Jamie Foxx is game for any­thing

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - Showbiz - By RICK BENT­LEY

IT’S not a good time for Jamie Foxx (pic). It’s a GREAT time.

A big rea­son the Os­car- and Gram­my­win­ning per­former is so happy is that he’s star­ring in Baby Driver, the lat­est feature film from di­rec­tor-writer Edgar Wright. His role in the car chase/ro­mance/heist movie is as the psy­chotic Bats, a thief who is as vi­o­lently crazy as he is deadly philo­soph­i­cal.

The other rea­son for the un­bri­dled joy that he is show­ing dur­ing an in­ter­view is a lit­tle sur­pris­ing. Foxx is so happy be­cause he’s also be­come a game show host with the new Fox se­ries Beat Shazam.

Foxx doesn’t think the joy he’s feel­ing is iso­lated but he’s cer­tain this a great time for ac­tors.

“It’s a good time for en­ter­tain­ment,” Foxx says. “Any­thing he or she wants to do, there’s a great chance to get it on be­cause peo­ple are thirsting for this kind of en­ter­tain­ment.

“We were try­ing to get Beat Shazam to­gether for three years. I was telling my new man­age­ment ‘that’ was the move.” Foxx had seen how so many per­form­ers were di­ver­si­fy­ing the type of work they were do­ing. He pointed to per­form­ers like Dwayne John­son and Kevin Hart who are not only huge box of­fice draws but also have their own TV shows. Foxx wanted to star in a TV pro­gramme that re­flected his own deep in­ter­est in mu­sic while at the same time was “fun, funny and be full of guest stars”. Foxx is tak­ing his role as a game show host very se­ri­ously. The fact he has seen peo­ple win life-chang­ing money has touched him and there have been nu­mer­ous times Foxx, who de­scribes him­self as “an emo­tional dude”, has had to leave the stage be­cause he’s been cry­ing so hard.

The game show is the lat­est in a long list of cred­its for Foxx since the 49-year-old Texas na­tive came to Los An­ge­les. Af­ter years on the stand-up cir­cuit, Foxx hit it big when he joined the cast of In Liv­ing Color.

Since then he has starred in TV shows and films (in­clud­ing his Os­car-winning role in the 2004’s Ray) plus con­tin­ued his com­edy ca­reer.

Baby Driver is the lat­est film work for Foxx. It fea­tures a strange group of smooth crim­i­nals who come to­gether for il­le­gal ac­tiv­i­ties that tend to end in high-speed chases.

The play­ers in­clude: Baby (Ansel El­gort), the laser-fo­cused driver of few words; Buddy (Jon Hamm), a white col­lar whiz turned drug-us­ing killer; Dar­ling (Eiza Gon­za­lez), Buddy’s girl­friend whose aim is as killer as her looks; and Doc (Kevin Spacey), the mas­ter­mind of the group.

On work­ing with Foxx, Hamm says: “There is a place you get when you are com­fort­able with your tal­ent that is a real, grounded, cen­tred place. And, it is re­ally nice to act op­po­site some­one who is that com­fort­able. It’s nice to sit across from some­one who re­ally knows what they are do­ing.”

Cre­at­ing the char­ac­ter of Bats was the most fun of all the crim­i­nals for Wright. That’s why he was so happy that Foxx signed on be­cause the ac­tor could bring charisma and chaos to the role.

That was easy for Foxx be­cause whether it’s ei­ther very scary or very for­tu­nate, he has known peo­ple like Bats in his life.

“When I first got to LA, I would do standup com­edy for any­body,” Foxx says. “I re­mem­ber be­ing at peo­ple’s house and be in parts of this city that were ‘dif­fer­ent’. And some of these guys, I still know.”

Foxx also had a lit­tle un­der­stand­ing of what it means to play a char­ac­ter like Bats who is al­ways on the verge of be­ing in big trou­ble be­cause of his early days on the com­edy club cir­cuit.

One night, Foxx started do­ing his Mike Tyson ma­te­rial at a club and de­spite the ma­te­rial be­ing a big hit in past shows, there wasn’t even a snicker. That’s when some­one shouted out that Tyson was in the au­di­ence.

Foxx knew that this was a time when Tyson was known for knock­ing peo­ple out just for smil­ing. While he pon­dered that re­al­ity, two women in the front row taunted him about be­ing too scared to do the joke.

“That’s when this guy yelled out, ‘Mike says do the joke and that (ex­ple­tive deleted) bet­ter be funny,” Foxx says. “So I do the joke and get a stand­ing ova­tion.

“Mike comes up and says (im­per­son­at­ing Tyson), ‘Ya so crazy.’ The guy who was with Mike was a lot like Bats. On Mon­day night at the com­edy clubs, there were a lot of gang­sters in the au­di­ence.” – Tri­bune News Ser­vice

Photo: AFP

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