O: You’re going to the Golden Globes tonight?
Cube: Yeah, yeah. I’m supposed to go there. I’m presenting.
O: In which category?
Cube: Best Actor in a Mini-Series.
O: So you wouldn’t be handing Troy Garity (Isaac) an award if he won…
Cube: Nah, not that I know of.
O: Is this the biggest hit of your career?
Cube: Uh, yeah. I believe so. You know. There was Boys n the Hood. You can measure films on box office success, or people lovin’ the movie whenever they see it. That’s what I measure my movies on. How much people love these movies after they get a chance to see them, no matter how they get a chance to see them.
O: You rate your movies on the feedback people give you personally?
O: What do you hear from the fans?
Cube: I here a mixture. I get people who love the Friday movies. I get people who love Barber Shop. All About the Benjamins. Three Kings.
O: My personal favorite is Ghosts of Mars.
Cube: You know. I always say the movie came out good if they want another one. People are always coming around saying, “Hey, when you going to do another Barber Shop? When you going to do another Friday.” That always tells me that people really liked the movie. Especially if I get this one more than two or three people telling me they liked another one.
O: There’s word that they’re going to spin this off into a TV series. Are you going to have a hand in running that?
Cube: Nah. I’m not going to be running the show. I’ll probably be an executive producer on it, but it aint going to be my show.
O: So, odds are you won’t be playing Calvin on it.
Cube: Oh, no. No.
O: Why not? You don’t want to be on a weekly program?
Cube: Not at all.
O: What about appearing as a guest star?
Cube: I don’t know. I haven’t even talked to anybody about that.
O: Who, in your eyes, do you think could come in and play Calvin. Who do you want to see following in your footsteps?
Cube: Man, I don’t know. That’s MGM’s wishful thinking. Them spinning this into a TV show. I just want to make good movies right now.
O: What about Calvin in this movie. Is he the same guy we saw in Barber Shop 1?
Cube: Nah. I think he’s a little more focused. He’s not so all over the place. In the first one, he was looking to get rich quick. Anything that would help him. He didn’t really care about the shop as much until he learned what it meant to the community. Now, I think he’s in there. Once you have your first baby, you get real focused. You want it to work. I think he’s at that point where he wants the shop to work for him. Maybe even pass it on down to his son, which is twenty some years away. But I think he really wants to make this work. He’s settled in. He’s in it for the long haul.
O: What did it take to get you excited about this enough to come back?
Cube: Well, you know, it was three things. I wanted everybody back. The whole cast. I didn’t want to lose anybody. I wanted a good script. A movie that could stand on its own. If you didn’t see the first one, you wouldn’t be lost watching the second one. And that the second one wasn’t just an extension of the first movie. And I wanted a good director. Someone that sees the idea. No first timers. I got all those things in place, and I was in.
O: Why did you get on board with Kevin Rodney Sullivan as the director?
Cube: I liked his Soul of the Game. How Stella Got Her Groove Back. Those were things that Kevin had done, and I liked those movies. As well as, I liked meeting him and talking to him. I liked the fact that he felt he had something to prove. You Know? He wasn’t just going to ride that wave of success. He was going to try and build a better mouse trap. He was going to try and build a better movie. I liked that. That’s what we want to do. We wanted to try and make the second one as good, or better, than the first one.
O: You were mixing your album while you were shooting this?
O: How did you pull that off?
Cube: I was leaving the set at about 7:30 pm. I’d go to the studio until about 1 or 2. Then I’d sleep, and go back to the set. It was difficult for about two weeks. But we were on a deadline with the record, so we had to get it done.
O: Is that why you’re not on the soundtrack for this movie?
Cube: I didn’t want to be. I wasn’t on the soundtrack of the first one because I just wanted Calvin to be Calvin. You know? It’s kind of hard to sit there and watch Calvin and then hear Ice Cube blaring out the speakers. I just wanted to act and do a good job with Calvin.
