Compiled by: Jack Foley
Q. You’ve got to be happy at the moment, with the
movie’s Box Office. You’re doing incredibly well in
A. I’m very happy with it. I’m more happy
with the fact that I feel like we made a great movie, because
I’ve had big box office in the past with not so great movies,
and that doesn’t feel nice. To be confident in the film,
and the powerful intellectual base that Isaac Asimov stepped forward
with, thanks to his short stories, and the great visionary future
that Alex put together, and some of the greatest special effects
you’ve ever seen, you know, and me naked, I just think the
film has a lot to offer [laughs].
Q. It’s the biggest box office weekend for you?
A. Yes, it’s the biggest opening weekend I’ve
ever had. I feel real good about it but, again, I’m happy
that people are liking the movie.
Q. The shower scene… did you have the set cleared,
or were you gung-ho about it. Could you talk us through that?
A. [Laughs] No, no, we brought people in. [Straight-faced]
We had a studio audience. No, it’s actually really bizarre
and awkward. You just want as few people there as possible. It’s
a weird thing. But it was really important character nakedness,
okay? It wasn’t gratuitous Hollywood nakedness! The character
suffered from a condition called survivors’ guilt, which,
you know, you have an accident, and everyone else dies, so you
feel guilt. It’s a psychological condition called survivors’
guilt, and one of the symptoms is paranoia, which is the reason
why he had the door open, there’s no shower curtain, the
gun holster is close by. He doesn’t wash his hair, because
he needs his eyes to be open because he’s paranoid. So it
was deep nakedness.
Q. It says in one of your biogs that you turned down
a scholarship to NYT…
A. So the legend has it…
Q. Can you imagine how your life might have gone if you
had taken that path?
A. Well, you know, maths and science has always been
huge in my life, from the time I was like, probably, five-years-old,
I wanted to be a scientist, and that was really the road that
my parents were leading me down. At probably 11 or 12-years-old
was the first time I got interested in entertainment, so I guess
my love of science fiction is sort of the blend of the future
that had been set forth for me in science, and the ability to
And I guess Star Wars was the movie. I might have been eight or
nine-years-old and Star Wars was the movie that really put me
into a space where the science fiction element of it was almost
a spiritual connection for me; that someone could imagine that
and then put it on the screen, and be able to make me feel like
that. My entire career, I’ve been trying to make people
feel the way Star Wars made me feel.
Q. Going into this film, people had been harsh about
Bad Boys 2….
A. Who! What do you mean, man? People like you, you know?
Q. I would venture I was not the only one…. You’d
also parted with your record company. I just wondered if you momentarily
felt unloved, given the previous success of your career?
A. Anytime you create, and you’re putting something
out in the world, you have to expect that some things are going
to be great, and some things are going to be not so great. Probably
Bad Boys is the most pain I have ever experienced in my career,
because I feel like the better movie was actually inside of the
movie that we had, you know?
I felt like, if you take 25 minutes out of the movie and get it
under two hours, cos there were things that were gratuitous, I
just felt like there was a better movie that was inside of that
movie, versus, for me, a film like Wild Wild West, where we just
missed. It was a swing and a miss, you know?
Bad Boys is much more painful to me, because I feel like I have
a relationship with the audience where I would strive for quality.
It’s sort of what I have with my fans, I don’t make
movies for money, I make it because there’s something I
would like to see, and something that I want the audience to be
able to see. For me, it’s more painful the quality let-down,
rather than the box office let-down.
Q. Do you pay attention to the reviews?
A. For me, generally, the type of films that I make are…
the summer films, at least, are virtually review proof. I don’t
think I’ve ever got a good review from one of the Summer
films. Cisco and Ebert, in the States, who were the most popular
reviewers, would give movies thumbs up and thumbs down. They gave
Independence Day four thumbs down. The only movie in their history
that they did so.
