Interview: Jamie Kennedy for "Malibu's Most Wanted"

By Paul Fischer Thursday April 17th 2003 12:23AM
Jamie Kennedy for "Malibu's Most Wanted"

Jamie Harvey Kennedy was born in Upper Darbey, PA on May 25, 1970. Jamie became interested in acting at the age of fifteen, and appeared in a movie for the first time at age 19, as an extra in Dead Poets Society (1989).

His first role in a movie was as Brad in the film Road to Flin Flon (2000), which was filmed in the early 1990s, but was not released until spring 2000. He is most popular for playing the role of the movie-buff, "Geeky" Randy Meeks, in Scream (1996), Scream 2 (1997), and Scream 3 (2000).

In 1998, he won a Blockbuster Award for Best Supporting Actor in a horror movie, for his role as Randy Meeks in Scream 2 (1997). Kennedy will next be seen in the new comedy Malibu's Most Wanted in which he plays a wannabe rap star from Malibu who acts and talks like he's from the "'hood." Concerned that his son is going to embarrass him during his campaign to become the governor of California, Brad's wealthy father and his campaign manager (Blair Underwood), hire two Juilliard-trained actors to disguise themselves as "real life gangstaz", and kidnap his son, dropping him off in the "real hood" in Compton, in an effort to scare the ghettofied attitude and behavior out of him. Paul Fischer reports.

Question: Do you take into account that many African-Americans will be offended? Answer: Well, I don't think the movie's offensive. I'm sure some people won't like it but I've seen the movie with black audiences and white audiences. Actually, black audiences seem to like it even more. Anything that could be offensive or [we didn't push the line enough???], we would ask the different people in our cast and they would tell us what they thought the line was.

Question: What's something that was taken out? Answer: I don't really think there was anything taken out. I think when I did the scene in the club, one of the ideas that we had was that everybody wouldn't take me seriously, they would just laugh. We thought about it and everybody in the movie was like no. Your ass is thrown out, beaten and all that. We never were going to do that but we were just talking about different things that could happen. But that was one thing we worked on.

Question: That prank, did you think it was a real letter from Eminem? Answer: Mm-hmm.

Question: How will he respond to this? Answer: This character wasn't inspired by Eminem. I had this character long before I ever heard of him. I think he's a talented rapper. I think he's great. I don't know how he'll react. He'll either think it's funny, 'cause it's not really about him, or he won't. He'll get mad. I don't know what he'll say.

Question: Who is he based on? Do you know kids like this? Answer: Yeah, I think we all do. That's one of the things that I like about the movie was it was about a character, a white guy who thinks he has street credentials. He thinks he has a hood pass but he doesn't know anything about the hood. And everything he's learned about the hood is from TV. And he's willing to take the music and the culture and the dress and the fun things, but he's never lived through the stress and the strife and the struggle of someone that lives there. So, it was a comment on that.

Question: Why does the maid treat you sympathetically? Answer: She is a very loving woman and she took me under her wing and just decided that's how she was going to treat me, as like her own. She kinda raised me.

Question: Was she just humoring you? Answer: She probably was in the beginning just humoring me, and then decided that this is how he is and he adopted this lifestyle, so she took him under her wing.

Question: Are you comfortable talking like B-Rad? Answer: Yeah, I mean, I can do it. It's not that hard.

Question: How did you come up with the character? Answer: That was born- - I used to see this white kid in a west Hollywood coffee shop. He was always ordering vanilla lattes and be like, "Hey, man, I want some soy milk, bitch. Don't you know I'm lactose intolerant." He was always talking about his struggles and his problems. He drove a Mercedes.

Question: Do you share characteristics? Answer: What's similar is that we both listened to rap music from a young age, we're both from the suburbs, both adopted things from the hood but yet never lived in the hood. I was a whit kid, I was a wannabe grew up in the suburbs.

Question: When did that stop? Answer: Probably the last day of shooting.