O: You do that with most of your movies, where you don’t really throw your songs in there…
Cube: Only if it fits. For a Friday movie, it fits. But only if it works. Only if it’s that type of movie. But if it’s a movie like this, where we’re trying to get you caught up in these characters, we want you to be caught up in it. We don’t want you to be caught up in, “That’s Cube up there.” So, I try to stay away from that. If I’m going to act, I’m going to act. If I’m going to do a song, it’s got to be the right type of movie, where it works.
O: It seems to me that there was no real downside to the controversy surrounding Cedric’s comments. Now people are coming to this just to hear what Cedric has to say. Do you agree with that?
Cube: Yeah, I agree. I’m glad MGM didn’t back-up. Usually a film company will get nervous if leaders come out and start speaking badly about the film. They’ll start backpedaling. MGM was like, “Yo, we didn’t do anything to the filmmakers to manipulate them into making this type of film. So, we’re going to stick with it.” They were getting accused of pulling our arms and making us do some of the scenes that were in the movie. And that just wasn’t true. We just wanted to be true to what a barber shop is.
O: Have you talked to some of those critics?
Cube: Nah. I haven’t talked to nobody.
O: Was the sensitivity raised with this film, or did you want to be more outrageous? Did you say, “Let’s get bigger headlines this time”?
Cube: Nope. We didn’t even think about it. We didn’t think about it during the making of the first movie, why should we think about it during the second movie? We should take the topics of the day and throw them on the table, have everybody shoot their opinion at ‘em. Just like what happens in a real barber shop. It aint all about manufacturing controversy. Most of the time it won’t happen anyway. That’s more of an organic thing. We wanted to be true to the barber shop and no one else.
O: Was there a lot of improvisation?
Cube: We did a lot of improv in rehearsal. That’s where we got all the kinks out. We had everything tailor-made for us. When we got on set, it was about sticking to the script. Once we rehearsed it and changed the lines, the script supervisor would type that up and slide it to you. When you’re on set, you have so many people, and that camera is moving, and dancing, and bouncing…They got this camera going pretty much every which way but loose, we were pretty much sticking to what everybody knew. It was a timing thing. Cedric is the one who always hit you with something new. You have to be ready for Cedric. What he said two takes ago, he’s not going to say two takes from now. If you’re not ready, you’ll crack-up and break the scene. Everyone had to learn how to hold there laugh until someone would say cut. Then the whole crew would just fall apart. Literally. Cedric was the one that did the most ad-libbing throughout the making of this movie.
O: Who got the aquarium after you guys were done shooting?
Cube: Ah, man…I don’t know who got that. I think one of the grips took that thing home. You don’t know how much budget that thing ate up. I was like, “Man, we could be shooting three more days if it wasn’t for this thing.”
O: Do you have a master plan for your career at this point?
Cube: You know; I’m just trying to get on that A list. You don’t really get on the A list until you prove yourself internationally. That’s fifty percent of the box office. That’s my next hurtle, to have projects like the Torques and the XXXs. Things that do good internationally.
O: Is it harder for black folks to do that internationally?
Cube: Yes. It was a fight to keep me on the Torque poster in Europe. There are a lot of barriers to knock down out there. There are some international stars. Halle Berry. Will Smith. Eddie…It’s going to take me a few good, real strong movies.
O: Have you started on Triple X yet?
Cube: We just started on the script. We’re working on the script right now.
O: Barber Shop hasn’t done well overseas?
Cube: Well, Cubevision projects have done well in certain regions. In certain territories. But still, with the movies I have coming out, I think I’ll really be cracking that international market.
O: You’ll be able to schmooze tonight at the Globes.
Cube: Yeah. I know.
O: Hi, Eve!
Eve: Hi, how are you?
O: Good. So, was this a more female friendly environment this time around, what with the beauty shop next door and all?
Eve: You know, I wasn’t even there when they shot those scenes. I wish I would have been. But I wasn’t.
O: Do you think your character has changed between these two films?
Eve: I think you do see a softer side of Terry here, but I think the anger pops right back. She’s just naturally feisty. Like, at the end of the movie, she just had to suppress it and breath. I think that’s hard for her. I think she wants to change herself.
