If Jamie Foxx wasn't a singer-songwriter, comedian and Academy Award winner, he'd be a glorified liaison with an emphasis in party promotion. Foxx just has one of those personalities; he’s one of those guys who knows everybody. He's always had a knack for connecting to people and with people, so when given the chance to chop it up with his celebrity friends over a cocktail, Foxx jumped at the chance.
In partnership with Grey Goose, Off Script is a new series centered around Foxx and his A-list friends discussing life before the Hollywood lights, cameras and awards. Set inside his luxurious trailer, Jamie understands the hectic schedule of his peers, so to avoid having to potentially reschedule or be denied, Foxx brings the sit down to them.
VIBE caught up with the 50-year-old music producer inside New York's Mandarin Oriental Hotel. With sweeping views of the city's skyline, Foxx goes off the script about his series, jewels Denzel Washington has bestowed upon him and more.
VIBE: This is a beautiful view.
Jamie Foxx: You know what's crazy about people in New York? They never see sh*t like this.
No, we don't.
I had a friend come here, she's like, “Oh my God!” I said, “You live in New York. You never come up here?” And then she was like, “No, I never get up here, Jamie. This is crazy up here. It's nuts!”
New York is so ugly and so beautiful at the same time.
Damn, that's incredible. Why is that?
It's ugly because we don't have an ecosystem so rats are literally your size.
Yo, I seen a rat—my mother and my sister came to visit me, we were staying in SoHo, I looked back and saw my mother hauling a**. "Lord have mercy, Jesus! These rats!” And the rats are just like, “Yo what’s up Ma? What’s up, baby?”
[Laughs] I can't. Okay, why did you decide you wanted to talk to your famous celebrity friends on your new series?
You know what it is? It's like, I've been doing this for 20 years. I've been doing this for probably more than that. I have this interesting thing in L.A. where L.A. seems to be very plastic. I would always try to put artists with artists. So the first big party I threw in my little small house was with Puff. I invited the right people. I invited artists, I invited people that weren't haters.
Really? No haters?
No, seriously. I didn't want him to have that experience at my house coming from the East Coast to the West Coast.
I would invite people like, “Come meet these guys, come learn, come see what makes them tick” because we were all young. Standing on the wall was this guy nobody knew, he had this little green jumpsuit jacket on, it was JAY-Z. I walked through my garage and there was two guys standing in my garage door: tall guy, short guy. Short guy was like, “Yo, B, it's like this all the time? You know, like, people sing karaoke and like, hang out?” I said, “Yeah, who are you?” He said, “We're The Neptunes, my name is Pharrell.”
So I would put people in the same room. Puff would talk about how to be successful. Missy would talk, everybody would talk. It sort of started organically where I would have these cool parties. Quincy Jones would be at my birthday and my Christmas parties dropping knowledge. Denzel Washington at the table, talking to young folks. So when Off Script came about, I was like, “This would be great to do what I've been doing” and then we picked the list.
Why do you film inside a trailer?
I wanted to be able to go to them. The thing is, when you're asking these people, it's “Well, I don't know if I wanna–.” We’re right outside, dog. We’re right outside. The trailer’s right here.
Some of the guests on Off Script include Benicio Del Toro and Denzel Washington. All of you have an Oscar. That's an elite club. Can you take me back to when you won your Academy Award?
I'll say it like this: winning an Oscar was amazing, but I was very humble in the sense of I see Samuel Jackson, I see Joe Morton, I see these guys so I wanted to be humble because I knew it was because of them I got this look. At that same time, it was wonderful for everybody involved because on our side of town, for us black folk, it was really something to celebrate. I did it–I quietly did it my own way, I didn't go to the Vanity Fair party. I had my homie Day Brown, I said "Day Brown, look, set the party up." Don't say it's my party because then it'll make it look like I knew I was gonna win but set the party up just in case we do."
Man, I remember sitting with my daughter, she said, “if you don't win, you're still a great actor.” I remember LisaRaye at my after party going, “You did that sh*t!” You know what I'm saying? I remember people taking the Oscar out of my hand, holding it. "Aye, let me get that homie!" The Oscar just being passed around the room. People were taking pictures and there was dark liquor and smoke in the air, you know. I mean it was a moment. We really had fun doing that.
Where do you keep your Oscar?
I keep it at the house now. I didn't keep it for like years. It's in a case in the living room. When I have parties people come. The case almost looks like a museum so when I have parties, cats will just be walking past, you know, taking pictures with it, which is cool. And it's a trip because you got the Oscar, the Grammy, the American Music Award, and then my father's Domino trophy. My Pops was like, “Where you gon' put my–” Damn pops, OK.
Would you ever gun for a play?
I don't know. I don't think you gun for anything. I just think you go do what you do, you know? Even when the Oscar came about, I was just trying to do something with Ray Charles to freak people out. I wanted to be so in character, so much that Ray Charles' children would tear up. There was a lady who was smitten with Ray Charles back in the day. When I would get dressed up as Ray, she was sort of like the consultant–I remember getting dressed as Ray Charles and she was like, “Hey, Ray!” [laughs] Like she was reliving something.
So Mr. Washington will be on the show this week. What has he taught you? ‘Cause he's like the big homie to everybody in Hollywood.
You know what? Denzel is the most interesting person. For one, he's hella funny and hopefully, we caught some of that magic, but he also is very protective of his persona when it comes to his craft. We may be joking, having fun off camera, but when we’re on camera, he wants to make sure that it plays with the narrative of what he wants to keep. So he's always great in that sense.
D always has great jewels, like we talked about in this interview. We talked about social media and why he's not on social media. You'll see in the interview what he says, but it really made a lot of sense. Just, talking to D, it's like you're almost in awe. You're in awe of watching someone and you almost wanna go, "Did you know how incredible you are?" And Equalizer 2, I hear he's just like crazy and everything he touches is just crazy. He's like Michael Jordan or Lebron James in the sense that he should win every year. It's like we would just be going to the Denzel Washington show. He's just really that great.
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