By Darlene Donloe
There is something about Jamie Foxx. It’s like a party every time he enters a room. So it was recently as he conducted interviews in support of his latest action movie, Sleepless, set for release January 16.
His mischievous, boyish smile lights up the room. His gregarious, comical persona keeps everything upbeat.
He’s in a great mood as he talks about his latest role as Vincent Downs, a Las Vegas undercover police officer who gets caught stealing cocaine from a drug lord who flips the script when he kidnaps Downs’ teenage son in an effort to have his illegal spoils returned. Downs is pursued by Jennifer Bryant, an Internal Affairs investigator (Michelle Monaghan) and Rob Novak, the drug kingpin (Scoot McNairy). Downs has one night to save his kid and to save his own life.
The film is directed by Baran Bo Odar (Who Am I, The Silence) and stars Foxx, Michelle Monaghan, Dermot Mulroney, David Harbour, Tip “T.I.” Harris, Gabrielle Union and Scoot McNairy.
A multi-talented entertainer, Foxx likes to mix up his roles, easily switching from comedy to drama. He has appeared in Annie, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Horrible Bosses 2, Rio 2, Django Unchained, White House Down, Dreamgirls, Collateral, The Kingdom, Ali, Miami Vice, Booty Call and more.
He’s currently producing a comedy project on Showtime called White Famous.
Although he is extremely busy, I recently caught up with the Academy Award® and Grammy Award® winner at the Four Seasons hotel in Beverly Hills to talk about the action/thriller and his career.
Q: Jamie, the director said that he gave each one of you one word as a connection to your character. He gave Michelle [Monaghan] the word “anger.” What word did he give you?
JF: He talked to me about the sexiness of the character. (laughter) He would just walk up and whisper, ‘sexy.’ That’s all I needed to get my engine going.
Q: This business is always changing. How do you stay relevant and working?
JF: An agent told me 10 years ago, ‘Foxx, the world is going to change. This whole thing called the internet is going to go crazy. It's going to change everything. But you know what’s not going to change? He said, ‘talented people.’ When you’re talented you will always have an opportunity to work. You will always have work in this business. The ones to be afraid are those who just have something propping them up. Always be appreciative of the ebb and flow. Sometimes when people have huge successes, they forget about the acting of it. You should always look at it as another job and another opportunity to flex your muscle as an actor.’ It's the absolute truth because of all of this, the ones who really act really stick out more. I was talking to Jeremy Piven. I said to Jeremy, ‘It’s tough being a white male actor. It’s a billion of you.’ I said, ‘Jeremy, it’s nine of us, I’m going to work. It’s me and Will and Samuel and a few others. They gotta call me at some point.’
Q: In the movie, I noticed one of your teeth was chipped. Did Michelle [Monaghan – his co-star] make contact during your scuffle in the movie?
JF: Yeah, she tagged me during one of the fight scenes. I told her to keep going. I got it fixed. My best friend is a dentist in Atlanta.
Q: Your character is a bit shady.
JF: It’s great to play those characters that look and have layers. The good and the bad. More interesting to watch.
Q: The film takes place in Las Vegas. At one time you lived in Vegas. Why?
JF: I moved there because I ran out of money. It was 1994, after the earthquake. I had just enough cash to get me a 5,000 sq. ft. place. $200,000 can go a long way in Vegas. I wanted to get out of the city [Los Angeles]. I liked it because you could get steak and lobster for $4.95. At that time I was performing at the Hilton before all those big hotels came. It was an interesting time in Las Vegas.
Q: Pun completely intended. On Any Given Sunday, what is Jamie Foxx doing?
JF: It’s about football and I got the kids. My daughter and her niece and nephew live with us now. We hit the breakfast thing. We all go out. To unspoil my children, they owe me certain things. It can be something like 100 shots on the basketball court. We watch football. It’s really fun. There is also a religious component to Sunday. Now my daughter is learning the books of the Bible. Sundays are fun.
Michelle Monaghan and Jamie Foxx
Check out some clips from the movie.
“What Happened To Your Face”:https://www.dropbox.com/s/ds9n7t1cjxpwc94/SLEEPLESS_What%20Happened%20To%20Your%20Face_Clip_h264.mov
Q: I was told that you were entertaining and something like the ring leader on the set. Did you feel it was your duty to keep everybody up?
JF: With both of us [Michelle Monaghan included] we never want to forget we’re doing something called make believe. We’ve been here 14 hours with Evian water and craft services. You try to make it like it’s something fun to do. If you create the ‘woe is me’ attitude that will have an effect on everybody. Keep it in perspective and lets get to the finish line.
Q: When are we going to get some music from you?
JF: We’re recording something right now. It should be out later this year.
Q: You are executive producing a new half-hour comedy project. Tell me about it.
JF: It’s a show on Showtime called White Famous. It’s with black comedians. All of us are like trying to be mainstream, but you don’t want to lose that edge. Jay Pharoah is the lead guy. The first one is called, Will You Wear A Dress? That’s because in our culture the black comedic culture is like – I don’t have to wear a dress to be funny. Well, I’ve done it, Eddie [Murphy] has done it. We’ve all worn dresses. So Pharoah gets a part but finds out he plays the girl. He doesn’t want to wear a dress. He comes to see me to talk about it. They tell him Jamie Foxx wants to see you. When he comes to see me, I come from around the corner and I already have a dress on. So I talk to him and ask, ‘So what’s the problem?’
Q: Jaime, you’re turning 50 this year. Have you thought about that?
JF: Turning 50, man. My daughter is like, ‘will you please catch up with your age?’ I go to clubs. I DJ at clubs. I’m hanging with Drake and Kanye. I’m hanging with these girls. They are like ‘I’m 21 and she’s 22 and she’s ancient, she’s 27.’ When I told her how old I was you would have thought I told her I had a terminal disease. I live young and keep the weight off. It's the way you live your life.
Sleepless, directed by Baran Bo Odar, stars Jaime Foxx, Michelle Monaghan, Dermot Mulroney, Gabrielle Union, David Harbour, Tip ‘T.I’ Harris, Gabrielle Union and Scoot McNairy.
Sleepless is RATED R; Running time: 1h 35m.