O: Are you a lot like this character?
Eve: I am completely feisty, but not all the time. I’m not as angry as she is. But, if you bother me and you touch my stuff, you better watch yourself.
O: Was the apple juice scene something you brought to the movie?
Eve: No, that scene was always there. That’s actually the scene I did when I went in for the reading. Which I loved, that was my favorite scene.
O: Barber Shop was a huge hit. What has this done for your career? If anything…
Eve: I think my TV show probably came from this movie. I’d been talking to UPN before then, but the show wasn’t ready for TV. Then they approached me right after the movie. So, that definitely helped. And people do recognize me as an actress from it. That’s always good.
O: Were you excited about the romantic interest this time around?
Eve: I was shocked when I read the script. I thought it was a good surprise for the audience. You know, it’s cute.
O: Are you happy with your TV show?
Eve: It’s good. It’s actually the top rated sitcom on UPN right now. So, it’s doing really well. I’m finally into the groove of it. At first, it was kind of hard.
O: How long are you committed?
Eve: I didn’t sign on. It’s me testing the waters. I think we’re going to do another season. We’re going to take it season by season, or day by day…
O: What was hard about getting situated within that Sitcom environment?
Eve: Coming from music, I was at a point where I was ready to be stable. I’d been traveling for four and a half years. I needed to have a home. I needed to have a couch. I wanted to come home every day. But as you start that, and you get up at the same time every day, and you see the same people…I was like, “This is crazy!” But now, I’m into it. I’m finally into my groove. It just took me awhile to get used to it. I hadn’t been stable for so long. I was used to waking up, packing a bag, getting on a plane…
O: You have two songs on the soundtrack. Was that a condition for you to come back?
Eve: We didn’t even talk about putting me on this soundtrack. When I did that song, it wasn’t for this movie. It was for Mary’s album. And the other song, I did for Keyshia Cole. That was for her album. It was out of the blue that both of those wound up on the soundtrack.
O: What are you doing as far as your own music?
Eve: I’ll be back in the studio this summer. Dr. Dre is executive producing. And it will be out in the fall.
O: How are you going to change your sound this time around?
Eve: I don’t know. I can’t even say. I haven’t done any writing. It all depends on Dre’s beats. We work really good together, so it’s whatever he brings out of me.
O: Have you always been one of the guys?
Eve: I have. I’ve always been a tomboy. I’ve always wanted to wrestle and stuff. Instead of playing Barbie. That’s been my whole life. That’s what I like about Terry. She’s in this barber shop with all these guys, and she’s cutting hair. It doesn’t matter to her. It’s her job. She’s just there. She’s one of the guys.
O: How does that square with your status as a sex goddess?
Eve: Who said that?
O: I do, on a constant basis.
Eve: Thank you. You’re so nice. You’re sweet.
O: Have you had a stalker yet?
Eve: What’s crazy is that my mother had this guy calling her house. She wanted to know why this guy was calling the house. Finally, his mother calls the house. And my mom says, “Why is your son calling my house?” She got angry. And he stopped calling. Then he started calling again. He called 25 times. “I need to talk to Eve. I need to talk to Eve.” He put the phone down, and you could hear the police come in. They took him to a crazy home. It was a stalker. It was crazy.
O: What do you look for in a guy?
Eve: Complete and total honesty.
-CEDRIC THE ENTERTAINER-
O: How you doin’?
Ced: What’s going on, Brother?
O: Are you quoting Marvin Gaye, there, or are you asking me the question?
Ced: A little bit of both. When you say that statement, you’ve got to be quoting Marvin Gaye…
O: So, this time around, is Eddie trying to be as controversial as he was the first time? Or is it that he just can’t help himself?
Ced: Eddie can’t really help himself. One of the things I stated in doing this sequel is that I did not want to go and pick fights with people for the sake of starting a controversy. But, again, if we had strong subject matter, and I was going to step on folk’s toes…Then, so be it. But I definitely didn’t want to go out and attack folks just because Eddie can get away with it.
