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INT: Common


I’d interviewed Common before when I did the junket for WANTED. I liked him then, but when you get the chance to sit down in a room with someone and really talk for more than 4 minutes, it opens up a whole new world. When they brought me into his room over at The Beverly Hilton Hotel, he was talking about lunch. You see, what they do is just wait in their room and have a bunch of us come in, one after the other and finally, they are given the occasional break. I’m not saying it is tough, but it might just be a little repetitive. But Common seemed to handle it extremely well. He really is one hell of a cool guy.

When I sat with him to talk about WANTED, TERMINATOR SALVATION and what happened with JUSTICE LEAGUE, he was so open and positive. And I’ll be honest, I think this was one of my favorite interviews I’ve done. There was no bullshit, just a positive vibe and a chance to talk movies and music with the man. While he doesn’t have too much of a role in TERMINATOR, I hope that he keeps working and finding new ways to grow. This is the kind of guy that makes this job easy. And don’t forget, TERMINATOR SALVATION is playing at a theatre near you.


Okay man, TERMINATOR SALVATION, WANTED, you seem to be sticking to the huge budget movies lately…

Yeah man, I feel blessed to be a part of movies that are quality and that can reach a large audience. But my thing is, just being a part of quality things, because even if you leave a little ripple in the water, it still has an effect. If it’s a little independent film that I’m doing and if a million and a half people go and spend their money to go see it at the box office, I will feel great. But you know, as long as the word of mouth can get around about the work that was done in it, it’s quality. If it’s quality, man, it lasts for good, forever. That’s why we make, you know, that’s why you and I know who Shakespeare is, or Basquiat or Martin Scorsese. I mean, obviously he is still living in our time but we’ve seen RAGING BULL.

Yeah, we still watch RAGING BULL. I would even go as far and say we still watch TERMINATOR.

Definitely. Like when I went back and watched those movies, I was like, man these are good. Like they were really good.

Well that brings me to this question… going into this franchise, you have a whole lot of history going in. And while your character was new to it, did you still do the research into the mythology of TERMINATOR?

Yeah, I mean, I did my best to do my research because when I got approached with the opportunity to do this gig, to be able to be Barnes and to be a part of Terminator. McG was knee deep going into the film, so he had a lot of work to do and he gave me a foundation to work with. And I just felt that it was my job as an actor from there, to go research and find out every in and out that I could about The Terminator. Terminator 1, 2 and I watched 3 even…

Wow. You’re a good man.

[Laughing] You know, even with the way people feel about it, I still watched it. But I needed to know the history. I’m a student. I’m a student. I love the challenges and I love the chance of being able to learn so I went and studied.

And obviously with this film, you are kind of branching out to an even wider audience. Do you ever feel like you are going to get typecast in this type of role? Like, when you going to do a Jane Austin flick you know [Laughing]?

[Laughing] You know, first of all, I’m grateful for the opportunity. And I know that my vision for who I am as an actor definitely has more range then just action films, you know, one genre. I won’t ever limit myself. You know, I’m an artist, I can do anything. I’m concerned about it, but I see the future and I’m going to will myself and work myself into different genres of film. Like right now, I’m doing a comedy called DATE NIGHT. Even though I’m playing a bad guy in it, it is still in a different genre of film with Steve Carell and Tina Fey. And then I’m looking forward to doing a romantic comedy next, and then I want to do drama… I just want to show a wider range and depth of who I am. But you know, it’s America, if they see you one way, they kind of got to get a… you know, this is kinda who you are. And then, you’re able to show the diversity when you get the opportunities to. That’s just the way it flows I guess, in many aspects. It happened in music, like I created a certain thing in music and when I wanted to do something different, you know, the audience was like, ‘Hey man, we ain’t used to that comin’ from you.’

That’s gotta be kind of frustrating. Because that seems to be limiting you as an artist by saying, okay, this is what we want. Do you sometimes almost want to say ‘f*ck you’ to that attitude?

I mean, it’s like, it’s more like… look, my mentality has been like, y’all gonna get with this, y’all gonna feel this, you know, that’s like, I’m a believer, I’m a dreamer. Look, I’m gonna do something that’s a hybrid of rock, hip hop, jazz and it’s influenced by Jimi Hendrix and Pink Floyd and y’all gonna love it in the ghetto too. And that didn’t always happen but that’s just my belief. I feel like I can achieve anything so I just go for it. But it is discouraging sometimes to think that people won’t open their mind up to what you’re doing. I mean, it has to be good, it has to be good, but for people to say, ‘Well, I’ve seen you do this type of stuff and that’s all we want from you.’ It’s really like you can’t win or lose, win for losing because if you keep doing the same thing, especially in music, then they’re like…

Yeah, we’ve heard this sound before. But then you change and they are like, ‘Hey, that’s not Common.’

Exactly. But it doesn’t go that way in film, but no matter what, as the artist, you like… you see I keep growing… I’m definitely in a growing process and we always will be. But if I was the lead in like five straight action movies, I would be like, I gotta do a drama or something. So I know it gets to that point where… I mean like, I’m to the point right now where I want to do something dramatic. I want to do a comedy romance. You know, it’s just like, you wanna keep growing.

Speaking of trying to grow, what ever happened with JUSTICE LEAGUE? That seemed like a really good opportunity. What happened with that?

I think, you know, at the time it was the writer’s strike that disturbed the progress of it. And then I just think the movie just fell apart for reasons inside that I really don’t know, like the specifics to it. But, God willing, they’ll come back around with it and when they do, hopefully I will be the Green Lantern.

So you’re still pushing for it?

Yeah, I will go for it. If they do the John Stewart character. And who knows, they may go for Hal Jordan, the original Green Lantern. ‘Cause they’re making the Green Lantern movie with Hal Jordan.

Wow… so close for ya…

Oh man, I had on the costume for Green Lantern, we was down there rehearsing.

Oh man…

Yeah, it was for real, we were in production.

Damn dude, and to not really know the how and the why.

Yeah, we don’t really know why. But we know something wasn’t working. And you know, at this point, I don’t think it is anybody’s fault, it just didn’t work out so… I feel like, when its supposed to happen it will happen.

Now with your recent films like TERMINATOR and WANTED, I’m sure you’d be willing to do a sequel…


But I guess with WANTED, that would be a little tricky to return, unless it were a prequel. Has there been talk of that?

Man, I heard they may do another one. And if they do, I’m hoping that they do a prequel so they can show more of the back story of “The Gunsmith”, so you can find out more of who he is. I think it’d be cool to do that, it’d be fun. People really dug WANTED, it’s a fun movie. But yeah, there is talk about doing another one because it was so successful.

Yeah it was.

Yeah, it made the money. And that cast was really cool too. To have James McAvoy and Angelina Jolie and Morgan Freeman.

Angelina Jolie, that must have been a trip to work with her.

Yeah, she’s just a beautiful lady and just a talented actress. Just this… man, she just was cool, Brad Pitt was cool. All of ‘em. You know, like, Morgan Freeman… I’m amongst royalty.

Minor Spoilers

Now I’m jumping back a little to TERMINATOR. I felt like there was something missing within the film with your character. Am I right, will there be a few deleted scenes?

Yeah, it was a scene that McG and I wrote. It really dealt with, kind of where Barnes was coming from in a certain way. Like, how he felt about humanity. It really was to Marcus, to Sam Worthington’s character, where he was chained up. And it was really an intense scene, but I think they removed it. I think they said it was a little too heavy. I haven’t seen the film as of yet, but I know that it is not in there. There wasn’t a lot of character development for Barnes.

Let me know what you think. Send questions and/or comments to [email protected]



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