We were able to speak with a few actors from the new movie Barbershop: The Next Cut about the message behind the movie and to get a little insight into what it’s like working with the new additions in the cast.
Q: How did you get involved?
Anthony: Jonathan Glickman, Gary Barber, I think they figured yo, they wanted to do another one, so they came at me. And I didn’t want to do another one, because I was like what are we going to talk about this time, what’s the story? And it has to be more than just laughs you know, kind of like roast a celebrity. So you know we just came up with a great story that just fit like a glove that was perfect to really highlight what the barbershop really is. It’s a place to laugh and socialize but it’s also a place to get some therapy. And our community is not big on going to therapy and talking to people, but for some reason you go in that kind of setting and you start talking about your issues and people there understand, they know how to help you. Sometimes – they give you bullsh** advice but so does your psychiatrist so it all works out.
Q: So how did this whole thing start? Was the original Barbershop your idea, or did someone come to you with it.
Ice Cube: No, actually George [Tillman Jr.], Bob [Robert Teitel], and Tim [Story] came and brought it to Cube Vision and you know, we looked at, we was like yo, this could be a great movie and we kind of just polished it up a little bit and it was just right. Tim did a masterful job with the movie to kind of set this thing in motion. What’s so cool about the barbershop is it shows us black people, that we don’t have the same opinion. You know about the same issues. So it shows that if you can throw a topic up, and just like us in this room, have all different opinions, same thing is going to happen in the barbershop. I think it was a great discovery moment for people who think we lock step on everything. You know if you black you think OJ is innocent, and if you white… you know… we wanted to show it’s complex conversations about this just like it would be in any community. To me that’s great for the psyche of whoever is watching.
Q: It was very multi-dimensional and multi-ethical and that’s what I loved about it. You guys brought a lot of new characters in. And then were also dealing with comedic geniuses like Anthony, I mean come on, there are so many amazing actors. How did you guys pull the cast together?
Anthony: Oh well you know, we pretty much had a crew with bringing everyone back from the original barbershop, and then with the addition of JB Smooth, Common, and Nicki Minaj and Deon Cole that only added to an all-star stellar team that we had. And you know Cube, in our last interview talked about how to have these actors in this film and all you want to do is make sure their able to shine and hit it out of the park every moment that they are there. No matter how short, or how long, how big, or how small that scene may be, you just want to up it, so when either I myself, or JB or whoever comes into the scene knocks it out because that’s what the audience is expecting you know, me, JB, ok what’s going to be his ATM moment in the film, you know what I’m saying? That’s what they’re sitting there for. So you know you just want to prop it up for everybody to just knock it out.
Q: Where you instrumental in bringing in Kenya Barris in this?
Anthony: No. Actually Kenya Barris was instrumental on bringing me back into the barbershop.
Q: So if you want to keep working with me, come back and do this?
Anthony: With the success of our show “blackish” you know they approached Kenya, they was like yo, we think you’re the right person to tell the story we need for this. We’ve all been saying that making The Barbershop: The Next Cut wasn’t about a money grab for us, it was about, what is the story, what is the movie going to talk about, what is it going to be about that makes it attractive for us, because there was no need to make another Barbershop you know? We are all off on our own respective areas and field doing what we want to do so why are we going to come back for this. And because of the subject matters we’re dealing with on our show, I believe they approached Kenya like, yo this is the story we want to tell with Barbershop, he believes you and Tracy [Oliver] are the writers for this. Kenya came to me and said we’re doing Barbershop 3. And the first thing I said was well am I in it? (Laughter) You know and he’s like if I’m writing it hell yeah you’re in it! So that’s how I got back in the franchise and I was excited to be there.
Q: I also want to say thanks because you know I had Trap Kitchen for lunch yesterday and I heard you were instrumental in bringing them to the studio as well.
Anthony: What did you have from Trap Kitchen.
Q: Man I had potato salad, I had the spicy sauce–
Anthony: Hold up did you go to the Trap House to get it?
Q: Nah, they brought the Trap House to my office.
Anthony: Oh, did they okay, you got to go to the Trap House and get it yourself next time.
Q: I’m going to, but yeah they said you were instrumental in bringing them in.
Anthony: I mean stuff that they’re doing is what got them attention, I had nothing to do with it. Just the fact these cats cooking these foods the way they’re doing it, and just their story, you know that is what brought them to the forefront, I can only champion and say I dig what they’re doing.
Q: Can you talk a little bit about brining Common into this and working with him?
Anthony: I think he’s getting at that fake beef you had, I think that’s what he’s trying to get at Cube.
