No matter how satirical a Quentin Tarantino film gets in its ultra-violence, there’s no question that the director expects his cast to approach the material with a grave tone.
As reported at Comic-Con over the summer, Jamie Foxx said that Tarantino told him to “get his slave on” in an effort to break his movie-star image during filming of the Weinstein Co.’s upcoming Christmas day release Django Unchained.
But that’s not the first time Foxx has been scolded by an auteur over his image — nor is it a finger-wagging that the Oscar-winning actor shrugs off.
In a conversation with Awards|Line, Foxx explains, “Oliver Stone once told me during Any Given Sunday, ‘You’re just not good at all.’ That was because I was coming from TV, and everyone says everything loud on TV while movies are more intimate.”
“Then Taylor Hackford told me on Ray, ‘If you ever F this movie up, I’m going to F you up. Now listen, let’s get it going,” quipped Foxx.
“Then I asked Michael Mann during Collateral, ‘How about I do my thang in the cab?’ To which he responded, ‘How about you don’t do your thang? Whenever have you seen a cab driver do his thang?’ ”
“But when Quentin pulled me in that room, it made me nervous, like when you get called to the principal’s office,” Foxx continued. “‘I’m worried that you can’t get into this character because you’re Jamie Foxx,’ Quentin said. That made me reboot my computer and was the biggest help to me. He said that if go out there and be the character, then the pendulum swing will be better. When Django evolves and becomes this guy, it will be like wow — I had this journey.”
Convincing Oscar voters of his sincerity as an actor has never been a problem for Foxx. In addition to winning a 2004 best actor Oscar for Ray, he was nominated that same year in the supporting category for his role as an innocent cab driver chauffeuring around a hitman (Tom Cruise) in Collateral.
“When we win Oscars, get TV shows and No. 1 songs — when we do these things outside of acting, it hurts us because then people identify with our brand. (As an actor), you want to work with tough directors.”