Actor Jamie Foxx is a man of many talents. From acting to singing, to performing stand-up comedy, Jamie Foxx has come, seen, and conquered, adding a latest partnership with famed director Ron Howard under his belt.
GlobalGrind caught up with the Django Unchained actor to chit-chat with him about his new partnership with Ron Howard and four other influential celebrities on the Canon-sponsored Project Imaginat10n.
Ron Howard has gathered five of his influential celebrity friends from five diverse disciplines who will direct short films under his tutelage.
Jamie Foxx, Eva Longoria, Twitter co-founder Biz Stone, James Murphy, and Georgina Chapman are expected to choose 10 photos to inspire their films, which will then go into production in 2013 and be showcased at a special film festival.
Jamie Foxx also dished about his forthcoming movie with Quentin Tarantino, new music, and working with Kanye West.
Check out an exclusive interview below!
GlobalGrind: So tell me about the partnership with Ron Howard and Project Imaginat10n.
Jamie Foxx: I first saw this project in commercials, and I was like “Wow! This seems so interesting where people submit photos, and a person like Ron Howard, a director of his caliber, would capture photos and turn them into movies.” I’ve had a relationship with Ron Howard since the inauguration of President Obama. We actually sat next to each other during the inauguration, and that led to the “Blame It On The Alcohol” video, and everything like that. It was sort of like a cool connection. It wasn’t like walking into a cold room, so we had some rapport. I also directed some small things like The Jamie Foxx Show, and things like that, but I wanted to go to the next level. This is a great fit to be able to go to the next level with the tutelage of Ron Howard.
Ron Howard is definitely an icon. Did he give you any advice, or did he just say “Whatever photos you see, just go for it?”
They’re actually voting online for the photos, and right now the discovery part of the photos is being voted on until the 24th, so people will vote for the different photos that they want, and we’ll choose the different photos. What will happen is, Ron Howard won’t necessarily be hands-on, but he’s going to be around to sort of point out different things that can help. He’s already given such great direction when we sat down for the first time. Some of the questions I asked him about had to do with breaking the rules when you’re actually shooting, and he said, “Sometimes you want to break rules. Sometimes you want to do different things like if you see a shot that you want to shoot, go ahead and shoot.”
What really catches your eye when you’re accessing photography?
I’ll tell you what the process is as far as catching my eye. Whatever the picture is, whatever the backdrop is, it appears that a whole story comes to me. I’ll hear music. I feel a storyline. I’ll see characters. I think it comes from the fact that it’s a God-given gift. At the same time, I watched so much TV when I was growing up as a kid that I thought of everything in TV terms or character terms, and it was sort of like a great exercise as a kid to sort of build my imagination as a young kid. The thing is, this film is not necessarily meant to be for other eyes or people to view. It’s supposed to be a personal thing, but I want to be able to do something within this 10 or 12 minutes that will be able to be submitted to Cannes film festival or Sundance. I really want to make sure that I give my all because people that are sending in their photos, I really want to respect that and turn it into something great.
Fans are really excited about Django Unchained, which comes out later this year. How is it working with Quentin Tarantino?
I’ve been lucky to work with some of the greats from Oliver Stone, Michael Mann, Tyler Hackett, Antoine Fuqua Sam Mendes, Ron Howard now, and Quentin Tarantino, the dude is a cinematic genius. He’s a throwback. He shoots on all fifths. He doesn’t shoot with multiple cameras. He says, “I’m a director, not a film selector!” Just the way he works with all of the different big actors. You look at Leonardo DiCaprio, Samuel L. Jackson, Christopher Waltz, and Kerry Washington, the performances that he got out of all of us is just amazing…When it comes to cinema, there’s two parts of how to look good. We’re just trying to get that check, that’s part of it, and there’s the part that wants real art, and you know that you’re doing something that’s going to last forever. That’s the side of it, that hopefully you’re career can be most of – that real, real art. It was great.
You’re on the set with all those great actors like Leo, Kerry, and Sam Jackson, what was the energy like on set?
It’s like an all-star game where you see the all-stars playing like Kobe and LeBron. It’s the same like that. You knew when you were going to the set, you didn’t have to worry about someone not being prepared. If anything, you had to worry about holding your own because when Samuel Jackson came to work he was not playing around. Leo would come to work, be in his character already ready to go, so there were a lot of nights where you didn’t get a lot of sleep because you were worried about being embarrassed for not coming with it. Quentin made sure there was an atmosphere for that, a competitive atmosphere. A competitive edge to everyone to come in and be the best you can be, and once you do a film like that, probably the next few films that you do, won’t live up to that.
I know you mentioned earlier about how you sat next to Ron Howard at Obama’s inaugural ceremony, so I assume that you’re voting again this year?
Yeah…you know who I’m voting for. That’s a no-brainer! When it comes to voting I’ve heard some people say they don’t vote like Lupe Fiasco, and a few other people say they don’t vote. Sometimes it’s not that they’re bad in their decisions because you could do whatever you want to do, but a whole lot of good people lived and died for us to have those opportunities. My daughter is now eighteen. She’s voting now. I made her understand the significance of voting because when you do vote, there a lot of things that can affect you by you not voting. A lot of different decisions that would come down the pipe that maybe if you would’ve voted, you could’ve been the deciding vote to have certain things change. For every person out there, I know now is a very nasty time. There’s a lot of mudslinging and everything like that, but even though that exists, whomever you vote for, I think that’s the classic American way. It’s your right to vote. You’re given an opportunity to do it, so you should choose whoever you vote for.
I know you’re busy with acting and everything, but what about the music?
We plan on doing some music coming out this fall. Dropping a couple singles. It’s refreshing to see R&B is back. To see what my man, Frank Ocean is doing and other folks dropping some real serious R&B. Drake as well with R&B and hip-hop. It makes it better for me. Sometimes you have to wait and watch. If I have to jump in the fray where all the music is one way, and that’s the only thing that’s relevant, I kind of have to sit that one out because I don’t want to look weird like “What’s he trying to do too?” I’m glad the R&B is swinging back. When will.i.am. and Black Eyed Peas hit with the up up-tempo music, that put a lot of strain on people, because you weren’t relevant if you weren’t singing like that. People feel like they have to follow the trends, so now I’m glad that the trend is coming back towards R&B.
Who are some of the people that you want to work with, maybe on your new project? You mentioned a lot of dope artists.
The combination of Drake and a couple of other young R&B individuals that are pretty much unknown. I always got my guys…those guys that I always hook-up with to write. I try to keep the same vibe. We just evolved a little bit here and there.
Any Kanye West, maybe?
I would love to do something with Kanye, but Kanye is so busy, man. He’s got so many things going on. I’m always rooting for him. If there’s ever an opportunity for us to work together, I’d love to work with him. He gave me my genesis. He gave me my start.
Have you gotten a chance to listen to hear Kanye’s G.O.O.D. Music Cruel Summer compilation album?
Yeah man, I’ve been checking out all the stuff they do. It’s great to see him doing his own thing…great to see him rise, do his thing.