About Features Reviews Community Screenings Archives Studios Home
March 2010
COP OUT| An Interview with Bruce Willis and Tracy Morgan

An Interview with Bruce Willis and Tracy Morgan

By Wilson Morales

February 24, 2010


With the success of his TV show '30 Rock,' comedian Tracy Morgan has certainly come a long way since his days on 'Martin,' where he played Hustle Man.

With a seven-year stint on 'Saturday Night Live' ('96-'03) and a few films under his belt, the New York native is now starring along Bruce Willis in the action comedy 'Cop Out.'

Directed by Kevin Smith, the movie follows two longtime New York Police Department partners on the trail of a stolen, rare, mint-condition baseball card only to find themselves up against a merciless memorabilia-obsessed gangster. Jimmy (Willis) is the veteran detective whose missing collectible is his only hope to pay for his daughter's upcoming wedding, and Paul (Morgan) is his "partner against crime," whose preoccupation with his wife's alleged infidelity makes it hard for him to keep his eye on the ball.

In speaking with Blackfilm.com, both actors traded wits as they spoke about working with each other.


Was it Kevin Smith who allowed you to push the envelope in this movie?

Tracy Morgan: Warner Bros. really took care of us. They're a classy studio, and they allowed us to be rated R, which is really difficult to get these days. We're adults. Growing up, there was rated R and rated X. I saw 'Orca,' 'The Exorcist,' and 'Enter the Dragon' all in one night when they used to smoke joints in the theater. Imagine watching 'The Exorcist' while you high! It's a totally different movie!

What's it like to be the sex symbol in this movie when you're in it with Bruce Willis?

TM: Oh, you're talking to me! Bruce didn't get any love in this movie.

Bruce Willis: He was trying to get some love, but all the scenes got cut out, there were too many hookers in the picture.

TM: For me that just means more babies on the way. That's it.

What does it mean to play a cop in this film? Bruce you've done it a number of times.

BW: There's a long history of all kinds of cop films. This film stands on the shoulders of all those cop films, going back to gangster pictures such as 'In the Heat of the Night.' Cop comedies, serious movies, 'Bonnie and Clyde.' All these films are really about the good guys triumphing over the bad guys. If you think about it, you wouldn't want to see a movie where the bad guys triumph over the good guys all the time. You'd get bummed out, and you'd just stay at home and watch the news. I think 'Cop Out' stands on its own as a film that has elements of a shoot-'em-up, elements of romance, elements of save the girl. Two cool, tough cops that know how to be cops, but at a certain point we drew the line and said we were just gonna make this funny and go for the jokes. Everything else is secondary to that. We just went balls-out comedy and tried to make it about that.


You guys have two radically different characters. Did you have a game plan without Kevin involved?

TM: We basically went off Ralph and Norton, me with my hairbrained schemes and him just like, "C'mon dude, I gotta go through this with you again? When do you find time to read about monkeys who like to get head?" That was just me and him.

BW: Our first day of shooting was a really interesting day. Without any pressure, without anyone ever saying, "You know if you guys fuck this up we're all gonna go home." No one ever said anything like that. Within five minutes of that first scene in the diner, our timing, our overlapping dialogue, pauses, just stuff you learn after years and years of doing comedy, just fell into place so easily. When we were done with the big master, everyone said "thank God" because had we not been funny and not had good timing, it would have been a different picture.


When you first came on board who was involved? What was the draw?

TM: Bruce was on board. They ran it past me, and I thought someone was fooling me at first, and when they mentioned Bruce and Kevin Smith, I was in. At that very moment, I became Paul.

BW: When I first got the script, Kevin was being talked about seriously. The script was written by Rob and Mark Cullen. Really funny guys. They were on the set the whole time, helped us through little changes, had ideas all the time. It made me laugh out loud and that's a difficult thing to do on a dry script first read when you don't really know what it is. It seemed like a fun thing to do. I met Tracy, and he was dead serious about it. They signed Kevin, and we all came to New York in a short period of time. If it hadn't been for the first day and getting along so well it would have been a different experience.

They say that you bring tools with you from your past lives for your acting. What tools did you bring?

TM: I brought my sense of humor. My sense of humor was a tool for me getting past my mother and father separating, my older brother having cerebral palsy and the bullies in the schoolyard, I had to make 'em laugh to keep 'em off my ass. I brought that to my professional career.

BW: I had a little brother named Ralph Willis. He's no longer with us, he was a lot like Tracy. I talk about him a lot. He was there with me.


Can you talk about working with Rashida Jones?

TM: I love Rashida, that's Quincy Jones' daughter. When we were filming, it was about the time Michael Jackson died, and I got to ask her about Quincy and when they made 'Thriller' and all those things.



Terms of Use | Privacy Policy