Ice Cube felt role was important
From gangsta rap icon to family-friendly comic actor — 20 years ago if you’d told Ice Cube that his career path would veer in such opposing directions he’d probably laugh dismissingly.
Nowadays, the 38-year-old rapper and actor readily acknowledges that he’s all things to all people, what with a string of family comedies beginning with 2005’s Are We There Yet?, its sequel Are We Done Yet? and now the PG-rated First Sunday.
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“I did those movies because they were good scripts and were something you really never thought you’d see me in,” Cube, born O’Shea Jackson, says of his lighter fare. “These were movies that I knew the people who grew up with me and the fans who have been down since day one. I’ve never done nothing for their kids … that was my chance after 20 years to do something for my younger audience.”
Speaking to the star, who rose to cinematic fame by etching his place in music history as a former member of pioneering and controversy-ridden hip-hop act N.W.A, it’s clear he understands the need to appeal to a wide fan base.
Even from his earliest days with N.W.A., Cube was focused on the business aspect of his career and landed in a feud with manager Jerry Heller in 1990 over the group’s contract and song rights.
Cube refused to sign the deal and left the group to embark on what would become a hugely successful solo career that would see him eventually branch into film — Ice Cube the brand was not only born, but carefully cultivated. First Sunday sees Cube unite with former Saturday Night Live and current 30 Rock star Tracy Morgan as a pair of lovable losers who decide to rob a local church to pay off personal debts.
Throughout his career, Ice Cube has never shied away from making often stinging social commentary with his music, which is why he felt it important to bring the film’s depiction of a devoted African-American father to life on screen. “As far as urban movies like this, you’d see a single parent home where the father’s absentee,” he says.
“Here you show the guy who wasn’t absentee. I thought it was important to show that because that’s the only reason you tolerate Durell. Through this whole thing is the fact that you know he’s only doing it because he loves his son.”
First Sunday opens in theatres today.