When Lottery Ticket hits theaters on Friday (August 20), its going to be the moment of truth for a film that boasts a stellar cast, an up-and-coming director in Erik White, top notch marketing and promotion, and even a little controversy to heat things up right before the release date thanks to Tom Huang, who is suing on the claim that the idea behind the movie was stolen from him.
Aside from that, Lottery Ticket is also pairing one of the most successful rapper-actors, ever, in Ice Cube with one of the brightest up-and-coming rapper-actors around in Bow Wow. And, although it might not be official, this could possibly be a passing of the torch between the two in a sense — as far as film goes at least — with Bow Wow taking on the role of the next big rapper-turned-actor. While time will only tell if Bow Wow can stretch himself artistically enough to be called one of the greats someday, he is here now and is making the most of his opportunities.
BallerStatus.com: What made you want to get involved in the project? Who reached out first?
Bow Wow: They contacted me, actually through my agents. Erik White, the director, got down with my agent and they called me down to the office to take a quick meeting. I ended up getting the script and I fell in love with it and told Warner Brothers and everybody else I was down, and as soon as I said I was ready to shoot, it was on. Then here comes Cube, and then after that, it was like a domino effect and everybody just hopped on board.
Ice Cube: The guys up at Alcon came up on the script and they were really interested in Erik White and thought he was ready to take the next step and do a feature. Given our track record, they really felt confident that we could really bring it home and give it that Cube Vision stamp. So we looked at the material and saw that it was good and we felt Erik was ready, so we signed on to bring it to life.
BallerStatus.com: What makes this different from anything else that’s out right now and why should people go see it?
Bow Wow: what makes it different is that fact that I know, for myself, that this is a character that I haven’t played and I think that that’ll be the answer every time somebody asks me what’s different about this film. It’s the fact that it’s just a different character, it’s a new guy and I think that the people are going to fall in love with Kevin. It’s just a unique story. We have a big cast, an all-star cast, and I believe that this movie can definitely be epic and I’m just happy to be a part of it.
BallerStatus.com: How would you describe your character, Mr. Washington, Cube?
Ice Cube: To me, he represents a lot of our elders in that he’s kind of given up on the youth. They still have some fight in them, but if they got to use all they fight to fight against their own children, than it’s not worth it. He represents what I think a lot of our elders think that the youth isn’t really up to any good or really trying to do anything to make things better. What’s cool is seeing Bow Wow (Kevin) go through what he had to go through and seeing him standing up for himself and trying to do the right thing. It kind of gives Mr. Washington hope to come on out and start living together again.
BallerStatus.com: How much input did you have in the development of the character?
Bow Wow: Tons of input. I have a lot of input with every film that I do when my character is involved because I have to play him. It’s all about just taking the character and making him as real as possible. The more authentic it is, the better the reception is from the people, so for me it’s just all about just getting into character and becoming that character on and off set. You have to live like this character, talk like them and once you do that, it should just be easy, it should be smooth sailing from there.
BallerStatus.com: How much improv was there in the movie for your characters?
Ice Cube: Yea, he’s an ex-boxer who never really got his shot, he was just pretty much a sparring partner for all the great heavyweights and he was just a little bitter about that. So, I would add these old boxer names like Earnie Shavers, Ronnie Lyle, and others that people have kind of forgotten about, but were big time heavyweight boxers in the ’70s and early ’80s. It was cool to be able to improv and put that history back in to everybody’s psyche because after they watch the movie, somebody might Google Ronnie Lyle or Ernie Shavers and see who they are and what they did back in the day.
Bow Wow: Pretty much everything. That was the one thing that was really so great about doing this movie was the fact that we got a lot of chances to improv and ad lib, because like I said, you want it to be authentic and you want it to be real because it’s the little things that count when you’re acting. It could be a look or your eye line, whatever. The littlest things make the movie seem real and that’s one thing that I focused on. If you’re a real actor, you’ll catch that stuff in any movie. It’s all about making it believable because a movie is a movie, so it’s all about trying to make it as real as possible.
BallerStatus.com: What was it like being in a supporting role for this film?
Ice Cube: It’s cool, I’m not above that. I think that you have to do what you can do to make the movie better. The movie is for a younger audience and me trying to play the lead would have made it something different, so it’s cool to take on another role and come in and anchor the end of the movie and bring all the way full circle, while bringing home the message. I think Mr. Washington will be a memorable character and when you do a movie that’s all you want to do, just have a character that will stand out and be memorable to people.
BallerStatus.com: What was it like being able to work with Ice Cube?
Bow Wow: It was great working with Cube; I had a lot of fun. Just to work with somebody who paved the way for rappers to transcend into acting, it’s really a beautiful thing. I was happy, this is second time getting to work with Cube and I was happy that he came on board and made this whole thing happen. Anytime you get the chance to work with a legend, you and I don’t even have to talk about what Cube has done on the hip-hop front, you know he’s doing the right thing. He does his own films, he’s a part of the writing process and he’s very hands on in whatever is going on. It’s dope man. I’m happy to be a part of the Cube Vision family and I know this won’t be the last Cube Vision project that I do.
BallerStatus.com: What are some things that you got from him either directly or indirectly from being on the set?
