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August 2004
On the Set Report: Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo

On the Set Report: Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo

By Wilson Morales

Like Richard Pryor, Eddie Murphy, and Chris Rock, Eddie Griffin has crossed many avenues to be a successful comedian and actor. Like the others before him, he's had a TV show, a comedy concert, and plenty of films, but he has yet to bring a character back to the big screen. Well, that's about to change as he's returning to the character T.J Hicks, the pimp who taught Rob Schneider how to be the perfect gigolo in "Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo", in the sequel "Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo". Currently filming in Amsterdam, Eddie called blackfilm.com to talk about the film as well as his other projects including playing his idol, Richard Pryor.

What's the weather like in Amsterdam?

EG: In Amsterdam, you can get four seasons in one day. When you wake up in the morning, the sun is shining, but by the afternoon, it's raining, and after that the sun is back out and then it gets cold. But today, we got lucky because we some sunshine.

While you are out there filming for like 16-17 hours, what do you do on your spare time?

EG: A lot of things are legal so like they have a coffee shop that doesn't sell coffee, if you know what I mean. It's a whole different kind of freedom here.

Was it easier to come back and work with same actors again?

EG: It's been five years, so I had to go back and watch the first film and to remember how I played the character.

What does your character do in this film?

EG: Picking up from the first film, TJ is a pimp of he-bitches. He has cornered the market in male prostitution.

What do we expect to see from your character?

EG: A whole lot of stuff.

With the first film, you had your hair braided. What style will you have now?

EG: The hair is still braided but it's a whole lot longer, but my character TJ loves the braids and he's mostly in sweats in Amsterdam

How does it feel to come back to a role you created five years ago?

Eddie Griffin: It feels like I'm shooting a sequel to a comedy. (He laughs.)

Did you ever think a sequel would be in store for "Deuce Bigalow"?

EG: Yeah. Anytime you make over $70 million dollars, trust me, they are looking for a sequel. It just took that long to get a good script.

This may sound funny, but did you do any research to make your pimp character look real?

EG: I didn't have to do any research. Two of my uncles are pimps if you watched "Dysfunktional Family".

The first film was released through Disney and now this film is being released through Columbia Pictures. Was it because Rob Schneider didn't want to tamed by the Mouse and put out a PG-13 film as opposed to the R-Rated version you guys are now doing?

EG: You know the Mouse has to be protected.

The last time we spoke, you were off to another country to shoot a film.

EG: Yes. I went to Africa to shoot a film called "Blast" with Ja Rule.

How does it feel to go out of the country to shoot a film?

EG: That's called blessings. You are paid to do what you like to do. You get to travel and see the rest of the planet. Meet new people and cultures.

The perception is that there's not a big market for African-Americans actors to see overseas. What can you say about that?

EG: That's what the business consensus is and it's doesn't make sense. I'm over here in Amsterdam and everyone pretty much knew who I was, so there something's selling over here.

"Deuce Bigalow" was the first film that Adam Sandler produced through his film company. Will he make a cameo appearance in this film?

EG: Nah, but he's also producing this film as well. Me, Rob and Oded Fehr are the only ones returning from the first film.

Did you get to ad-lib any of your scenes?

EG: It's pretty much all on the page. They wrote a good script.

What do you think of your career at this point? You've had a comedy special, a TV show, and plenty of films. Is there anything left to accomplish?

EG: Well, right after this, I get to play the dream character, Richard Pryor. It finally came through. It's going to air on Showtime in a miniseries like the Sopranos.

How long did it take for the project to get off the ground?

EG: Richard and his wife put it together. We've been talking about it for over 7 years.

Will you consider going back to television with another series?

EG: No. No network for the kid. Too much restraint on their part and 90 percent is not real. It's not for EG, and EG can't be easy on PG.

With this film being R-rated, was there a point where the jokes were too cruel for the audience?

EG: Nah. Shock the system. Everybody needs to shock every now and then. You get caught up in your own reality, so you need to be awoken.

What do you think about the state of black comedy films these days?

EG: I think black comedy is healthy.

You have so many other films coming out, so let's start off with "Blast". What's that about?

EG: "Blast" is more of an action dramedy. I play a tug boat character who's commissioned to an off shore drill area. A partner of mine had died and left me his child to raise; a six year old. It's around Christmas time and it looks like Green Peace is protested, and these guys get on the oil rig and they turn out to be terrorists. They kill the crew and kidnap the little boy. It's somewhat like "Die Hard" set on a oil rig, and I end up killing all of them and saving the little child and we live happily ever after. All of the humor comes with the character's personality. I'm basically the Bruce Willis character because the film is written by the same guy who wrote "Die Hard 2".

What's "The Wendell Baker Story"?

EG: "The Wendell Baker Story" is me, Owen, and Luke Wilson, and it's written by them. It's set in an old folks home in a small town. Owen runs the old folks home and we try to kill off the residents and steal their pension checks, and his brother Luke is getting out of jail on parole, and he gets a job working with us at the old folks home. He ends up hooking up with old folks and tries to do me and Owen in.

Eva Mendes is in the film. How was working with her?

EG: She's a sweetheart. The girl got chops.

What's "Irish Jam"?

EG: After I finish the Richard Pryor project I fly back to Ireland to film "Irish Jam". The concept is a small village in Ireland and the English have bought everything except for this one last pub and the pub is trying to stay Irish owned, so they come up with an idea to throw this raffle. The raffle is held in the United States and it brings in a whole lot of money but someone has to win. I play a taxicab driver in Chicago and I win the raffle. I fly to Ireland to see what I won and I won this pub. So I arrived in Ireland pimp style and with some of my peoples, so it's a culture shock. A clash of cultures and it's about two cultures coming together. I'm co-producing it.

Who else is in the film?

EG: We are just beginning the casting process.

With "The Richard Pryor Story", what time period of his life will you cover?

EG: From age 19 and up and it will be no holds barred. That's why it's going to cable. Richard is producing the film.

What side of Richard Pryor will you be showing that we don't know already?

EG: The child inside him that Richard never let die. That was the beauty of Richard. He was just a little boy. I'm going to do the best job of playing one of the greatest comedians that ever stepped on the face of this Earth. You cant half step when you are playing Richard. I'm going to bring the brother to life.

When will we see you on the comedy circuit again?

EG: I'm already booked through next April, so it will after to be next Fall once I'm done filming and spend some time with the family and kids.

What should we expect from Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo?

EG: Since we didn't do it at Disney, we are going all out. You should expect humor at its purest form and not watered down and PG-13 so the whole family can come. With this film, you can expect to get a gut laugh.

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