You know, they would give every movie a thumb up or a thumb down,
so it’s two. So they gave it two thumbs down, but then the
movie came out, it was successful, so they said, ‘well,
we’ll review it again, maybe we missed something’,
and they gave it two thumbs down again. So, from the beginning
of my career, I’m used to that, but more for a film like
Ali, or Six Degrees of Separation,
I desperately need you to stop writing bad things about me [slams
the table, and laughs].
Q. The film clearly states a bleak depiction of man versus
machine in the not too distant future. How are you both with technology/machinery?
And what’s the thing you most fear happening to man, with
A. I think the concept of the Isaac Asimov paradigm that
he set off with the three laws was essentially that there’s
nothing wrong with the technology. The technology is absolutely
fine, and the robots in this film are doing exactly what they’ve
been programmed to do. The problem is more man’s arrogance
in thinking that we can confine the universe to laws. The universe
will not be confined to laws, and the only thing that’s
going to happen is when we ditch harsh adherence to logic and
sort of reject our intuition, is only going to leave us in a situation
that we see in I, Robot. It’s not specifically what’s
going to happen with the robots, it’s more an indictment
of human logic, than it is an indictment of technology.
I think that the concept of technology is that we will have the
lower intellectual endeavours taken care of by robots, or computers
which will free man up and actually give up more time to read
books, and more time to evolve.
Q. Are you techno-friendly? Do you know your Google from
A. Oh absolutely! I love technology. Whatever the latest
‘in thing’ is, I’ve got to have it. I’m
a serious techno-geek.
Q. What toys do you have?
A. [Aside to press conference conductor] I think he’s
not giving enough people the chance. I think it’s beginning
to be rude [laughs]. No, I have my iPod, which is the greatest
gadget of the millennium.
Q. Do you think that the
future depicted in the film is actually just 30 or 40 years away?
Will the world be dominated by robots?
A. I think that if you look at the technology of the
last 50 years, it’s actually advanced at a rate equal to
the last thousand years, with the discovery of the micro-chip
in the 50s, technology is expanding expendentially. I actually
believe that the future that we see, the robot technology, the
electro-magnetic cars, all of that, I believe that may not even
be 30 years in the future. I think we could be much closer to
that. I think the robotic technology that exists, that we studied
for the film, they have cameras, in the States, in some of the
7/11s, that are programmed with theft body language; that the
camera can determine if someone’s stealing through their
Now, is that just a cool camera, or is that artificial intelligence?
At some point, the camera is going to be a better judge of who’s
stealing, than a person that’s sitting there looking. So
the technology is there, it’s just a matter of pooling the
technology into one piece of hardware.
Q. Given the CGI creation of the robots, could the film
be pointing to a future where actors might become redundant?
A. [In a mock voice] Hold on fella, hold yourself, I
resent that question [laughs]. No, actually, what we saw with
the film was exactly the opposite. The performance of Sonny in
this film is Alan Tudyk’s performance; it’s all of
the body language, the eyes, the facial motions, the voice, everything
is Alan Tudyk’s performance. You are watching the choices
of an actor that were adapted by the special effects people. That
cannot be generated, people go to the movies to see and feel humanity,
and at this point you cannot computer generate humanity.
Q. So does that mean in those scenes you shared with
Sonny, Alan was there and was then replaced, rather like with
A. Yeah, it was the Gollum process in Lord
of the Rings. Alex, speak to that for me, would you?
Alex: I think the connection that you have as an audience, with
Sonny as a character, really comes from a human being; more so
than the programme that created the look of Sonny. And that’s
Alan Tudyk. We think of it as almost sort of a reincarnation of
the soul of an actor into another body. He looks different, but
he’s still that actor, portraying that character, and I
don’t think that’s ever going to change. There will
always be a need for that origin for a character.
Q. You’re one of the few people I can think of
who has successfully shifted from the music industry into the
film world. David Bowie and Mick Jagger would probably loved to
have done so. When was the major turning point for you?
