybody is. Once you write those pages, you’re creating your own destiny and taking that into your own hands. I can’t stress that enough to people. I didn’t just create my show, but I own a part of that show. In ownership, I’m allowed certain things. I have a certain amount of power. I’m not just a hired hand. I will be the spook who sat by the door. You know? I will work from inside and help the next cat. I have no ego. Not when it comes to that. I will let anybody shine. It’s a team effort. That’s the reason Denzel and Haley won those awards. We had a good night. Did it change the next day? Did the phone ring? "Hey, we got something for you!" No.
Q: You actually work quite a bit.
And your point is? It’s about having a strong team and being able to go in there and change their mind. It’s about being creative. My character in Kangaroo Jack wasn’t a black guy at all to begin with. That’s happened in numerous films in the past that I’ve done. You’ve got to think outside the box. Fortunately enough for me, they listened. They allowed me to come in there and give them my input and involvement. We’ve had success. I can’t say I turned down jobs to give to somebody else, but I’ve definitely said, "Look here, man, this isn’t for me." Hart’s War, the president of MGM came to me, the president of production, and said, "I want you to read this." I did. I was like; how the hell are they going to believe I’m in the Air Force in the forties? Look at me. I called up my buddy Isaiah Washington. I told him I had this great script, and told him to check it out. I’m glad they thought about me in that way, so they’re seeing beyond a certain character. But I know what I can and can’t do. I can pull off any job as an actor. But let’s be real. That’s not what this guy is. Let’s give it to the right guy. Look, I’m happy to be doing what I’m doing. I got my wife and kids in the bedroom upstairs, jumping up and down on the bed and sh*t. I’m happy. I’m sitting here, listening to myself, going, "What the f*ck is wrong with us?" Look, we’re blessed, and we’re happy. We’re doing what we love to do.
You know what? This is the sh*t that I talk, but this is real. I’ve made seventeen movies, fifteen that have been released. Of those fifteen, seven have opened up at number one. My last five movies have opened up at the number one position at the box office. They have grossed close to seven hundred and fifty million dollars. Three quarters of a billion dollars. I still have yet to make white money. I still have yet to get that starring role. I have mass appeal. I transcend color. We transcend that. I don’t get it. The numbers don’t lie. You can go to some of my white counterparts, and type their name into the IMDB, and pull up what they've done...They don’t compare to that. And I’ve done that in less than four years. If I was a white actor who had fifteen movies open up and generate 750 million dollars, and his last five movies opened at up at number one, and seven of his fifteen movies opened at number one, where do you think I’d be right now? If I was Jamie Kennedy, and Jamie Kennedy was doing that. If that was his resume, it would be a different story.
Whew, that kid talks a lot. His goddamn mouth could be used as an interstate and a parking lot. Did you notice what he had to say about white cinema? It was the exact same thing B. Alan said right after his enema. Does that mean this cat reads The Orange? Cock suck; get him some oil, he’s squeaking like a door hinge.
Next up is the dude we’ve all been waiting for. Our favorite scary movie kill and a WB whore. He’s a funny little man with a knack for improv. Let’s just hope the Jamie Kennedy Experiment lasts and lives long?
Q: Look at you, Jamie, wow! You’re in the hot seat now.
Kennedy: Uh-oh, I hope it’s not too hot.
Q: Did it take a lot to convince Warner Brothers that this movie could be made? Or was it a breezy walk in the shade?
Kennedy: Well, they saw tapes of my show, they saw my character, and they enjoyed it. They laughed a lot. But they didn’t know if this character could sustain a whole movie. They were pretty open from the get-go?
Q: Where does their faith in you come from? Does Whitesell see you as the prodigal son?
Kennedy: He sees the bits early. He’s known me for years on the stand-up comedy circuit. He used to see me bomb all the time. He thought I was interesting, but that no one would get me. He knew they would get me in the right kind of environment.
Q: So, you guys had a history? Like Starsky and Hutch, it’s no hardcore mystery?