Question: When did it stop in real life? Answer: I mean, when I moved out to LA, I still loved rap music and listened to it. But I think when I moved out of Philly and moved to L.A. I changed a little bit. In L.A., it's actually more acceptable. You can get away with that more as opposed to Philly.

Question: When did you go that's a wannabe and not me anymore? Answer: Probably in my early '20s.

Question: Origins of this script? Answer: The character was my idea. Then script, I had my friends and I wrote an outline of one, and then the guys from my show took that and rewrote it.

Question: Credited screenwriter? Answer: Nick Swartson, yeah.

Question: Other two? Answer: Fax and Adam, and they really made it a big script.

Question: What is the audience for this? Answer: Anybody that wants to laugh, have a good time.

Question: Realistically, more specific? Answer: Sure. I mean, who do I think the audience is? I mean, this movie was-we wrote this movie as a spoof on white guys that wanna be gangsters, who don't really come from the street. So, I think people that like my show will like it. I think it's actually an older audience than younger kids.

Question: Why has your show connected so well with people? Answer: Because it's really out there, absurd. We take a joke and really push it farther than people do and just keep twisting it.

Question: Turn it into a movie like Jackass? Answer: Yeah. Oh yeah;. I would love to do that. We really would have to come up with some really elaborate scenarios, but we've actually talked about that because I thought Jackass was really funny.

Question: Comparisons to Tom Green, are they valid? Answer: Well, we're different in the sense that Tom does his own thing and he's more of- - his show is him on the street with a camera. It's not really ever hidden. Mine is all hidden. His is more like the world according to Tom Green and mine is more like a hidden camera.

Question: Canadian network? Answer: I think you get it on the WB station up there, or maybe CTV, but you definitely get it in Canada.

Question: Influence in casting Bo and Ryan? Answer: Well, when those ideas were brought up to us, I was definitely behind it 100 percent. I thought that would be cool for an older generation. I thought they were perfect for the part.

Question: Did you talk to Bo? Answer: She played my mother and she's very sexy. Every time I tried to talk to her off camera, John Corbett was making out with her, so we didn't have a lot of time.

Question: How involved in business side are you? Answer: I love it. I'm definitely running this team and behind that. I don't think movies should be expensive unless they're special effects. The number one thing a movie should have is a great story, and if it's a comedy, then great jokes. This movie doesn't have to be more than 15 million and that's what it was made for. And my show, it may sound like a joke, but I think the Olsen twins are geniuses. They've created their own niche, they're good at it and they market it. Why not do the same for comedy?

Question: The rat? Answer: The rat was our big special effect, but honestly, we didn't even CGI his mouth that much because you give a rat a piece of baloney before, and they'll eat it and it looks like they're talking.

Question: How about The Mask? Answer: That would be a big one, yeah. Pretty expensive. We're still talking about parameters of my schedule and deals and stuff like that, but I've seen pictures. It would be massively big.

Question: Still do drama? Answer: I'm very young. People like to laugh and they seem to like me in that, so I haven't really ever had a chance to really sink my teeth into a real popular drama yet.

Question: Three Kings? Answer: Yeah, but I was still the comic relief and I don't know. Hollywood has to give me a shot. They haven't really given me a shot. I'd have to fight to get a drama right now.

Question: Interested. Answer: Oh yeah.

Question: What makes you laugh? Answer: I said this before. Documentaries. I know that sounds weird, but American Movie. That was a genius documentary. Blind Date is hilarious. The Fifth Wheel .Anything with real people acting like idiots, showing their real side of human nature.

Question: Was that intention of American movie? Answer: No. I think that they were really passionate about who they were. I don't think that they were idiots though. I think those guys were really passionate people that were getting their point across. But they were such amazing characters, I thought they were acting. I couldn't believe it was real. It's one of the greatest movies I've ever seen.

Question: Bowling for Columbine? Answer: Genius. I love that. I love there's a documentary called Frat House, Todd Phillips' first movie, I love that.

