Jamie Foxx Talks Project Imaginat10n

Jamie Foxx Talks Canon's Project Imaginat10n

If you are a fan of actor Jamie Foxx, star of the upcoming Quentin Tarantino Western Django Unchained, and you fashion yourself a unique and interesting photographer, then we have good news for you! Canon wants your photos, and these images could be used as inspiration for a short film that Jamie Foxx will be directing in the very near future.

Canon recently announced Project Imaginat10n, an extension of last year's Project Imagin8ion, which is aligning five influential celebrities from five diverse disciplines, each of which will direct short films under the tutelage of two-time Academy Award winner Ron Howard.

Jamie Foxx is being joined by Eva Longoria, Biz Stone (Twitter Co-founder), Georgina Chapman (Marchesa fashion designer) and James Murphy (LCD Soundsystem), and they will all use your photography to inspire a short film that they direct.

You can submit photos until September 24th at imagination.usa.canon.com: CLICK HERE

Canon and Ron Howard will narrow down the photos. Jamie and each of the other directors will then choose 10 photos to inspire their films. Production begins in 2013, with all the films being showcased at a special film festival.

We recently chatted with Jamie Foxx about his involvement in the project. Here is our conversation.

Since I was a kid, I have been fascinated by found photos, and I have saved a lot of them over the years. It always works the imagination in discovering a story for what is happening in these picture. Is the allure of being able to create something from an unknown history, and use your imagination in that way, the thing that drove you to join Project Imaginat10n?

Jamie Foxx: Oh, yeah, man! Since I was a kid, I have been so imaginative. I would always come up with a story for whatever it was that I was seeing. Whether it was in a picture, or just some other kids coming out of a store. That definitely comes in handy when you are doing this. I have been cultivating this talent forever. To see something, and be able to come up with your own story about it, and your own characters, and your own visuals. Just, everything...So I saw this project...Actually, I learned about this in a commercial. It sounded so interesting, and then I heard that they were opening it up to other people...That I could actually make one of these films myself. I have a background with Ron Howard, because we were at the Inauguration for President Barack Obama, and he came over and hung out. We eventually did a video together. So it's great to do this project with his tutelage. I plan to jump into this with both feet. I hope to make something interesting and incredible.

The press release they sent out for Project Imaginat10n says that they have aligned five influential celebrities from five diverse disciplines. It almost makes it sound like you are coming from different schools in Kung Fu. I want to know, what is Jamie Foxx's discipline?

Jamie Foxx: My discipline comes from my experiences with different directors. Like Michael Mann and Oliver Stone, to Antoine Fuqua and Quentin Tarantino. As an actor, these people have all let me sit on their shoulder. Being directed by them, I have learned so many different tricks. My discipline is their discipline. I am definitely disciplined in the art, so that is what I bring to it. I don't want this to be happenstance for me. I want to put pressure on myself. I really want this to be great. So, that is what I would consider my discipline.

Are you the type of actor that always stays with the director throughout a production? Instead of going back to your trailer, or leaving the set when you don't need to be there, do you check out what is being done in other scenes? Do you feel the set is always a place to be learning something new?

Jamie Foxx poses with his favorite Canon camera{20}: Oh, yeah, man. You have to. That is where you learn. For any actor that really wants to maximize their creative talent, behind the camera is really the next step. But the only way you can really get behind the camera is to step back there, and do some of the things you've never done before. To ask what that camera is, and how do you get this shot, and how do you lift this up, and how do you set this off. How do I become the guy that picks up a camera, and is able to make something that is cinematic? That is my whole thing, doing this project with the pictures. I don't want to just make a student film. I want it to become cinematic. I want you to go into the cinema and become transformed.

This is going to be a short film, right?

Jamie Foxx: This will be a short film, but it is still going to feel cinematic. That is the goal. When you listen to directors speak, you hear some say that some directors are not cinematic. When you're not cinematic, there is this feeling you get. When you watch the footage, the sound design has to be right, the shot has to be right. And that can work the same for a short film. I want you to feel like this is cinematic.

Looking at your resume, it seems that you've always been drawn towards cinematic filmmakers...

Jamie Foxx: I have just been lucky, to be honest with you. The first real one was with Oliver Stone. You start to learn how you get these cinematic looks. I've been incredibly lucky to work with so many great directors over the years.

Fans can submit their photos until September 24th. But do you have your eye on any at this time? What is your process of choosing these photos? What are you really looking at when you go through the submissions?

Jamie Foxx: I haven't chosen any of the photos yet. The thing is, when I do see the photos, whatever speaks to me...I will feel it immediately. I can't tell you why, or what puts it in that area. I can't tell you because it's red, or its blue. I don't know what I will gravitate too. I just want to keep my mind open, and be moved by all of this imagery. Think about it. When we open this up to the world, there is so much talent and energy out there. Its exciting, and I'm sure there are going to be a lot of photos that I won't even get a chance to get to, that are fantastic as well. I am going to keep my mind open.

I talked with Ron Howard when his daughter was making the first short film for Canon. He wasn't sure where this was going to go, but it looks like this will continue to be an ongoing project...

Jamie Foxx: Oh, yeah. I hope so.

When Ron Howard and his daughter Bryce Dallas Howard made that first movie, he explained that she was gravitating towards these lush, expansive landscape photos, and he was more partial to the photos packed with a lot of detail. Where do you fall on that line?

Jamie Foxx: I would probably go the other way. Not to say there is a wrong way, but I like to look at faces. I can look into their eyes, and from that I can draw out a character. The thing is, I gravitate to people in pictures. It's less about where they are, and what is behind them in the pictures. When I am putting my film together, it will be about finding those characters, and the talent these people can bring to the front of a camera. I want to lock that camera off, and have that person's talent bring it to life. I want that more so than some of the details I see in the picture.

Will Ron Howard be on set with you, mentoring you through the process as you shoot?

Jamie Foxx: I've heard that he will be there. He will be there for certain moments, and he will be helping us through the project. I can't wait to get started.

CLICK HERE to enter your photos before the September 24th deadline.