With “Barbershop: The Next Cut,” premiering tonight at The TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, California and set to open in theaters nationwide on April 15th, hip hop star and actor Common met one on one with AllHipHop’s Kylie Krabbe to talk about his experience as a newcomer to the “Barbershop” franchise, and how his love for his city of Chicago sustained him and gave him just the right amount of inspiration and confidence to give the role what it needed to deliver big laughs and political drama as an homage to both the franchise and the city that he calls his own.
Being from Chicago, how important was it to you to get it right in regards to what is going on with the unfortunate uptick in violence that is happening now in that city? I have so much passion and compassion for my city Chicago and the people in Chicago and what the people of Chicago in this story can represent for cities in America….It’s not only Chicago that’s enduring this and encountering violence and the struggles of fatherhood. Black men and Black women too have to deal with the struggles of American life, so I take a lot of pride in making sure that we were as authentic as possible and true to Chicago and also true to what’s going on. Capturing the spirit of what’s going on in Chicago and telling that story in an honest way so that people feel it and respect it… more than just feeling distant from it.
Director Malcolm Lee, as well as producer Ice Cube have made much of the idea that “Barbershop: The Next Cut” was intentionally crafted from a very inclusive and creatively improvisational mindset. To that end, what part of this movie would you say really has your mark on it? I would say in my performance the things that I felt were really like, ‘look Malcolm, this is how this guy, this character needs to say this,’ was the stuff about Trayvon Martin. You know, it was already written (in the script) about Trayvon Martin and the president, but then I kind of just started adding more things….I also expressed to Malcolm that I felt my character needed to be emotional with his lady and be caring… show that he was like… ‘I need to hear that I’m important too sometimes,’ but that he still showed that strength. Originally it was kind of like my character was almost getting pushed over by his wife. But those lines, I was adding that stuff….I think it shows the dynamic of what a man can be.
You are a completely new entity coming into this established franchise that is the “Barbershop” movies and it’s equally established fan base. With ten years worth of history there, were you nervous coming in to that iconic world – especially considering that these movies are comedies and you aren’t exactly known as a comedy guy? You know what? My confidence was grounded in that I was from Chicago. So I knew that… and I like going to certain unknown places because I just like challenging myself and growing and getting better. So okay, yeah I’m going to this real comedy so let me feel what this is going to be like. But then, just being around it I was okay. I just gotta feel who I am within this and feel who Rashad is and that’s it. I’m not Eddie’s (Cedric The Entertainer’s) character. I’m not coming up with the punch lines like they come up with. I don’t have to. That’s not what I’m here to serve in the story either. So I didn’t get outside of myself as far as who my character is, and I was really confident in the fact that I was going to bring Chicago to it like, yo’ I was going to bring all our slang. There was just certain things like neighborhoods. So when people from Chicago hear it they’re like, ‘damn he said Chatham! He said Auburn Park!’ So I knew couldn’t nobody do that but all of us that was from Chicago really.
“Barbershop: The Next Cut” opens nationwide in theaters on April 15, 2016.