Question: How did you get started? Short version. Answer: Thank you. I hate it when people say, "So, you were five and now you have your own movie. What happened in between?" Well, I came out here when I was 17 and I wanted to get into movies. I worked at Red Lobster. I worked at Domino's pizza. Did all the basic jobs of a struggling actor. Started reading books, reading Dramalogue, learning about the business. Slowly by trial and error, I broke my way into it. got a little commercial, guest spots on TV shows, worked my way in. Years, about five or six years with no money.

Question: Was B-Rad too up on Snoop Dogg? Answer: Well, it's totally Snoop Dogg. I stole that right from him. I'll be first to admit that. Other languages I stole from other rap songs I've listened throughout my whole life. So no. if it was appropriate, the movie was a satire.

Question: Best piece of advice mom ever gave you? Answer: Follow your gut.

Question: Worst? Answer: She told me to get a job at Weiner schnitzel to support myself. That wasn't very nice.

Question: Did you like your cast? Answer: Oh, yeah. They were great. They added a lot of life to the movie. I mean, the first guy we got was Taye and he's a legitimate actor, serious drama guy. He said he wanted to do it, I was so excited. Then we got Blair who I grew up watching on L.A. Law and then we got Anthony who I think is really funny, so yeah, we got a lot of great people.

Question: Will kids imitate you? Answer: Yeah, maybe hopefully. They'll just say Don't' be Hatin'. I'm just imitating rappers.

Question: Are you hoping they'll stop? Answer: It's a comment of that. It's a comment on society. It's half of it was a comment on poseurs. The other half are there are kids out there who are really like that. The message is let them be who they are.

Question: Was the coffee shop guy real or posing? Answer: I think he was posing, totally, because he had a Benz, he lived in Beverly Hills. He claimed his hood was Tiffany, claimed he was going to bust some caps in people's ass on Rodeo Blvd.

Question: Wasn't he being true to himself? Answer: Well, that's a comment on society because he grew up listening to rap music and his parents were never there. He was a really rich kid. It's true. His parents were always in Singapore, so he grew up watching TV and thinking yeah, that's who he is. He didn't know who he was, so he learned that's who he was.

Question: Why does a rich white kid want to act black? Answer: That's a good question. I can only give you the answer from a white perspective. Part of it is because from a white perspective, being black is cool. They have their own language, their own dress, their own set of rules and morals. You see guys in the video drinking champagne without the glasses. They have girls they refer to as their hoes. It's exciting. And it's something to be a part of as a young white culture. And I'm just saying they embrace that part of a certain facet of black culture. Of course that's not all blacks. I think it's something that they can latch onto.

Question: Even though-B-rad makes a sign, he doesn't call people bitches and hoes. Answer: No, he's a nice guy.

Question: Was that conscious? Answer: Part of it is the character. Part of it is we didn't want the character- - you'd hate him in two seconds and want to punch his face in. We didn't want someone like that. The other part of it is me. I'm a sensitive guy. I get my feelings hurt a lot. So, when we do these jokes, I don't want to be mean.

Question: Best prank? Answer: There's many pranks I like. Some of the highlights are the fake game show we did, infomercial, Bob Saget's house, I broke into, some of the B-rad pieces, Judge Jamie, where I'm a rat exterminator.

Question: How long did it take to get the raps down? Answer: It wasn't that hard because I wasn't really good at it. We'd write them the night before and we'd add the music.

Question: Did Snoop give you tips? Answer: No. He did his own raps. I just came and did mind later. So, I listen to his songs, but it was more like rehearsing a scene, listening. It didn't take too long.

Question: Can you talk about the Hip hop explosion with Platinum and Marci X? Answer: There's been- - it's been now for I think 20 years. It's always been large and it's just now I think people are embracing it more, but I think it's always been big, in my eyes, for a long time. Clothes. And I think it'll be bigger.

Question: Will the Quaid movie be released? Answer: I want it to be. Have you seen it? I've never seen it either