JOHN SINGLETON
Interview by Vinnie Baggadonuts

 
EVERYONE HAS THAT ONE FILM THAT MAKES THEM REALIZE THERE'S MORE TO CINEMA THAN MOVIES THAT BEGIN WITH, "FROM DIRECTOR MICHAEL BAY...." JOHN SINGLETON'S BOYZ N THE HOOD WAS MINE. HE SINGLE-HANDEDLY SHOWED ME THAT GREAT STORIES CAN BE TOLD ON FILM. HE SHOWED ME THAT YOU DON'T ALWAYS HAVE TO HAVE A HAPPY ENDING. AND HE'S CONTINUED TO DO THAT FOR THE LAST 15 YEARS. NOW HE'S PUT ON THE HAT OF PRODUCER, HELPING FELLOW WRITER/DIRECTOR CRAIG BREWER TURN THE BRILLIANT HUSTLE & FLOW FROM SCRIPT TO BIG-SCREEN HIT. AND I LUCKED INTO AN EXTREMELY BRIEF CHAT WITH THE BRILLIANT AND BUSY MR. SINGLETON.
 
Vinnie Baggadonuts: (answering phone) tastes like chicken.
 
John Singleton: (laughs) Whatís the name of the magazine?
 
VB: tastes like chicken.
 
JS: Okay. (laughs) Where you from, man?
 
VB: Milwaukee.
 
JS: Milwaukee. Cool.
 
VB: Thanks for doing this.
 
JS: Okay. Cool.
 
VB: I loved Hustle & Flow. What made you want to be involved with it?
 
JS: It was a great script! It was a cool script, and I knew it had the potential to be a hit movie.
 
VB: Because you write and direct some of your films, and Craig Brewer writes and directs his, were you happy with how he translated the script to screen?
 
JS: Yeah, yeah. His stuff is beyond what we had envisioned. Itís cool.
 
VB: I know you financed it, but did you have a creative hand in the film?
 
JS: Oh, yeah. (laughs) Of course!
 
VB: (laughs) Well, I donít really know what a producer does exactly.
 
JS: I helped to cast the movie, made sure the script was ready for production with the director... you know.
 
VB: Were you around for the filming, or was the first thing you saw of it a rough cut?
 
JS: (laughs) I was there every day, man. I was writing checks, and I was there creatively, too.
 
Both: (laugh)
 
VB: From what I read, it got picked up really quickly and was purchased for a record amount. That had to have made you really happy.
 
JS: Oh, yeah. They were chasing us while we were in production.
 
VB: Really?
 
JS: Yeah. Especially once we said we were going to do it on our own.
 
VB: Was casting the character of DJay difficult at all?
 
JS: No. We always knew we wanted Terrence Howard.
 
VB: Was he intimidated by the fact that he was supposed to be playing an endearing character, but in reality his character isnít endearing at all?
 
JS: Yeah. He really didnít want to play a pimp, but he came around to it. The hardest thing for him was being believable as a rapper.
 
VB: He seemed pretty believable.
 
JS: Yeah. Well, we had to take him in the studio and really beat him up; teach him how to rap, because he likes to sing. And weíre like, "No, Terrence. You gotta rap. You canít just talk it out. You gotta rap."
 
Both: (laugh)
 
VB: This was the only lead role I can remember him in.
 
JS: Itís his first lead role.
 
VB: He was so amazing. I think he deserves an Oscar, if not the movie itself.
 
JS: (laughs)
 
VB: Do you think thereís a chance for that?
 
JS: We will see. The story continues.
 
VB: Alright, well, I also read youíre producing Brewerís next film, Black Snake Moan.
 
JS: Yeah.
 
VB: What is it about his scripts that you like so much?
 
JS: They have so much balls, you know? Itís just another thing thatís really going to surprise people.
 
VB: What about the fact that this film took place in Memphis, and it was just a very Southern film all-around?
 
JS: I love it.
 
VB: You seem to do a similar thing in your own work.
 
JS: Yeah. One of the things I like about Craig is, he has a certain cultural identity to what he does.
 
VB: Is producing somebody elseís work something youíd like to keep doing?
 
JS: Yeah. I really would.
 
VB: Do you get a lot of proposals from people for it, or is it something you seek out?
 
JS: Yeah, a lot of people do. But nine times out of ten their stuff is wack.
 
Both: (laugh)
 
VB: So, whatís next for you? You have Four Brothers coming out, and I saw you might be working on Luke Cage?
 
JS: Well, weíll see what happens with Luke Cage.
 
VB: Thatíd be a pretty interesting project.
 
JS: Yeah.
 
VB: Last thing I want to know, going from this to Four Brothers, is whatís next? Is there anything else in the works?
 
JS: Oh, thereís definitely stuff in the works, but I donít like to talk about it in advance. I like to keep it a surprise.