O: Your character really evolves between Barber Shop 1 and 2. He’s practically the central focal point with his back story and all.
Ced: I thought that was interesting, because my character became sort of the breakout in the midst of the ensemble. So, as we approached this gentrification issue, and why the shop is so significant, they wanted to hit this back story up about how Eddie came into the shop. I thought it was going to be fun for me to play both the old Eddie that was introduced in the first one, as well as play another character by being the young Eddie. I thought that it was fun. I knew that the movie would rely on me in a lot of ways, but I had so much fun doing this character, Eddie, that it was cool for me. I was like, “Yeah, let’s do it.”
O: And you get a romance, too.
Ced: Exactly. That was another fun aspect. I also got to Doo-Wop on the train. Hit a few notes. Then I had the romance scene. That did have me to work early. I was way early on the set…Way on time for that one. Them days my girl was there, I put my own make-up on. I was ready to get going.
O: Is Eddie based on someone you knew growing up?
Ced: It’s a combination. In development, Eddie was kind of a mixture of many different people. I can’t really put him on one certain person. Some of the strongest characteristics come from a Deacon that was at my mom’s church. That I remember. I felt he was this guy that was kind of stern, with a quirky sense of humor. But you only got it when you knew him up close. From afar, you would have thought this was the meanest guy in the world. But when you get up close, and you hear what he’s saying, you go, “Oh, that’s funny. He’s funny.” I used a lot of that, because Eddie’s point of view is really an attacking kind of humor. You have to appreciate him to go, “Oh, that’s funny.” You have to see how he is, because he never really backs down from anything. So, I used him, and a mixture of different folks that often come up.
O: One of the highlights of the movie is when you go one-on-one with Queen Latifah. I heard that you guys had a big powwow, and you helped write some of her lines.
Ced: Yeah, we had a good time doing that. She was a great addition to the cast. She’s really fun. This is the first time you see that Eddie’s going to have a real nemesis. Nobody ever really says anything back to him. So, when they discussed who could come in and stand up to him, and they said Queen Latifah, I was like, “Perfect!” She came in, she saw it, and she said, “My jokes aren’t strong enough. I know you’re going to be killing me. Ced, you’ve got to help me beat your character up.” So I said, “Okay.” We had some fun developing that whole scene together. And then, even on the day we were shooting, I had fun just throwing her curveballs. She was quick, though. She’d come back on her own, with her quips. Even that ending moment was something that wasn’t necessarily in the script. That moment where I go, “Everybody’s cool. We’ve just got a reputation to keep around here. The girl’s ah devil child.” And she’s like, “I know.” During that part, we were just kind of riffing. I was throwing it at her, and she was coming back at me. And that ended up being really fun. And that went into the hotdog scene later.
O: The director said that after the camera was locked down, you were the only one that was really allowed to improvise and come up with stuff on the spot.
Ced: Yeah. He would shoot what he had on the page. And he’d get what he needed. But, because this character was so natural and instinctual for me, I could do a whole run on whatever subject matter was thrown out there. After a while, when he was doing other people’s close-ups, I’d go off and do freestyle lines. Sometimes, he’d say, “When we do you, we’re going to put that in.” As opposed to what we had in the script. That was my way of doing practical jokes. I love to make people break while they’re on camera. You know? I love trying to get someone to laugh, like Ice Cube, a guy who’s all hard. You just never expect him to break. So I’d be saying stuff, funny stuff, and see if I could get him to laugh while the camera was on him.
O: Did you succeed?
Ced: Of course.
O: Were there any sacred cows that you hit, that got cut out. Anything that you wish would have stayed in?