Ice Cube: You know when Michael Ealy couldn’t do it, we were looking for another handsome brother that the ladies would like to come in and you know create his own space, and borrowed what Ealy was doing, even though he borrowed his woman. But yeah so it was great that he came in. I think he adds the authentic Chicago flavor into the movie without a doubt. You know shooting it in Atlanta, just looking over and seeing Common just makes me feel like we really are in Chicago.
Ice Cube: So we were doing things to make sure the movie felt like where it was going, but that’s a side bar. Common was great. He’s to me, leading man material and we were lucky to have him. You know without him, and Cedric, and Eve it’s like do we do another? So it’s just great to be adding these pieces you know. What’s cool is we did have our beef back in the day and it’s no residue left from that and it’s amazing.
Q: I wasn’t even thinking about that while watching the movie but to me you know the banner that goes up now that you have the women on the other side and the guys are saying sexist stuff and the women respond to it. But you know there is no real rankers, theirs no visual anger that goes all crazy. You know I would say when people go on social media when people get pissed off on something you do. There is such an excepting vibe to this film can you talk about that.
Ice Cube: I think when you’re in a barbershop, it might get loud and heated but I don’t know if people really want to fight over their views like that, you know rarely will it go to that. So it’s a great place and people understand they can be themselves and this is a place to debate what you really think and I think it’s also a place where you can feel better about yourself leaving than when you came in. Because a guy is working on his self esteem, a girl is working on her hair, that can make you feel better so, I think just knowing that no matter what this dude is talking about I’m going to look good when I leave this spot, I’m going to be fresh. I’m going to be feeling good. You can’t be to mad leaving.
Q: Regina said earlier that Cube has a really strong presence; she was intimidated when she first came to the set. Are you a really hands on producer who is writing notes and everything daily on the set? How has this been working?
Ice Cube: Well I think I am a get in where I fit in producer. You know I sit back and I let the professionals that I hired guide around and I try to choose the best I can to find. I mean when you got people like Malcolm [D. Lee], and Bob, you know you’re dealing with people who know what they’re doing. So as an actor I need to get into my role but I do need to keep that producer eye in everything that’s going on because I will step in if it’s not right or it’s excuse me, what I don’t like, corny, or Hollywood solutions to major problems, you know. So I don’t like fake-ness, so anything I see that seems too Hollywood convenient — we got out this situation too easy, I’ll step in and say we need to complicate this funk a little bit and make it more real.
Q: I did have a question one for both of you. My question for you is this movie is about community. How do you contribute to your community? I’m from Long Beach so I’m curious to how you support your community and then for you, what does community mean to you?
Ice Cube: You know what I do is not just to try and help the community but communities all over because I just think that everybody that’s into anything I’m doing, if I could say something, do something to help in any kind of way I can. I’ve helped minority age groups in Los Angeles for years because I think that’s something that we suffer from but we don’t have the solutions or the resources to really educate and combat HIV. I’m helping a place in Chicago with young kids, but we’re just trying try to reach out whenever we can to be able to hear dudes because I don’t think you really need to go overboard as far as pushing money without the time. Actually being there and influencing the kids yourself because, I think that goes a long way and a lot further. You might give a check to an organization and you know the kids may see it, they might not but when you’re there actually speaking to them and actually able to influence them and their ways of thinking, is more valuable then spending money everywhere.
Anthony: It’s about your presence and it’s about being present in the community so you can actually see, and you’re tangible to them, you know? You’re not just a signature on a check or a contribution it’s like no he actually took the time to find my city, find my town, come to my school to sit down and talk to me. You know, what does my community mean to me, my community built me, my community helped mold me to be the man I am today. You say you from Long Beach, I’m from Compton, you know that’s my corner. So you know I was back there this Christmas and I fed 6,000 people because you know, that’s what I felt like I wanted to do because my community made me into the man I am today. Never turn my back on the block and that subsection of Compton. But just like Cube, I’m all over the country. You know in the community trying to lead by example, so we have our next generation of leaders coming up like – ‘yo I’ve seen what Anthony did, I see what Cube is doing, you know I want to join them, I want to pick up where they left off and take it to the next level.’ And with that is about being present.
Q: Last question, this film, the underlying theme of this film is really talking about gun violence. I said this earlier to Common, I lost my dad too from violence, January of last year, and I was there in Virginia. So it happens all over, not just in Chicago. He was an innocent by stander, some people just opened fire in a room filled with people, me included, six people died, you know it’s just something that affects communities all over, here I am in California, and you didn’t want to stay, you wanted to leave, and that’s the same way I felt. Get as far away from here as possible. What do you want people to walk away with?
Ice Cube: I just want people to try and grab a hold of their youth. I think that is what it’s going to take you know. It’s not going to take a stranger, it’s going to take the people you know as far as to change the way youth think, it has to come from people they know, not from strangers. So hopefully I want people in the communities to start to basically communicate with their youth better, try to change their mind before they pick up that gun.