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INT: Chris Rock

03.28.2003

A publicist walks Chris Rock over to a small table of journalists who await his arrival. As he is walking a young man, in a hilariously real-life representation of a gag in the movie, comes up to Rock and hands him a bag full of promo items for a hip-hop group he's part of. Everyone watching gets a good chuckle but Rock plays it straight, thanking the man and giving him a handshake before getting back on his way. As he goes to sit down at our table the publicist asks, "What's in the bag?" "Porno," deadpans Rock. We're just about to begin when we notice one of the four journalists at our table is missing. Rock asks me if I know where he is...

I tried to find him but I don't know where he is...

That asshole (laughs).

Are you all talked out?

I'm all talked out...but how are you? Here we go again...

Are you sick of answering any questions by now?

I'm cool. People are laughing at the movie...people laughing. You guys gotta be at a people screening.

I was at a people screening on Friday, the crowd loved it.

Yeah but even that was still half critics. You gotta go to a PEOPLE screening.

Ali said one of the reasons you wanted to direct this was to maintain more control over the material and your ideas. Have you had a major problem with that in the past?

You can look at my other movies and they're not as good as this one and I've worked with better people than me. Allegedly anyway. So, you tell me.

He pointed out that when you do your HBO stuff you get any idea in your head and just do it.

Yeah HBO doesn't really interfere. Only thing HBO cares about is wasting their money. "You're not wasting our money are you?" "No." "OK, say what you want." But I looked at myself in this as not the director, but the protector. Protect the script; protect the idea.

What didn't people get about your comedy on other projects?

I dunno...people have this whole notion of crossover, where you have to make it...bland. You know, a lot of white people like spicy food. My idea of crossover is like a Chinese restaurant. They don't sell hamburgers at Chinese restaurants. They don't sell American dishes at Chinese restaurants. They know this food is so good that everyone is gonna buy it. This movie is more...it's not a real attempt at crossover, this movie, than some of the other ones that were a bit...perhaps...

Some Chinese restaurants do sell chicken wings...

Yeah but only in the worst neighborhoods. In Bed-Stuy. But there everyone's got chicken wings in everything. The bakery sells chicken wings.

Think a black president will happen in your lifetime?

Think so. Condeleeza Rice is in the White House. Colin Powell is in the White House. Now we need to just get somebody that's in the chair. They're right there.

What about you?

Me?! I can't run for president. Done way too many drugs. Had way to many affairs and shit.

What surprised you about playing the commander-in-chief role?

Well I didn't really play that role. The movie's more about becoming the president. I do one scene as commander-in-chief, a little dance...

What about in a sequel?

You know, if the public demands it..."Chris you GOTTA do it!" But it's a harder movie to write. The one when you're in the office. It's easier to offend. I dunno. If that's what they want. I've never done anything good enough to warrant a sequel. But I'd love to.

Bernie seemed to think you were just BS-ing him when you told him the part was written specifically for him.

No, it was absolutely written for him. From the entrance to the whole thing. It was, "Ooh, Bernie's gonna be funny doing this...Ooh yeah, wait till Bernie gets ahold of this."

It wound up being a great pairing with great chemistry.

Yeah it's kinda like a classic comedy team. He's tall, I'm short. Deep voice, squeeky voice. Older, younger. Just kinda works together.

Did you go to the White House?

I was at the White House about two months ago when we were filming. Just hanging out outside and taking a walk and one of the Security guards recognized me and took me around and did a little tour. I didn't meet the president or anything...but I went around. I was in the Oval Office.

After directing this office, are you now going to direct all your projects?

I'll direct anything I write. I'm not handing over any movies anymore, that's not happening.

What directors do you like to work with?

I've liked pretty much everyone I've worked with. Kevin Smith is a great hang. Neil LaBute's was probably the best movie I've been in. Dick Donner having fun. Spielberg...

Who's left that you want to work with?

I wanna work with Spielberg, the Farrelly Brothers, the Coen Brothers, this guy Todd...what's his name?

Solodnz? Who directed Dylan Baker's movie?

No no...the ROAD TRIP guy.

Todd Phillips.

Yeah, Todd Phillips. I'd love to work with George Tillman. There's a lot of people I'd love to work with but noone's calling.

What's a dream movie of yours to remake and who would you cast?

I dunno...I wouldn't mind updating RAGTIME. Playing Coalhouse Walker. I dunno. Probably too many remakes already. We need original ideas out there.

The plot of the movie has a little ROCKY in it. Were there any other movies that influenced you?

There's some ROCKY in there. There's also MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON, PUTNEY SWOPE, HUDSUCKER PROXY...it's a classic formula. But I watched all those movies.

What do you think you'll say to guys who want to date your daughter?

Umm... I think Charles Barkley said it best - you kill the first guy and hope word gets out (laughs).

How old is she now?

Eight months.

How's fatherhood treating you?

Pretty good. Good so far. She smokes two packs a day. Other than that...

So were you off filming when your daughter was born?

No we were in preproduction, location scouting and just had to leave Baltimore and watch a baby come out.

Do you know what you're doing next?

I have NO idea.

Ali said you guys are kicking around some ideas?

Kicking around yeah. But we haven't written page one yet.

Any plans to return to standup after this?

I don't have a job right now. And baby needs diamond shoes (laughs).

Did you find it difficult on set to wear so many hats?

No. Kinda fun. I never got what I wanted from a couple of other movies. It was relaxing really. It was like "I can try three more jokes." I could try anything. And we tried and we tried and we tried. "Hey, get your hand off my ass!" [A line from the movie - MS] A thousand directors would've said no to that.

Source: JoBlo.com

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