Exclusive: Curtis ’50 Cent’ Jackson talks Freelancers
Exclusive: Curtis ’50 Cent’ Jackson talks Freelancers
by Wilson Morales
August 8, 2012
Curtis ’50 Cent’ Jackson seems to be ubiquitous these days. Either you hear his music on the radio, see his films on home video, barbershops and beauty salons, or buy his energy drink ‘Street King.’ Most recently, the Queens, NY native was seen in Las Vegas as he picked up his friend, boxing champ Floyd Mayweather, who was release from prison after serving two months of his three-month sentence for a misdemeanor domestic battery.
Coming out this week in theaters and then hitting Blu-ray and DVD on August 21st is 50 Cent’s latest film, ‘Freelancers,’ which also stars Oscar winners Robert De Niro and Forest Whitaker.
Directed by Jessy Terrero, the film also stars Dana Delany, Ryan O’Nan, Beau Garrett, Malcolm Goodwin, and Matt Gerald.
50 Cent plays Malo, the son of a slain NYPD officer. With his two best friends, he joins the police academy and after graduating he falls in with his father’s former partner and a team of rogue “Gotham cops.” His new boss, Sarcone (De Niro), will see if he has what it takes to be rogue through many trials and tribulations of loyalty, trust and respect. However, when the truth about his father’s death is revealed, revenge takes over and he won’t stop until justice has been truly served.
Blackfilm.com spoke exclusively with 50 Cent on the film, casting some legends, and his role as a film producer.
How did you put this film together?
Curtis ’50 Cent’ Jackson: I have tons of screenplays that get sent to my production company and I have people that I pay to read them. Whatever sticks out, they give to me and I read them and this is one of the projects I got excited about. The twists and turns in the story were intriguing. I started making calls to see how possible it would be to get the right cast involved. I had a relationship with (Robert) De Niro from ‘Righteous Kill.’ Actually, it was before that film. We were supposed to work on ‘Streets of Blood’ but he ended up doing something else. The person who was financing the project at the time, Avi Lerner, who I have done four or five films with, went to meet with Robert to talk about the project and from there we’ve had this little relationship where I can call him for different things.
You also have another Oscar winner in the film, Forest Whitaker. How did you get him involved in the film?
50 Cent: With this film, I had to make the calls myself to get some of the people on board. When I spoke to Forest about the film, it was a little easier for me because I had already secured Robert and it helped.
How would you describe your character Malo?
50 Cent: I would describe him as someone who is influenced by the environment and goes into different directions but his experience with his dad early on also aids him. Sometimes you end up in life going in cycles that your parents were in and I got to deal to with that from my perspective. I did some things that my mom did prior to me because of her associates and influences and finances where it helped develop that want for instant gratification. Going after that thing at the moment is the traditional way of acquiring things. In Malo, he ended up in his dad’s circle and started following in his footsteps. Emotionally, De Niro’s character felt that he was doing right by bringing Malo in his crew since Malo’s dad was his friend.
Is this a story regarding corrupt cops?
50 Cent: They had already got into a regiment of doing things that made them financially secured. Cops don’t get paid a lot but they are in control of a lot of money, so in this film, they take advantage of what’s in front of them.
Having worked on several films, what did you learn from this film?
50 Cent: In performing with De Niro and Forest, I learned that there is no one way to do things. There is no right way. There are so many variations of how to act and perform that the director has options of what to choose.
What are the challenges of producing and starring in films?
50 Cent: Well, for me the challenges will be different because creatively I won’t go into areas that are unexpected. Before this, I did ‘All Things Fall Apart’ where I lost 60 pounds to play the role of a cancer patient. With this project, I play a police officer. I get excited when the writer comes up with something that I didn’t foresee as I read the script. A lot of times, I watch films and early on I get an idea of what’s coming next.
You seem to be producing and releasing 4-5 films a year. Is it difficult to get these films in theaters as opposed to straight-to-DVD or VOD?
50 Cent: With my films, I’ve been in the green. I haven’t lost any money. We’ve sold our films internationally and created the right promotions. Having a limited release on this film is to create awareness on a bigger scale. Although it will be on VOD soon enough, the release heightens it and then I’m able to get the home video profits right away instead and folks don’t have to wait a long time before you have it in the comforts in your home. I think the future of the film business will be VOD.
Do you have time to be involved with other projects that you are not part of from behind the camera?
50 Cent: I haven’t done a lot of projects outside of my productions. I did ‘Twelve’ with Joel Schumacher because I really wanted to work with him. A lot of other projects that I’m involved with are always in limbo and this is why I went the route of raising the finances to produce films so they start playing and I actually carved out the actual start date. I don’t want to quit my day job to start working on the night shift. It’s important to me that the film starts production when it’s supposed to start.
How exciting was it producing ‘The Tomb’ with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone?
50 Cent: That was really exciting. We produced that film also, but the budget was higher. So we are starting to expand on that level. Once you starting doing well having spent a lot of money, it takes away the fear factor. What I’ve done with these projects is create a sense of security with the investors. The decision is to keep the budget in the right away where you can continue to do well and that encourages anyone to stick with you and put more money in.
How are you balancing this with your music career?
50 Cent: I haven’t released a full album in three years. The first single is out now and that’s me with Alicia Keyes and Dr. Dre and a quote from De Niro. He’s in front of the record. That’s the first of a few great songs that will come out before the album comes in November.
Is the album incorporated with changes there have been in the music business?
50 Cent: Absolutely. Things have changed dramatically in the last three years. I’ve my finger on the pulse to know what’s going on and I’m still passionate about it. I still have the ability to be a fan about it. Taking a step back for a little while helps me enjoy it.
What’s a good reason to see ‘Freelancers?’
50 Cent: It’s a great project. I took the time to put together the right cast. I think people will be surprised at my performance as well as De Niro and Forest Whitaker.