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Ice Cube / Actor-writer-director

April 05, 1998|Steve Hochman

Having started as a rapper in N.W.A., an actor in "Boyz N the Hood" and both screenwriter and producer with "Fridays," Ice Cube, 28, debuts as a director with "The Players Club." In fact, Cube (born O'Shea Jackson) uses all five talents in this project, set around a fictitious Atlanta strip club. In keeping with his own career track, he cast relative unknowns Lisa-Raye and Chrystale Wilson in the lead roles.

FRESH FACES: "It was both good and hard working with new actors. But I knew that's what I wanted when I was writing it. I wanted you to believe the stories and the characters, not think of the actresses. And I knew it wasn't impossible, because I'd done it."

BREAKS: "John Singleton pulled me off the street and put me in a movie, because he felt a vibe. In giving someone else that chance I didn't feel nervous. All they had to do was come in to the audition and prove they could handle the role. And I tried to teach them as much as I could about the mechanics of acting."

GEOGRAPHICALLY INCORRECT: "Shot this all in Los Angeles, and to try to make L.A. look like the South is a test. You can't shoot no palm trees, and there are palm trees everywhere. You don't notice how many palm trees there are until you try to shoot a movie."

CROSS-CULTURAL: "There are [urban] stories to be told, but how much will studios invest in quality? The same people who go see my movie are going to see 'Titanic.' Same black kids, same white kids. It's not just a certain group that just goes to see our movies so you can give them just a black-oriented advertising campaign."

JOB APPLICATION: "I auditioned for 'True Crimes' that Clint Eastwood is doing. That's something I know I could do, give the movie some authenticity. I guess he's supposed to look at it soon and determine who he's going to hire."

RAPPER TO WATCH: "There's a guy I work with now, Mr. Short Khop. He's the newest dude coming out of L.A., gonna make some noise. I got him on a couple of songs on 'The Players Club' [soundtrack] with me, and I'm putting him on my next album."

ROLE MODEL: "I think what [my directing] does is it inspires new directors, creators, writers--people who never went to film school, never went to drama school, never been on a set. I never went to any director's school or film school. No one taught me to write a script. I just looked at scripts I was getting and followed the formula."

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