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November 2005
Derailed: An Interview with Xzibit

Derailed: An Interview with Xzibit

By Wilson Morales

For rappers, the chance to do other things and let folks know how gifted they are, any opportunity is a blessing. Acting seems to be the bug of choice for a number of them. From LL Cool J, Queen Latifah, Will Smith, and many more, the transition is not the simple. Small roles can lead to bigger things and that's how Xzibit wants to take it. Having success in the music world, Xzibit is expanding his resume by doing other things. Currently Xzibit is the host on MTV's Pimp My Ride, a reality show that turns teens' junkyard-bound cars into dream cars. The show is in its 5th season. Earlier this year we saw Xzibit featured with Ice Cube in "XXX: State of the Union" and was also featured with Eminem in "8 Mile". Interesting enough, Xzibit will be featured with another rapper, The Rza, in his next film, although they don't have any scenes together. In "Derailed", Xzibit plays Dexter, a motel security guard, who's in cahoots with a criminal to blackmail a cheating husband. The movie revolves around a character named Charles Schine (Owen) and another, Lucinda Harris (Aniston) who fatefully meet and begin falling for each other despite their marriages. The two begin spending more and more time together until a tryst at a local motel turns into a nightmare. In speaking with blackfilm.com, Xzibit talks about working on this film, being thankful for the part, and his next film, in which he co-stars with The Rock..

Clive Owen, Vincent Cassel, and Jennifer Aniston had nothing but praise for your performance. How was it acting with this cast of veterans?

Xzibit: Music is my heart. Music is where I come from and the film and television opportunities that I have been over the last couple of years have been nothing short of amazing to me. I come from humble beginnings and I didn't have everything given to me. Everything I had I worked and so coming into this and being put into such an intense environment with the actors and actresses that have been put in this film; and even the films that I have done before this, sometimes you have to thank God for your blessings. This is one of those times.

Did you audition to be on this film? How did you get your part?

Xzibit: I don't audition for movies. I do rap music for a living. If you want me in your movie, then you put me in your movie. That's it. If you really want me, don't have me come in and read for it; just put me in it cause I'm going to show up and blow up.

What made you decide on this film compared to the other scripts that you have been getting?

Xzibit: Like I said, I've been blessed with music. I've turned down more stuff than I accept. I did "XXX: State of the Union" with Ice Cube because he and Samuel L. Jackson are some of favorite inspirations in life. I did "Gridiron Gang" with the Rock, my first co-starring role, because it's a true story and I play something other than what I am in life, which is a hip hop artist and a father. In "Gridiron gang", I play an assistant coach and a probation officer. These are things to me that I accept out of the whole genre of rap and that's what I expect out of my acting.

How much did you prepare for the role?

Xzibit: What the Weinstein Company did was that they gave me the script without telling me the principal actors and actresses. They gave me the script and who I was supposed to play and then I got into it from that. Once I got introduced to the principal actors, it was a short thing cause you can't get nervous when you are about to perform. You get in there and you know what you are supposed to do and you do that to the utmost. For me, being thrust into this decipher of actors that have been so experienced, it was important for me not to be Xzibit, but to be an addition to what was already existed and be an important part of it and not just be like, "Well, I got to shine." No, I got to play my part. In the scheme of things, when the movie is done at the end of the day, you saw how the crowd reacted and how the audience was into the movie, and followed it all the way down to the end, I was cheering myself when the dust settled.

Was this challenging for you?

Xzibit: Like I said, I come from humble beginnings. There was a time when I was sitting in an apartment with a candle and a can of Chunky Soup on top of it trying to heat it up with a spoon.

How do you try to balance doing the films you do and still keep your day job as a rapper?

Xzibit: Because I don't have to. I do things that I feel in my heart. I do things that I feel are right. I would never be a buffoon or an imbecile or a coon. I'm a strong brother that understands what I mean to this society, where I fit in this society, and how I can change this society.

You and The Rza don't have any scenes together, but did you and he talk about the film with each other?

Xzibit: No, we did not. The Rza and I step in and did our parts. We never saw each other on set.

How was working with The Rock on "Gridiron Gang"?

Xzibit: It's my first co-starring role and I'm in the film from the beginning to the end, and I swear, it felt so good making that movie because it means something. It has nothing to do with anything that I'm associated with in real life. When you see the film, it defines The Rock; it defines my acting skills as far as what I can do and what I can't do, and judging by this film, the sky's the limit.

Did you do any research for that role?

Xzibit: Yes, because I play a probation officer/ assistant coach so I don't anything shit about football but I had to learn. The Rock was a wonderful person to work with and he's a stand-up guy. I feel that that film will make an impact with the way we deal with other.

Anything else coming up?

Xzibit: Yeah, look out for my record next year, Dec. 5 - "Always Faithful".

DERAILED opens on November 11th


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