Chris Rock Interviewed –- ‘I Think I Love My Wife’

     March 13, 2007

Opening this Friday is the new film from writer/director Chris Rock and it’s called I Think I Love My Wife.

Here is the synopsis (from the press release):

Richard Cooper (Chris Rock) has it all. His wife, Brenda (Gina Torres), is beautiful, intelligent and a fantastic mother to his children–but there’s just one little problem: he’s bored out of his suburban businessman’s mind. Richard can’t help but fantasize about having nearly every woman he sees. Still, it’s only fantasy. Then, one fateful day, an alluring, free-spirited, not to mention stunning, old friend, Nikki (Kerry Washington), suddenly appears at his office door, putting him to the ultimate test. Just how much is Richard Cooper willing to risk when temptation comes after him? After all, he really does love his wife–at least he thinks he does.

I was going to write a synopsis myself but those words above are way too perfect. But I do want to say the film is about dealing with the same everyday boredom that plagues everyone and finding a way to keep yourself happy and enjoying the ride.

To help promote the film Chris Rock and the cast did a press day last week. While I would have loved to have posted transcripts of everyone I just don’t have the time to get it all done. So what I’m doing is posting the Chris Rock transcript below and the rest of the cast as audio interviews.

The interview with Chris Rock was done in roundtable form which explains the wide variety of questions. If you would like to listen to the audio click here. I truly enjoyed the honesty and humor of this interview. Chris spoke openly about how he would rather not be writing his own movies but that’s the only way for him to play certain roles and tell certain stories. And if you are a fan of his you should listen to it as his humor plays a lot better when you are hearing him speak.

And as I wrote above – due to time I’m only posting the audio of the rest of the cast and they are below.

If you want to listen to Kerry Washington click here.

Gina Torres click here – (for all you browncoats)

Louis C.K. click here

And if you would like to watch the trailer click here.

I Think I Love My Wife opens this Friday.

Chris Rock: It’s on tomorrow. Eddie Murphy is coming tomorrow to the premiere. Still means something to me. I still need the approval of my father. (Laughs.)

Question: As an Oscar host, Eddie left the show after he lost his award. What are your feelings on that?

If they took your tape recorder right now, how long would you stay there? (Laughs.)

Q: So he was robbed?

I’m not saying. Man, it’s art, I mean you can’t judge who did the better movie unless everybody is doing the exact same thing. It’s all subjective. If they all played James Thunder’s you could say who was the best one, but nobody knows who was the best? I can’t believe grown people have arguments about this.

Q: Chris, why this movie and why now?

Um, I wanted to have a departure. I wanted to be a grown up in a movie. No one was every going to cast me in a part like this. It was never going to happen. All the good parts, you watched the Oscars, nobody got nominated for a teen movie. ‘And the nominee, from ‘American Pie,’’ it just doesn’t happen. So, I really wanted to play a grown man and I still wanted it to be really funny. There is like this thought that if you do something mature it’s not going to be as funny as the gross out stuff. And I was like, ‘No man, we are going to play a grown man and it’s going to be real funny with grown man problems.’ So, that’s why.

Q: Did you cheat?


Q: Did your character cheat in this movie Chris Rock? Not you.

Does my character cheat in this movie? It’s weird ya know there are like eight different degrees of murder, but only one degree of cheating. Is that right? Did he kill somebody? Is it manslaughter? Is it aggravated manslaughter? What is it? Or is it just ‘cheatin’s cheatin’, no matter what’?

Q: You’re talking to a black woman, (inaudible)

Hey, he didn’t cheat! You watched the movie, did he cheat?

Q: Uh huh.


Q: There are emotional affairs.

Emotional affairs. Those are the only real affairs. Those are the real ones.

Q: Why is he attracted to Nikki?

She’s a breathe of fresh air. She’s new. We all want new. We scour the earth for new.

Q: What happens in a relationship today, how do you get past it?

What happens in life? It’s not just relationships. Think about it as life. People say, ‘Why is he bored with her?’ ‘Because he’s a human being that’s why. Same way his wife is bored with him.’ Look at all of you. You all loved this job when you got it. (Laughs.) You loved it. You thought it was the greatest job in the world and you bragged to people in your cars and you mamma. And now, we can barely get you here. (Laughs.) The same job! But that is what marriage – anything that’s supposed to be forever, your going to get bored with it. And there is nothing wrong with it, so don’t take it personal. If you are with somebody for ten years and they are not bored with you? Then something is wrong with them.

Q: How did you approach your wife about this movie?

Um, OK. The movie is a loose remake of an Eric Rohmer movie called ‘Chloe In The Afternoon.’ So, I mean that’s pretty much it. Anybody who is married to a comedian, you pretty much gotta, y’know the wife joke has been going on way before I was born. Comedians were doing jokes about wives. What we always say is, ‘I have a real wife and I have a comedy wife.’ My real wife is beautiful and intelligent and the mother of my children and my comedy wife is just horrible. And that’s how we play it and that’s how most comedians play it.

