More than 10 years since we last saw Calvin’s Barbershop, Barbershop: The Next Cut shows that Calvin (Ice Cube) and his longtime crew are still there, but the shop has undergone some major changes, most noticeably that it is now co-ed and with its own new flavor of drama and gossip. But despite the love and laughs they get from their clients, the surrounding community has taken such a turn for the worse than Calvin and his friends decide to come together to try to save the shop and their neighborhood, before it’s too late. The film also stars Cedric the Entertainer, Common, Regina Hall, Anthony Anderson, Eve, Lamorne Morris, JB Smoove and Nicki Minaj.
At the film’s press day, Collider participated in roundtables with Ice Cube, Common, Regina Hall, Eve, Anthony Anderson, Lamorne Morris, director Malcolm D. Lee and co-screenwriter Tracy Oliver. We compiled a list of 18 things that you should know about Barbershop: The Next Cut and the film franchise.
- Ice Cube thought the Barbershop franchise was finished. He didn’t think that MGM would want to revisit it, and he initially declined to participate in this latest film because he thought it might just be a money grab. But then, he saw an article about a guy who decided to give free cuts in his own neighborhood in Chicago, and the story started to reveal itself for what it should be, outside of the laughs. They had 10 years of celebrities to talk and laugh about, but he wanted to make sure there would also be a real story there before he signed on.
- When Eve was asked to return to the franchise, she questioned whether another Barbershop movie was necessary. And then, she read the script and learned about the new cast members.
- Common stepped into the film to take over after Michael Ealy decided to depart the franchise. According to Cube, Ealy decided not to return because he was looking to branch out and do something different.
- They felt it was important to utilize the flavor of Nicki Minaj, and the role was written with her in mind so that her persona fits the role. As a person and as a character, she sparks a lot of emotion, which adds to the interest of the movie. She even postponed her tour, in order to be able to do the role.
- Minaj isn’t just an acting newbie. She comes from an acting background, having gone to the School of Performing Arts in LaGuardia, New York.
Lamorne Morris so closely identified with his character that he felt like he was playing himself. That also made it easy to improvise.
- Common looked forward to the improv work and said that the scene of him by himself in the car was ad-libbed. He just got to go off about what Minaj’s character’s true intentions really were.
- Eve said that the vibe on set was great because everyone in the ensemble respected each other. They all hung out on set together and everyone was cool.
- The ensemble of actors was put through barber and beauty school, so that they knew how to cut hair or do a weave, depending on what their character’s skill was.
- It was a challenge to figure out how to make sure everyone’s voice is heard without having a three-hour movie. When you have a cast with this many talented people, it’s important to set everyone in the cast up to be able to do their thing, and give them enough scenes where they can pop and not waste their time. You want people to shine, no matter how many or how few scenes they might have.
- They never wanted the audience to forget they were watching a comedy, no matter how heavy things got, so they wanted to always make sure to have a joke in there. They also wanted to make sure each character has a mini-arc in the movie, where they learn something and have some character growth.
The story is told like a play, where you don’t get to cut to different locations and it’s very heavy on dialogue. In that dialogue, it was important to make sure there were different and opposing points of view, throughout the film, with the various characters. The Barbershop is a perfect location for that because that’s where those types of conversations happen naturally.
- They were in the Barbershop for three and a half weeks, so they had to be inventive in how they shot it and the way they covered people. There were some long days because, with the mirrors that would show the entire Barbershop, you’d have to be on set, even if you only had a line or two.
- Co-screenwriter Tracy Oliver said that the studio notes asked the filmmakers to go harder and push harder, and not to play it safe. They were never really asked to pull back on anything. The writers did find it hard to negatively talk about President Obama, but felt it was necessary to show both sides of that conversation, as well.
- Director Malcolm Lee said they made an attempt to get President Obama for the film, but didn’t expect to be able to do so. Instead, they went with an impersonator and just tried to be as clever as they could about how they shot him.
- There was such a volume of material, from all of the improvisation, that the film really had to be put together in the editing room. By the time the friends/family screenings and test screenings come about, Lee likes to already know what he thinks are the funniest takes, so that if something doesn’t work, it’s even more apparent.
- The film shot in Atlanta, even though it’s set in Chicago, strictly because of the better tax incentives. They needed to go where they could get the most money up on the screen.
- Anthony Anderson believes that, much like the characters in the film, if you want to make a change in your community, you can’t sit around and wait for other people to do it for you. You have to own your own within your community, and then keep that money in that community. It’s important for kids to see that empowerment in their community and how that can change them because it can change the entire mind-set of the generation after them.
Barbershop: The Next Cut opens in theaters on April 15th.