A. I think it was more, I think I was always an actor
that was rapping. The music that I made was always very theatrical,
especially with the music videos, and Quincy Jones noticed and
essentially said to me that you’re already doing it, so
come and meet some people for the television show, The Fresh Prince
of Bel Air. I think that making the transition to television,
prior to the film world, was the best thing that’s ever
happened to me. Television is like the gym, it’s a really
good training ground, a really good work-out. You have to learn
how to work fast. And having the opportunity to movie into films
was just a really gradual process. What you saw seemed big and
fast, but it was a really gradual process, and really Six Degrees
of Separation was the first real roll the dice on everything.
I also never had to do anything for money, which, I think, was
what really gave me the opportunity to make the right choices.
When people start offering you money, I think that throws a lot
of people off. You find yourself in a lot of situations that may
not be the right ones, because you need to get paid.
Q. You said you liked technology. Would you allow a robot
in your house?
A. Absolutely, absolutely…
Q. What household chore would you love it to do?
A. We can’t talk about that here! [Laughs] No,
I think the absolute perfect use of a robot would be as a golf
caddy. I play golf a lot and I’m really, really just not
good. And I think if you had a robot that could tell you exact
distance to the hole, and what the wind was doing, I’d probably
still be bad, but at least I’d have a robot.
Q. But you were a good caddy in The Legend of Bagger
A. [Laughs] Yeah, you know, I learned a lot but it didn’t
help my golf swing.
Q. You mentioned Star Wars before, so C3PO or R2-D2?
A. The chicks dig R2, so go to go with R2. If you’ve
got to hang out with the dude, and you’re drinking, you
got to go with R2 [laughs]
Q. Your character likes a lot of retro things - music
and trainers - so are you a retro guy?
A. I’m not really a retro guy, I’m a future
guy. Most of my interaction with the past, or if I’m looking
into the past, or studying it, it’s always to get a sense
of what the future is going to be. No old sneakers… my old
Technics 1200 turntables are pretty much the only thing that I
have musically that’s old. I’m completely into my
computer, my iPod, music programmes, touch screen, remotes, all
of that type of stuff.
Q. But what about the Stevie Wonder stuff in the film?
A. Oh love that! Love the Stevie Wonder music. That was
a personal choice.
Q. It’s been said that the triumph of Halle Berry’s
performance in Monster’s
Ball was not that she won an Oscar, but that she was picked
for a role that didn’t specifically warrant a coloured actress.
Would you say there is now greater equality in Hollywood casting?
A. The big issue, I think, with the racial elements of
Hollywood is that you have presidents of studios, and 90 per cent
of the staff are Caucasian, you know, so they’re going to
make stories that are close to their hearts. So, the scripts that
they are creating, the things that they’re trying to build
for their studio, are going to reflect their experiences. So,
once Will Smith, or Denzel, or Halle Berry shows another road,
or shows another angle, is when it comes on to the heads of the
studio’s radar. Until that point, you couldn’t, or
shouldn’t expect an American from New York to make a wonderful
story about someone from Ireland, you know?
Q. This film is kind of unique, in that it just tells
one story and doesn’t seem interested in setting up a franchise.
Was that part of the allure?
A. This guy, right here [points to Alex], and we’ve
had thousands of discussions about it, Alex is an art film director,
you know. He cringes at the mainstream concept. We talked about
the idea of Bridget and I kissing at the end of the film, which
is like the mainstream. But Alex is like [motions to vomit]. The
film that Alex created, and what he wanted to create, is just
beautifully artistic to me.
My favourite scene is Sonny and I in the interrogation scene,
which is so brilliant with what Alex was trying to create. I just
love the humanity of that scene. The direction that he gave me
was essentially that I was a racist sheriff, who had just captured
the person I am most racist against. That was like, wow, you know,
I was just not used to getting that kind of direction in a big
I was like, ‘no, I’m fine, Alex, just let me do me!’
[laughs] But his approach is such an artistic approach to it,
and the acting approach to it is so not a special effects blockbuster
movie kind of approach.