Q: Except when you go home?

Well, y’know, you can go home and you gotta make a living too. You have kids, you can’t talk about the kids, you gotta wife you gotta talk about things that people can relate to. Your life, your love life is your life, your job is just something you do to eat.

Q: But you know some real brothers like this.

I know some real women like this. Please, look at this. You guys travel for a living. There are more cheaters in this room. (Laughs.) You travel. People that travel, I mean, hey. (Laughs.) I’m just sayin’.

Q: How did you make the leap from ‘Head of State’ to this movie?

That movie I was kind of cocky. I had done a movie before that, actually with Kerri, ‘Bad Company.’ I wasn’t really satisfied with it. And I kind of did it for the wrong reasons. And I was like, ‘I’ll do the movie myself. I don’t need y’all.’ You can’t direct a movie with that attitude, like ‘I’m gonna show everybody in High School that I’m cool.’ That’s not how you direct a movie. So, this one I came in with a much more humble place and really I sat down with my cameraman and we really went through the whole script and we just drove around New York and said, ‘How beautiful can we make this city look?’ And, y’know, ‘How great can we make Kerri look? How great can we make Gina look?’ We really got into it, more so than ‘Head of State.’ ‘Head of State’ lives and dies on the jokes. If the jokes aren’t working, the movie ain’t working. This is a story and when you don’t like the jokes the story is carrying [it], the acting is tight and the camera is moving all the time. ‘Head of State’ is shot like a play. Just walk in a room and everybody just does what they do. It was just time to get better.

Q: Are you liking this directing thing?

I am feeling it a little bit yeah. I just directed a video for the Red Hot Chili Peppers recently.

Q: How did that come about?

They called me up. I’m friends with Rick Rubin and talked to him and told him how much I loved the Pepper’s album and there was a particular song, ‘Hump de Bump,’ that I really liked and he told Anthony and Anthony asked me if I would direct the video. And I said, ‘Sure, as long as you agree to be the only white people in the video.’ And they said, ‘Sure.’ So, it comes out this week on MTV, VH1 and that stuff.

Q: Do you like the shock value? Who wrote the line, ‘Are you still fucking your black wife?’ That just killed me.

I wrote that line. Cause, y’know, it’s what she would say? It’s what you would say. (Laughs.) Cause I know that girl. Y’know? I know that girl. Hey, I’m in show business, I grew up on the road. I’ve been a comedian for almost 22 years. I’ve met Nikki Tru a bunch of times.

Q: Do you think people will go to this movie and think Nikki has done nothing wrong?

Nikki hasn’t really done…she’s just Nikki. Brenda could have been Nikki if she didn’t meet Richard of if she went the wrong way and Nikki could have been Brenda if she just married some other, ya know what I mean? It’s all choices and where you end up at. We are all the same. It’s just a journey. I don’t think Nikki is necessarily the villain. She is just doing what she does, ya know?

Q: I’m not gonna cut you. (Laughs.)

No, no. I didn’t write it as a villain. One of my favorite movies is ‘The Fugitive,’ because Tommy Lee Jones is just doing his job. And that’s how it is in real life. The villain isn’t really like, ‘Ha, ha, ha. I must destroy you.’ Sometimes the villain is just doing their job. And Nikki is just, ‘Hey, I’m here. You’re here. I’m hot. I know you. It’s not like we don’t know each other.’ In a country where the divorce rate is 52% is it really bad to wait a marriage out? Just check in from time to time. Y’know, how ya’ll doing? I should check in on Halle Berry. ‘Hey, how ya’ll doing?’ (Laughs.)

Q: The line in the movie when you say ‘People who are attracted to each other, they have to work it out.’ And then the…

You know what that is. The important thing is when you get married is that you just can’t get that close to somebody. You just can’t get that close. You have to put this kind of a wall up and say, ‘Alright. It’s 8 o’clock and I’m going home.’ Or whatever. You can’t let it get to that other zone because you will have to check it out. Y’know it’s like heat at the hotel. There is a big switch that you either have on heat or air conditioning, ya know what I mean? In a big building and once you turn on the heat, it takes a lot to turn that mother fucker off. (Laughs.)

Q: If you could only listen to one CD for a whole year, what would it be and why?

Oh, god. I would go with ‘Songs in the Key of Life,’ Stevie Wonder. Pleasant.

Q: What’s with you and Oprah?

Hey, I love Oprah man. God bless Oprah. (Laughs.) Aren’t you happy there is an Oprah? I’m so happy there is an Oprah. But I was doing fine before I met Oprah. (Laughs.) But there is something about Oprah being in my life that’s made it a better life. I was doing fine.

Q: Kerri told us you were talking about how you had dinner with Oprah and Stedman and Sidney and…y’all like that now, huh?

I get invited to some things. (Laughs.)

Q: Can you talk about the trip to Africa for a bit?

