With director Tim Story’s comedy Ride Along hitting DVD/Blu-ray this week, I recently landed an exclusive interview with Ice Cube to help promote the release. As most of you know, the film stars Kevin Hart as a fast-talking aspiring police officer who must team up with his girlfriend’s (Tika Sumpter) brother, a hot-tempered cop (Cube), to prove that he’s worthy of being her husband. While Universal was obviously hoping for a hit, I don’t think anyone expected the film to make $150 million at the worldwide box office. But it definitely explains why the studio is quickly moving forward with a sequel, which is already slated for a January 15, 2016 release.
During the interview, Cube talked about the success of the film, why he wanted to make the project, the sequel, if it’s weird that he’s played so many police officers, what he recommends people do when they visit L.A., Straight Outta Compton (which he says is casting now and will start shooting this July), 22 Jump Street, doing a voice for the Guillermo del Toro-produced The Book of Life, the status of the Friday and xXx franchises, and more. Hit the jump for our Ice Cube interview.
ICE CUBE: At the time it had crossed that number, I kind of knew that the momentum would take it over that. We were just blown away by the first weekend, having that number. A number in the forties when predictions were high twenties for some people. That number right there is the number that really kind of had me on cloud nine the most.
The last few years you haven’t exactly been working nonstop as an actor. What was it about the project that made you say, “Yeah. This is something that I definitely want to do?”
CUBE: It’s been a project that we’ve been having in my company, Cube Vision, for over seven/eight years. We’ve been bidding on the project and kind of waiting for the right person to emerge. Who was gonna play Ben? Kevin, his career started to soar. He worked with Tim Story, I worked with Tim Story in Barbershop. The synergy was there, Tim wanted to direct on Ride Along, Kevin loved it, Will Packer came into the mix, and there we had it. We had a dream team sort of speak, ready to pull it off.
Universal has announced a sequel. When did they call you and say, “Hey, let’s talk about doing this again?”
CUBE: To be honest, and I don’t want to embarrassed nobody but they were talking about a sequel from the first rough cut of the movie. When Tim Story turned the movie in to them, they knew they had something. They knew they were gonna sell it, they knew they were gonna spend a whole lot of money to make it. So, the writing was on the wall.
Talk a little bit about where you are and how involved you are in the script for the sequel.
CUBE: We definitely got a script we’re working on, getting it cocked and loaded and ready. But that’s down the line, you know what I mean? It’s really all about the DVD that comes out Tuesday. That’s really what it’s all about, for people to be able to enjoy Ride Along in their own home or wherever they want to watch it, over and over and over and over again. That’s the beauty of tomorrow.
CUBE: People were just pleasantly surprised. The laughs were there, it delivered on everything. A lot of movies will deliver on the promotion but when you go see them, everything you laughed at was in the trailer, and it’s in the movie. With this movie, it was all these hidden laughs that nobody knew were coming. It wasn’t in the trailer and people appreciate that, that it delivered on the funny, it delivered on the action, it delivered on the story, and delivered in the entertainment value.
Are you ever surprised at the amount of police officers you’ve ended up playing in your career, especially after some famous lyrics back in the day?
CUBE: Not at all. Hollywood is obsessed with police stories. If you’re an actor in Hollywood and been doing it over 25 years, like myself, it’s going to happen. As long as it’s acting, I don’t have a problem. I become a real cop, then give me a call.
You have a production company and Ride Along was one of your long-gestating projects. What else are you developing that you’re really passionate about that you think audiences are gonna really enjoy?
CUBE: I think they’re really gonna enjoy Ride Along 2, of course with development, I think they’re really gonna enjoy Straight Outta Compton—the NWA story. I think they’re gonna enjoy Barbershop 3, that’s something we’re working on. Those are about three things I think people are gonna look forward to in the future from Cube Vision.
The movie Straight Outta Compton seems like a no-brainer but with the popularity of cable channels was there ever a debate for you thinking maybe this would be a better 4-hour miniseries or has it ever been for you a 2-hour movie?
CUBE: I would love for it to be a miniseries because there’s so many nooks and crannies to the story but it’s a feature film and we’ll try to tell the story—not try, we actually will tell the story within that 2-3 hour time period.
Do you think it’s going to be filming maybe later this year?
CUBE: Yes, it will be filming this year, definitely. We’re schedule to film and start production in July.
When are you going to be announcing casting?
CUBE: We’ve been casting for six months now, so we’re still in that process of finding the right people to represent the world’s most dangerous group.
Sometimes with life stories, you show so much it’s hard to focus on one little thing. Are you aiming to tell a few years of the story or what are you going for?
CUBE: We’re telling the story from the inception of NWA to the death of Eazy-E, that’s the story. You’ll see it and we’ll probably talk again.
I thought your work in 21 Jump Street was awesome. What can you say about the sequel?
CUBE: It’s the sequel and with a sequel everybody likes to waste more money. We played on that within the movie. What’s cool about the Jump Street movies is they can laugh at the themselves and they can laugh at picking the name of a TV 80’s show to do a movie about like 21 Jump Street. Once you do that, you can do anything. That’s what it’s all about, it’s all about laughing at ourselves. It’s the sequel, bigger budget, of course Captain Dickson’s got a bigger office.
The footage makes it seem like you get out into the field a little bit more. Does your character get expanded a little bit, do you get to do more screen time in the sequel?
CUBE: Everybody loves Captain Dickson. When they love you, they add more to you.
In Pacific Standard Time you talk about the Eames house. I loved your take on L.A., the statement about how each freeway has its own personality. Can you talk about some of your favorite places in L.A. for out-of-towners that you would say they need to go to?
CUBE: If they want to hang out, they’re gonna like Venice Beach or Santa Monica pier. Those are the greatest spots for any tourists if they want the flavor of L.A. Definitely take it Downtown, Downtown’s got a lot of cool spots, with the Staples Center right there but in Century City, Hollywood, Westwood, there’s a thousand places to go in L.A. and find something to do. We have Dodger games, we have Lakers games, Kings games, just have fun.
I know you do a voice in Guillermo del Toro’s The Book of Life. How did you get involved in that?
Can you talk about recording voice, was this one of those projects that changed a lot during the recording process? Are you done with it or still working on it?
CUBE: I’m still working. They’re gonna call me in in a couple of weeks and we’ll probably do more. It evolves with the drawing, so as they continue to draw, things evolve and things change.
Fans on Twitter wanted to know about Friday and xXx. Is there anything you can tell people about either franchise?
CUBE: New Line has really—the negotiations have been a joke when it comes to Friday, so I don’t know. Unless they have a change of heart, who knows. xXx, I don’t know, we haven’t gotten any talks about that at all. I think they’re going in another direction if they do it, which they should because I’m done.
Ride Alone is now available on Blu-ray.