The Carroll News participated in a phone interview with Ice Cube and Anthony Anderson, in addition to both local and college newspaper editors and reporters, for the Warner Brothers film, “Barbershop: The Next Cut” premiering Friday, April 15.
Q: Is the community bond in this film inspired by any recent political movements, such as Black Lives Matter?
Ice Cube: “The story was actually inspired by an article that I read before we did the movie and it was about a guy who had a barbershop. He was dealing with violence in the community and he offered free cuts for people who would stop the violence. I just thought it was a good idea to have the movie wrapped around things that are really going on in Chicago. So that’s kind of how that worked out.”
Q: It has been 12 years since the last “Barbershop” film. Obviously, so many things have changed in this world, but what is it about the ‘Barbershop’ series that makes it so timeless that it can pick up more than a decade later and still work so well on screen?
Anthony Anderson: “It’s been interesting. It’s been 12 years since the last installment and the world has changed so differently, but the Barbershop never changes. Eddie, Cedric the Entertainer’s character, has been present since the original movie. The Barbershop is the cornerstone of the community; that’s exactly what it is. It’s part therapy session, part marriage counselor, part rights of passage for young men; we’ve all gone through that as a barbershop. I take my 16-year-old son to the shop and I let him sit in there and hear what’s being talked about and have him get in on the discussion just to help shape him outside of what I’m doing at home with him. But the Barbershop is something that never changes.”
Q: How is it different working with professional actors rather than working with musicians and comedians?
Ice Cube: “You either you have it or you don’t when it comes to acting. I feel like if somebody’s doing their thing, then it’s no difference between acting with somebody like Common or acting with somebody like J.B. Smoove, or acting with somebody like Lawrence Fishburne. Of course, there’s degrees of talent and degrees of range that you’ll probably get more of with an actor, but as far as performance, I think you can get a great performance from anybody who has it on that day, at hat time and that place.”
Q: The “Barbershop” series has grown and changed from movie to movie. Do you think the film’s current change is going to appeal to the same audience or do you think it’ll bring in a new generation of younger people who are really interested in seeing how the film plays out?
Ice Cube: “I think both. I think the film is going to definitely bring in an audience that’s curious about what the ‘Barbershop’ is about. I think we have a movie that satisfies our core audience. The first people who saw ‘Barbershop’ back in 2002, they’re still going to love this movie and be behind it, and they’ll be interested in how the characters have evolved. So I think we’ve got a movie that hopefully will appeal to a lot of different demographics.”
Q: What are your thoughts on Hollywood now and the film industry, especially in light of the Oscars?
Ice Cube: “I mean Hollywood – it is what it is. For the most part, Hollywood is all about green and what we’re fighting for are the opportunities to show that we can make money with these movies, that people enjoy them and our audience is big enough to invest into. As far as the Oscars, to me, that’s a different kind of thing. It’s kind of representing Hollywood at the end point. So whether or not we make strides in the Oscars, to me, it’s not as important as making strides in these studios and these meetings to get movies made, because until you get one made, you can’t think about an Oscar. I think we’ve got to start at the beginning of the line and not at the end of the line.”
Anderson: “Gatekeepers. That’s where it all begins. It begins with the gatekeepers who are controlling strings for who are in control, what’s being made, how it’s being made, and who it’s being made with. The Oscars is just a byproduct of that. We have to convince them that this is a movie they should make and these are the people that they should make it with and they should allow us to tell our stories because our stories are just as entertaining and valuable as the other stories that are being told. These are stories that people want to hear, that people want to be entertained by and see.”
Q: Ice Cube, how does your lyric writing influence your screenwriting and the messages within the film?
Ice Cube: “The way my lyric writing has helped my screenwriting is having the ability to tell a story, being able to take your thoughts and put them on paper, and being able to take your thoughts and project them where a person can understand what you’re talking about. They are both the same thing, as far as trying to get the ideas out your head and onto paper, where people can understand what you’re talking about. When I first start writing, it was John Singleton who directed me in ‘Boyz n the Hood.’ He looked at me one day and said, ‘Yo, when you going to write a script?’ And I said, ‘What are you talking about? I don’t know how to write a script.’ He said, ‘You can write those lyrics, you can write those records so I know you can write a script if you put your mind to it.’ Writing was the best thing I’ve ever done in the industry, even over acting, because everything starts with the material. You can sit back and want people to give you good stuff, or you can just go write you some good stuff. You can want somebody to put you in a movie, or you can go write a movie that you know you’re already in. So those, to me, are the keys to trying to solidify your career in Hollywood, especially as a black actor.”