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IS A BUSY MAN
By Brad Balfour
All rights reserved. Posted: June 7, 2005.
actor-comedian Chris Rock is, he never gets so worn out that he can't
crack a joke. And he has enough excuses to be exhausted, having both
summer blockbusters, The Longest Yard and
coming out on the same Memorial Day weekend. Yet Rock, one of the most
popular international stars to transcend both comedy clubs and Saturday
Night Live, has had both his own show and achieved the status of a star
who can carry a movie-especially if it's a good one. Rock has gone a long
way from Brooklyn and yet still lives there with his wife and two kids.
What do you think
about having both movies out on the same weekend--will this be the biggest
weekend for one actor ever?
in the morning and see The Longest Yard at night. Yeah, it will be
biggest weekend until the new Will Smith film comes out [laughs].
And what's the
difference between the two?
They're very similar
except in The Longest Yard, I actually had to wear pants. I'm a
guy, I get hired, and I ask: what do you need me to do? I'm like a fix it
man. I don't ask any questions. It's like, "Okay, huh, what? I'm a zebra?
Okay. I'm a zebra. What's a zebra to say? Okay, I'm going to say it. You
like that? I'll do it again if you need me to do it again." Higher, lower.
Jeffrey [Katzenberg] directed me in a couple of scenes. I do whatever they
tell me to do and then I go do The Longest Yard. Huh? I'm in jail?
All right. Whatcha' need?
Are you a fan of the
The Longest Yard [Adam Sandler stars in the same role in this remake as
Burt Reynolds did in the original]?
I liked the original
What did you think
about the role of Marty, the restless zebra?
My character Marty is
a zebra that wants to get out of the zoo and go live in the wild. He bores
very easy and, as a guy who wanted to get out of Brooklyn immediately as a
child, the same thing that takes him out of the zoo, took me out of
Brooklyn. So he gets the other animals to leave the zoo; and they realize
"hmmmn, we are zoo animals... We got to get outa here!"
What did it take to
get into your inner zebra?
How'd I get into my
zebra? [jokingly] I didn't even know it was a zebra until
yesterday! I thought it was a muskrat. Jeffrey [Katzenberg-head of
Dreamworks] cut it.
Even though you don't
really act together, this is a great cast.
So I get to star with
Ben Stiller, the Jude Law of comedy. He's in everything, every comedy--and
they are funny. I loved Dodgeball; I liked the Polly movie.
That was great, And there's David Schwimmer—who’s one of the Friends
and is friendly to everybody. He gives a big hug and Jada Pinkett Smith
who is a great actress in Collateral and is married to Will Smith.
And myself. They wanted David Chapelle instead of me! It was originally
Dave Chapelle laughs]!
Was it weird not
working with the rest of the cast?
As a comedian, I am
used to working alone, so it was no problem doing this.
What did you think
when you saw your scenes?
It's weird anytime
you hear your voice coming back. It's like "Do I sound like That?" And
then it's like "You're a zebra, do I look like that as a zebra?" I don't
like that as a zebra what a weird fight to have with somebody. I'm a
handsome zebra dammit! I like the dance scene "Move It, Move It" And I
liked the scene when Alex [the lion played by Ben Stiller] does his big
act, his big "ok its show time!" It was cool.
So the animation was
It's great. The
animation is so good you're not going need people anymore. The movements
look great and they're so perfect the legs, the lips are synched so
Did you relate to
Marty's mid-life crisis?
Oh no, I'm not [too
young to have a mid-life crisis]. Ben's going through it. I just turned
forty, and, you know, it's not what it used to be. It feels old. I'm old. I'm
old. Forty is old. Forty is only young if you're dead.
So you went soft for
It's nice to have
something my kids can see. I'll let them see anything [I do], but they
can't see my movies now until they're thirty. It's nice that there's something
they can see right now. That's an attraction. Hmm, all my clean jokes are
in the movie. They put all my dirty ones somewhere--in a junkyard, I
think. Once I had kids it made me start thinking about family movies. My
youngest daughter saw about fifteen minutes of it and said, "Daddy is that you?
I think that's you." Then she snapped right out of it and went back to
watching the movie.
And what's on the
Just lots of me
cursing. I mean, the zebra cursing.
What do you want
people to take away from seeing this film?
There's a big
friendship message and a big "the grass is not greener on other side;
appreciate what you have" message. That's a big part of the movie too.
Hopefully this will
be the last time to ask this but, what about the Oscars?
I've got to thank
Sean Penn who helped out the show and gave people little more to talk
about. He's in love with Jude Law; they're doing movie together. God bless
them, the big couples--Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes; Jude Law and Sean
Penn. But I haven't been asked back. I hope I'm busy.
Everybody seemed to
be laughing it up at the Oscars.
I know. And my phone
has never rung so much as since the Oscars. I'm getting great offers, real
offers from real directors to do real movies. Concert-wise, offers from
all over the world to perform. Put it this way: There's no piece of work
I've ever done, that I've been really involved in, that has pleased
everybody. I'm just not that guy.
Is Chris Rock getting
I hosted the Oscars
-- how much more mainstream can you get? I hosted Saturday Night Live.
What do I have to do? I'm a pretty mainstream guy. I just happen to curse