Oh, it was, it was…the trip to Africa was life changing. I’d been to Africa already, but there is something about being at the school. Y’know, because the first time I went South Africa is just so rich and so poor, because you feel so hopeless because of some of the poverty. So, it was so uplifting to see that somebody had enough money to do something about it. To really do something about it on an institutional level. So, that was great and then also it was just great – it was me and all these Black people who had never been to Africa. Decedents from slaves who went to Africa and were kind of partying, like, ‘Hey,’ we came back triumphantly. Y’know what I mean? We left in shackles, but we came back in private jets. It was like, ‘Yo, we did it, alright?’

Q: What do you think about the criticism she got about opening a school in South Africa and not in the U.S.?

Hey, man. The devil. Y’know it’s like if she opened up a prison it would be like, ‘Thank you Oprah. Thank you!’

Q: You worked on this script for five years or longer.

Eh, four.

Q: So, do you have any other scripts?

Did other movies in between, like, ‘Eh, here!’ ‘Here’s a movie! Let’s go do this one!’ (Laughs.) Let’s wait on this one.

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Q: Do you have any others that are laying around?

I got a couple. I gotta go dust them off and see what’s there. I dunno, this movie is such a jump for me that I don’t want to go backwards. I kind of like where I’m at artistically. I think I’m in a new zone or a zone that a lot of brothers don’t get to go into, so I’d like to stay here for a minute.

Q: What do you mean by brothers?

I don’t know. It’s just a different type of movie. It’s just really realistic. The real stuff? I don’t see a lot of that from us.

Q: Where you inspired by any other directors? Because when I was watching it I was reminded of Albert Brooks.

I know every Woody beat, but Alexander Paye is really my living director idol right now. I’d love to work with him.

Q: How did you meet your own wife?

I met my wife – this is a great story. I was at a Knicks game. And me and my friends were leaving the Knick game and it’s at Madison Square Garden and right next store is the Theater at the Garden and they were having the Essence Awards. And you see all these beautiful black women walking in. And we’re like, ‘Man, we have got to crash this party.’ And we crashed the party, and it’s so funny, as we are walking through there it’s like all these women are so beautiful, ‘Hey, this is where you meet your wife. This spot.’ And I met my wife at the Essence Awards.

Q: What was your line?

I didn’t really have a line. She was working for Terry Williams at the time. She was working in publicity, so she actually came up to me and said, ‘Can you take some pictures with so and so?’ And I was like, ‘Hey, I’ll do whatever you want.’ (Laughs.)

Q: So how is ‘Bee Movie’?

‘Bee Movie’ is pretty good. Jerry don’t play that. Jerry is thorough, man.

Q: Who do you play? Have you seen any of it?

I play a mosquito. It’s kind of cool. I feel a little bit. It’s like ‘Shrek.’ It’s not like a whole new technology. It’s like a little better than ‘Shrek.’

Q: When he asked you to do the trailer did you think you were doing voices?

No, he told me what it was, but he actually told me Spielberg was going to be in it and when I get there, there is no Spielberg. (Laughs.) So, he kind of owes me. I don’t know how. I’m just gonna hold on to that chip and just figure out when I get to cash it in.

Q: How is fatherhood?

Fatherhood is great. There is no downside to fatherhood.

Q: You have done everything, what do you want to do next?

I just want to work with some good people. I’m so self generated. It’s not like, I’d rather be Matt Damon in ‘Hey, ‘Bourne Supremacy,’ when do we start?’ I’m not sitting around writing movies cause y’know, cause I want to. I have to if I want to take advantage of this opportunity and right now they are letting me be in movies. But, they don’t kind of make the kind of movies I want to make. They don’t let black people make them anyway.

Q: Does that mean the next project is going to be something you write and direct?

I would hope not. Just cause I need a break. Y’know, but I’ll definietely write and direct soon. Y’know, give yourself two years, three years. That Woody every year thing is hard, but I like how Alexander does it. Every three or four years he comes out with a new one.

Q: Are you going to go back to stand up? Tour or special?

Hopefully this year. Just a tour right now. I like it. I love it.

Q: Do you love topical stuff or political things you want to chat about?

Oh, I got to figure it out. It’s a good time. It’s like I write an act, I do it and then I wait for it to get a little stale and then I stop. I hate to be out there and then you have to wait a few years for the world to change.

Q: What do you think of Barack Obama?

I like Barack Obama. I thought he was really good the other day, the speech in Selma. I thought he was excellent. I thought he had the eloquence of Bill Clinton with all the fire and brimstone of Jessie Jackson. It was a powerful combination that I hadn’t seen from anybody.

Q: Are you going to go against type? Do something really serious?

This is serious. This is kind of against type. I’ve done ‘New Jack City’ and ‘Nurse Betty.’ If the right part I would love to, it’s just they don’t come along that much. You’ve got to write it for yourself, y’know? I write this, I write TV shows, I write stand up. I don’t want to be single at all. I have no desire to be single. It’s something to say in a movie, but if I was single, I’d be getting married. I’d be getting married. Please… Who the hell wants to be single, I want to know who I’m eating with.

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