Kennedy: Kind of, but he’s also a very creative guy. He’s not a bean counter. He goes with what makes him laugh.
Q: So, do you think they’re starting to get you in the mainstream? Are you like the Millennium Falcon, caught in that tractor beam?
Kennedy: They’re starting to get me, yeah. That makes me feel good. I always had this voice inside myself that I wanted to express. I’m still being got, but I’d like to get more.
Q: What would the definitive Jamie be? Is he someone we have yet to see?
Kennedy: The real me? You know, I be a guy, he’s kind of tired a lot. Low key, very emotional. Kind of pinky. Also, not too serious and darker than most people.
Q: As far as pushing boundaries, did you feel you could do more with this character? Because he’s clueless as to who he is? Kind of like a pitcher for the Mariners?
Kennedy: Yeah, this guy was very clueless as to who he was. He doesn’t have a third eye to look into. He’s oblivious to the things he does. Even when the character played by Regina tries to constantly talk to him and says, "Stop it." He says, "I aint playin'." He doesn’t even know who the person beside him is. He’s oblivious to people trying to stop him.
Q: Was it planned from the beginning that he’d be the world’s worst rapper? Cause I thinks I got him beat, straight from the crapper!
Kennedy: Yeah, we always wanted him to be that. We wanted him rhyming about stuff he thought was legitimate, but wasn’t. He’s got nothing to rap about, but he thinks that’s something.
Q: He doesn’t come from a real culture; he got it from TV. Is that the point of this guy? That he could manufacture himself without having a real identity?
Kennedy: Yeah. That’s part of myself. I grew up in front of the TV. I’m a TV kid. That’s what he grew up on. He thinks he can learn about life and different cultures through TV. It’s a comment on society. But at the end, he is committed to that. That’s the one thing he is, committed.
Q: How do you think people will react to this? Do you think they’ll dig it, or do you think they’ll dis?
Kennedy: White or black?
Q: Both, actually.
Kennedy: Well, I’ve seen the movie with white people. And I’ve seen the movie with black people. I think black people love it even more. It’s a comment on what white kids today are doing in the suburbs. I’m a white kid from the suburbs. I was a wannabe. I always wanted to be down. I never lived in the city. I think people will like it. I think some people might miss the joke, but what am I going to do.
Q: How did you gauge what you did? Did you have a quota, there, kid?
Kennedy: What did I think was too offensive? Or not offensive?
Q: Why did you choose the things you chose to deal with? Are you an industrial strength comedic blacksmith?
Kennedy: Hip-hop is the number one music in the world right now. It’s humongous. It’s all over. This character is an iconic character that goes why back, even before Hip-Hop. It goes back to Elvis. It goes back to rock and roll. It’s white men doing black music. This character has been around forever. It’s something that anyone can turn on a TV and see, or see in your local neighborhood. I thought that was a good thing to parody. And I thought, I can’t do it when I’m fifty. So, I’ve got to do it now. People saw it on my show and they really liked it.
Q: What’s the game plan that you put in place for this character to sustain a feature length? Did you honestly think this subject matter had any strength?
Kennedy: We had a character that people liked. That was number one. The next thing was, we had a really funny script and a good story. The third thing, the most important thing, was that we had a good cast. They helped bring it up, and not just make it about me. We’re always tweaking it, trying to make it funnier, trying to make the scenes more poignant.
Q: Have you taken anything creatively from Pauly Shore? Remember that cat? He was a whore.
Kennedy: No. I don’t think so.
So, there you have it. My Press Whore duties be like magic. I be getting all kinds of people to talk about all kinds of things. It might be a little boring, but not as boring as Lord of the Rings.
This is Xjan the Rapping Hobo telling you to check out Malibu’s Most Wanted. As far as my lungs go, it left 'em stunted...
"Thank you, Xjan."
Not a problem, B. Alan. I’m up in this Dallas sh*t like my name was Fallon!