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Ice Cube is the textbook definition of a multi-hyphenate. He gained noteriety with his music, but since the mid-90s he has been flexing his movie muscles as an actor, writer, director and producer. He's surely best known for his work in front of the camera at this point, but he's also been an important shot-calling presence behind big recent titles like Ride Along, Barbershop: The Next Cut, and the upcoming Fist Fight. Interestingly, it's actually this relationship between his seen and unseen roles that plays into why he prefers to produce his own films: he knows he's going to bear the public pressure as the face of a project, and always wants to be sure that what he's making is up to his personal standards.
With Fist Fight arriving in theaters this week, I recently had the pleasure of hopping on the phone with Ice Cube to talk about the new film -- and one subject that I raised was his role as a producer. I asked him if being a producer has an effect on the way he approaches both projects and roles, and he explained how he views his role behind the camera and what his intentions are with each new movie. Said Cube,
You know, if I'm in the movie I would love to be a producer, because I feel like I want to have a say in the outcome of the movie. I don't want to just be an actor for hire. You know, pretty much like after they say cut, they like, 'Alright, go home.' You have no more say. I want to be in the marketing meetings and then publicity meetings and I want to be everywhere I can to understand how this movie is going to be sold. Because ultimately that's me up there. And if the movie sucks, nobody is going to say the producer sucks!
Of course, being a producer is hardly a new development for Ice Cube, as it's a gig that he's had on his business card ever since he co-wrote the script for Friday. Since then, he has been a guiding force in many of his own franchises (Friday, Barbershop, Are We There Yet?, and Ride Along), as well as multiple television shows and the Oscar-nominated Straight Outta Compton. Some of Cube's greatest successes have come when he's kept a hand on the wheel, and Fist Fight very well could wind up being the latest.
Directed by Richie Keen, the new comedy stars Charlie Day as a mild-mannered teacher who finds himself in serious trouble when he rats out one of his fellow educators (Ice Cube), leading his co-worker to be fired. Incredibly pissed off at the public school system and the man who lost him his job, Cube's character challenges Day's to a fight after school -- leading the protagonist to try and find any way out of the confrontation. Fist Fight is arriving in theaters this Friday, February 17th, and be sure to stay tuned here on CinemaBlend for more from my interview with Ice Cube!