via Forbes: What makes a great interview? Any journalist knows it’s capturing that candid moment, getting an interviewee to open up and reveal something about themselves that is fresh and unexpected. In his new web series Off Script in partnership with Grey Goose, Oscar-Winning actor Jamie Foxx speaks with the biggest names in entertainment, from Melissa McCarthy to Denzel Washington.
1. What drew you to the Off-Script project?
This is basically an evolution of what I’ve already been doing for the past 20 years. I’ve always had people come to my house and do these incredible, sort of, “off script” interviews without the cameras rolling. I used to throw these parties, and I would have people like Diddy, Missy Elliott, and Jay-Z all in the same room. I pitched this idea to Grey Goose and said I want to interview the guys and girls of today who make me go “wow.” Together we were able to take it to the next level.
2. What was one question you wanted to ask Denzel Washington?
I wanted to know what he did before he was an actor. I never knew that he used to be a garbage man and worked some regular jobs. Part of the reason I love doing these interviews is because it’s really interesting to hear how people got their start and what they did before they made it.
3. How has Denzel Washington’s career shaped yours?
D is a legend. I’ve always been a huge fan of his. He should win every award every year – he’s the most talented actor of our era. And he’s hilarious! People don’t know that side of him – the guy I see up at my house when we’re just hanging out and kicking it.
4. What does the phrase “being good is better than being known” mean to you?
It’s funny you chose that phrase because D actually brought this up when we were taping our Off-Script episode. I was asking him what he thought about social media and how a lot of artists try to use it to sell their movie or their show or their album or whatever. He said “I think if you drink too much water, you’ll drown.” He was basically saying that being known or being popular on social media is great, but at the end of the day your brand as an actor is your craft. If you’re not good at your craft, it doesn’t matter how well known you are. It all comes back to that.
5. At this stage of your career where you can really pick and choose what to take on and what to turn town – what are the tenants of a project that excites and engages you?
For me it’s all about good storytelling. If the story is good and there’s a director and other actors that inspire me – I’m in. I love the collaborative creative process. That’s what was so great about my new film that’s coming out in November – Robin Hood. Leo DiCaprio is producing the project and Taron Egerton is Robin Hood – he’s a young force of nature, and we had a great time making the movie over in Budapest and Croatia.
6. What do you know now in your career that you wish you had known starting out?
When I was up for the Oscar for Ray, I didn’t take it too seriously in the beginning. I was partying a lot at that time. One day I got a call from Oprah and she told me I needed to be more focused on it. I ended up going over to her house and Sidney Poitier was there. He said, “I’ve seen you’ve been messing around. I’m going to give you something. I’m going to give you responsibility.” I really took that to heart and changed my ways.