Ced: Oh, definitely, man. There’s a scene there, right before Ice Cube comes in and tells us he’s going to raise the rent. And I’m talking to Eve. I would do these really abstract runs right before each take. I would take off and do one. I did one about Eddie in the Pottery Barn. And how he really loved spatulas. It was one of my favorite takes. I was like, (doing Eddie) “I spend all of Sunday, every Sunday…I get up and I go to Pottery Barn. I walk in. And you know what’s really interestin’? Its spatulas. I love spatulas. There’s so many different kinds. There’s perforated. There’s plain. There’s plastic. There’s metal. Galvanized metal. You can just do so much with a spatula. They got the kind you can flip an egg with. Or they got the kind that got a prong on it. I love spatulas!” It was the funniest thing. All of a sudden you’ve got a picture of this old man walking around Pottery Barn. Just the imagery alone is hilarious.
O: Where did you pick up the voice for this character?
Ced: It’s really strange. I really do try to find characters. I had a lot of fun doing that on my TV show. With this one, I had tried a couple different voices for Eddie, and I actually came up with this one the day before I shot my first take. I was doing this long speech about Calvin and the significance of the Barber Shop. I just kind of stumbled upon it. It was an easy rhythm, and I was having fun changing the pace and playing with words. When I found it, I was like, “That’s the voice!” Because I can do it so easily. But it was nobody in particular that I’d heard talk like that. I was just trying to make him sound old, and have his own kind of personality. I took old people that will break, and say words that they can’t really say, but they have them in their vocabulary. Like, “Proglem.” He says “Proglem” instead of “problem.” I got that from one of my great aunts that would always say, “What is your proglem?” You know? So, I would add that to him. Those kinds of things. The idea of this guy was all stuff I started doing when I found the character.
O: How did you go about finding the “hot topics” of the Barber shop? Which celebrities to pick on?
Ced: We just touched on a lot of the entertainers. Nobody was safe. If you were in the news this year, we went at you. We did a whole thing on Dion Warwick that they took out. Like (doing Eddie) “Do you know your way to San Jose? Yeah. That’s where they got that good weed, up there. Shit. Yeah, she knows her way to San Jose, and Hoboken County. They make them hydro's out there, and she got caught at the airport with eleven joints. Eleven. And you know there were at least twelve when she started. You know she smoked one in the bathroom.” That didn’t make it in the movie. But I kept going on and on about how much weed she smoked.
O: There’s constant talk about this becoming a TV show. Would you ever consider going back to a weekly program?
Ced: I don’t know. I had an interesting experience doing TV with Cedric the Entertainer Presents. And with me, there’s just so many politics with the world of television on what you can and can’t get across. And what you’re allowed to put on. And all the decision makers are people that didn’t necessarily have the interest of the show at hand. It was people that were looking out for their jobs. It’s such a highly corporate environment in television. You know, from the studio, to the network… I don’t know. I’m not quite interested right now, I tell you.
O: What if the show went to someplace like Showtime? Where they can experiment and be freer with the content? Would that be a better incentive for you? And could you really see someone else taking over this character and playing him every week?
Ced: I would like to see them try. How’s that for an answer? No, I don’t think I would really like that. I don’t want to see someone try and do Eddie. And, with the way this film came out, I think there’s a real possibility that we could do a Barber Shop 3. To have someone else play the character in a TV version of it would water it down. At this point, I wouldn’t want to see anybody else play the role.
O: Can you talk about the Honeymooners?
Ced: The Honeymooners is still in development right now. We’re really tightening up the script. We’re looking to shoot that in the late spring right now, maybe in May. We’re getting that into production. We’re still excited about that. We haven’t cast anybody other than me and Mike Epps as Ralph Cramdin and Ed Norton. Once we lock the script and make sure that script will do some justice to the TV show with Gleeson and Art Carney, we’ll finish casting. We’re moving on that pretty fast right now.
O: Is that going to be period?
Ced: No, it’s actually going to be modern day. And still set in Brooklyn. He’s still a bus driver. I don’t know about, “To the moon, Alice!” That’s really a fifties kind of thing. We’ll play with a version of that. Maybe, “Up yours, Alice!” I don’t know. We’ll play with some version of that. We’ll make sure that people who really love the Honeymooners and love Gleeson will understand that we’re not doing a disservice to that. You know? We’re just putting a new little spin on it.
O: Thanks, gang!