Bow Wow: Nothing really because if you think about it, I got eight films under my belt, so it’s kind of like me and Cube are pretty much in the same boat. It’s like we have enough experience where we can help others now and that’s one thing that I do, I’m just a leader man. I just take leadership and with my experience I felt like I could help Naturi [Naughton], or whoever else needed help. If they needed it, I was more than happy to give them the advice and Cube is the same way. I might have asked Cube one or two questions, but other than that, I just felt like I been doing it long enough, and with my experience and being on the set with the right people, I don’t really have to ask anybody any questions, I pretty much know.
BallerStatus.com: What was the atmosphere like on set with such a great cast, and who was the funniest person behind the scenes?
Bow Wow: I’d probably have to say Brandon [T. Jackson] because I was around him the most, but when Mike Epps got on set, it was just stupid, it was crazy. He only had his one day on set, but he clowned. Brandon was the biggest clown of them all though.
Ice Cube: It’s fun. When you’re having a good time and you know what you’re doing and are prepared, it can be real cool. When everybody’s working on a movie and they feel that it’s coming along in the right way, there’s nothing like it. I guess it’s like being at a barbeque every day, you know what I mean? Just everybody having a good time.
BallerStatus.com: Do you have a desire to take on some more serious roles in the future as far as your film career goes?
Bow Wow: I’m pretty diverse; I can pretty much do anything. For me, it doesn’t matter it can be drama, it can be action, it can be whatever. I’m pretty much open to anything, so like I said, whether it’s drama, comedy, family movies, I pretty much can do it all.
Ice Cube: Yea because I kind of had more fun playing this character than a lot of my other ones because it was a challenge and I concentrated more. I was kind of fully engulfed with it.
BallerStatus.com: What are you thoughts on the recent controversy that has been attached to the film due to the?
Bow Wow: I heard about that, but I don’t really pay negative things attention. I don’t really feed into the whole story of them trying to sue the movie or the writers. To me it’s really just more publicity. The movie hasn’t even come out yet and you got guys fighting over it and wanting money. I feel great, it’s like the lottery ticket, everybody wants a piece, so now this guys wants a piece and it’s funny because that’s all it is. I read it, the guy was like “It’s going to do big numbers,” so he’s waiting for our box offices numbers to come in and then he wants to sue it. We don’t pay it no attention. Like I said, it happens in music too. It’s a movie … go write one and there won’t be a problem, just leave us alone. We got a good cast. We feel strong about it and we have a positive energy surrounding the movie. This is the first time I’ve ever seen TMZ report on a movie like that, so it’s free publicity and little do they know, they’re helping our movie. I love it, it’s more attention and the movie isn’t even out yet.
BallerStatus.com: Is the movie going to live up to the hype?
Ice Cube: I think so. The movie is good and it has moments in it that are unexpected, so I think that’s all people really want. They know they’re going to get the laughs from watching the trailer and there are more laughs that couldn’t even fit in the trailer, but it does have those moments that make you think as well. It’s everybody’s dream to win all that money and this movie really gets to show you what happens if you do win.
Bow Wow: Yes it does, because there have so many people before they saw the movie who were like, “Man is it going to be like…?”, and then as soon as they go see it, they’re like “Oh my God, the movie is just incredible.” It lives up to the hype and the expectations. I know that it’s like the one movie that’s being heavily promoted everywhere and of course, it’s going to live up to the hype. You have to live up to the hype when you have myself, Ice Cube, Mike Epps, Charlie Murphy, Terri Crews, Loretta Devine, T-Pain, Brandon T. Jackson, Naturi Naughton and Keith David as well. It’s only right, you know, we’re going to live up to the hype and I can’t wait.
BallerStatus.com: Is it hard managing all the facets of your career and making sure you devote enough time to each one?
Ice Cube: I’m not going to say it’s easy, but it’s what I love to do so that makes it not hard. I got people in the right places that don’t really make moves until they check with me and we get a lot done. The key to getting it all done is to each day work on what you’re working on. You can’t think about what you have to work on tomorrow, just think about what you have to do today and do it the best that you can and tomorrow have that same attitude.
BallerStatus.com: Do you ever see yourself making that transition into becoming a full time actor?
Bow Wow: I see myself totally giving up music, probably in a year and a half and just focusing only on movies, period. That’s all I’m going to do and that’s all I want to do. I see myself completely stopping music probably in like a year and a half. This is just what I want to do. I love making films; it’s a part of me and it’s fun and challenging. I feel like I’ve done everything possible on the music front and I want to go out on top. I’ve stayed in my lane with the whole rap thing. I’ve done seven arena tours, sold 10 million albums combined, 10 top-ten records underneath my belt, my hallway is filled with platinum plaques and one gold plaque, so I’m cool. I feel like if my music career ended right now, I would really be fine because there’s not a young person who has accomplished what I’ve accomplished. I won the first ever BET Viewer’s Choice award, that’s history. I was the youngest artist to ever go number one … the youngest ever, so it’s like I’m cool, if it ended all right now I’m fine. This is what I want to do. I feel like I’ve devoted half of my life to music and now I want to the rest of my energy and hard work and dedication into filmmaking. That never gets old, but I’m not stopping music right now. I just signed to Cash Money. Of course I’m going to put out another album and then after that, I’ll see how I feel. But as of right now, I give myself another year and a half, two years, with music and then I’m going to call it quits and that’s confirmed.