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Set Visit: Barbershop 3 - Making "the sequel no one asked for"

03.30.2016

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Why Barbershop 3?

Let's be honest; that's what we're all thinking. BARBERSHOP hit over 10 years ago with moderate success, spawning a sequel and the spin-off film, BEAUTY SHOP. Yeah, Kevin Bacon wishes I forgot about that one! Since then, no one was exactly hitting up the message boards of Ice Cube's fan page with a petition to "close out the trilogy", yet here we are talking about BARBERSHOP: THE NEXT CUT.

Barbershop 3 The Next Cut

While the BARBERSHOP saga takes place in Chicago, I found myself in Atlanta to check out the set of Calvin's now co-ed shop. When it comes to the movie, they'll obviously be spending the bulk of the run-time in the actual shop. However, for appearance's sake, the street out front and some of the shops surrounding Calvin's have also been created. Outside facades are generally pretty cool to experience on a set, even if you don't actually feel like you're on the location it's emulating. The babershop itself, however, is now bigger than ever. At some point in between the second and third film, Calvin has partnered up with Regina Hall's character, Angie, to create a co-ed environment including a salon. As you can imagine, the mixing of the sexes only makes the conversations within that much more explosive. This only serves to mirror what's actually going on outside the barbershop doors, where a nearby wall has been tagged with the words, "Stop the violence." So what the hell is going on in BARBERSHOP: THE NEXT CUT, anyway?

I went directly to the filmmakers for the answer to that question. Malcolm Lee (THE BEST MAN HOLIDAY, UNDERCOVER BROTHER) was taking over directing duties from Tim Story this time around. The man you want to thank/blame for keeping the dream of BARBERSHOP 3 alive, producer Robert Teitel, was genuinely excited to pull back the curtain on what's clearly an important and personal franchise to the man. Finally, we had one of the film's writers, Tracy Oliver, available to explain the voice she was able to give to an already established universe. Fortunately for audiences, all three of these people were well aware of the fact that no one in particular was really asking for a BARBERSHOP 3. Rather, they felt they had some funny and important things that they wanted to say using these characters as vessels. Read on!

Barbershop 3 The Next Cut Malcolm Lee Ice Cube

Producer Robert Teitel on the return of BARBERSHOP:

I hoped [BARBERSHOP] would come back. You get beat up in Hollywood so much, there's times like, "Are they ever gonna do it again?" And I just felt like, with everything going on, it just made so much sense. And it was quick! This is one of the quickest processes ever. I think it was May or June of last year when we conceptually came up with the idea. To [writers] Kenya [Barris] and Tracy [Oliver's] credit they knocked out a script really quickly. Once we read the first draft and the studio read the first draft, they were like, "Oh my God. This is in great shape already!"

Director Malcolm Lee on the story for BARBERSHOP: THE NEXT CUT:

One of the things that we're focusing on in the film is the gang violence that's occurring now in Chicago. Ice Cube's son is one that's being recruited by the gangs and he is having to, not only protect the barbershop, but protect his son from it. One of the things that they come up with as a shop and as a community is to implement a 48 hour cease-fire in which they're going to give out free haircuts and stylings so that they can get people to rally around the idea of peace.

Robert Teitel:

I worked with Malcolm before on BEST MAN HOLIDAY and I tried to get him [on BARBERSHOP]. So I remember calling him, before I had the script up, and I said, "Listen, I feel like I'm 17 years old and I'm calling a girl who I know is gonna say 'no', but I'm gonna call anyways!" 2 weeks after that I gave him the script and he loved it. Once I told the studio Malcolm loved the script, they couldn't have been more ecstatic. That helped me get this film going really quickly, too. I never really had any second choices. I should have! I just wanted him to do it. I knew he'd be perfect.

Tracy Oliver on writing for pre-existing characters:

It's harder to nail a voice that's already been created before you came in. So what I had to do, which is really weird but I'll share it, I would do an Ice Cube voice. I'd be at my laptop like, "Y'all, c'mawn." Ice Cube has a very specific cadence to his voice. He's not wordy and I'm wordy when I talk, so I would write things and I'd say, "Okay, Ice Cube would say this in half the words." With Cedric [the Entertainer], I just thought of my grandparents. Some of the newer characters, that's where we got to have fun because no one has ever seen or heard of them before.

Malcolm Lee on how he manages improv on-set:

You don't really rein it in. You just have let them be free. They're all improvisationalists. They're all trying to find the funny. I've learned very early on in my career when you get comedic actors and you're doing a comedy, you gotta let the comedians take what's on the page and just run with it. At times it gets a little challenging to say, "Okay, let's get a take that's just straight." But you want to have all that stuff so when you go into a test screening and the joke you thought was hilarious on-set and everyone was laughing about . . . you get crickets in the movie theater and you think, "God, that didn't aywork." And you can re-craft it or pick something else as a back-up. My editor, who's done like 5 pictures with me now, and I have never had this much footage in our lives.

Tracy Oliver:

At the end of the day, my name's gonna go on as 'written by' and [the cast] made it 10 times funnier, so thank you! We kinda wrote it with improv in mind - like more of a blueprint. Malcom knew that, like, "They're gonna go in there and . . . they know this is the direction and these are the topics we're gonna hit, but they're gonna make it funnier."

Malcolm Lee's final thoughts on the film:

I think we're making something that's going to surprise a lot of people. It's funny - Kenya Barris dubbed this "the sequel that no one asked for" and I think there are going to be cynics out there who say, "Barbershop 3? Really?" I'm hoping those people, that are the most cynical about it, when they see the trailer and they see the commercial spots, they're gonna say "Wow. I gotta see that!"

In Part 2 of my BARBERSHOP set-visit, I break down one of the scenes being shot, as well as which character absolutely HATES being called a "bitch." We'll also go over some highlights from my interviews with Regina Hall, Cedric the Entertainer, Eve and Common! Click HERE to continue the journey!

Source: MGM

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