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March 2006
ATL: An Interview with Antwan "Big Boi" Patton

ATL: An Interview with Antwan "Big Boi" Patton

March 27, 2006
by Wilson Morales

With OutKast member Andre Benjamin already in the film business, it was only a matter of time before his partner in crime, Antwan "Big Boi" Patton, made the same transition as well. While his first film, "Idlewild", finally gets released late this summer, his official "jump off" gets started with music video director Chris Robinsion's debut film, "ATL". In "ATL", Big Boi plays Marcus, the local drug dealer who recruits a kid from the hood into his fold. In speaking with blackfilm.com, Big Boi goes over his character, working and shooting in his hometown, Atlanta, and the reason behind the delay of "Idlewild".

How did you attached to this film and getting into the acting business?

Antwan "Big Boi" Patton: I've had scripts brought to me in the past, but the roles that coming were not the ones I wanted to my entrance. The first film I did was "Idlewild" and it's a film that me and Dre (Andre Benjamin) shot for the new OutKast album. The movie comes out on August 25th and the album comes out on June 27th.

What was the appealing aspect of this character for you?

Big Boi: In "Idlewild" I played the all-around type of guy, ladies'man; I was like a boss, the great performer and everything and with this role, I play the villain and I got a chance to show range and depth and my potential as being an actor so I took it and my own twist on it.

Did you try to add something to this character that hadn't been seen in other characters similar to the role?

BB: Nah, I just took it from the heart and just ran with it. When I came up I was brought up in that environment so I have buddies and friends and family members that are still in that so to really pull from it was just a part from what I had seen growing up.

How was shooting the film in Atlanta?

BB: It was great. It was cool. Actually it was 100 degrees, so it was hot, but it was cool. It was a cool role to play. I really had a lot of fun doing it and being in my own home town and able to shoot at home and go home at night, it was great.

When folks see this film, will they get a good representation of what's it like in Atlanta or is this something totally made up?

BB: I think they are going to get the whole feel of the skating rink lifestyle that was going on the late 80s/ early 90s because the movie is told from the perspective of Dallas Austin and he's a good buddy of mine and he grew up back them. He was one of the producers to make it out of Atlanta and so I think it's pretty accurate in portraying the whole fashion and how people got along that was different classes through middle, upper, and lower income families. Like kids that went to different schools together became friends and learned from each other.

Did you talk to Dallas about his life growing up in Atlanta?

BB: Not at all. He was like, "I got this role for you to play" and I was like, "Cool".

How was it working with T.I?

BB: It was fun. It was like one big family on the set. We all knew each other with the exception of Evan, and once he came in, we kicked it for like a day or two, and it was like he was our little brother. We really just had fun. We were in our own home town doing what we want to do. Chris Robinson gave us a lot of freedom as far as the script is concerned. A lot of my scenes were, in particular, 95% improve.

Was making this film easier for you because you have worked with Chris in the past on some of your music videos?

BB: I think so because he knows me and I know and he knows what I can bring to the table and actually the first film I shot, Idlewild, with Bryan Barber, and there was another guy I knew and he just knew what I could do and for me to go out there and kill it was fun.

Was there ever a concern of making that transition from the music world to the acting world?

BB: Not really. I think it's a natural progression meaning that when you do music videos and things like that. Me and Dre are having like a 12 year run so far. Shooting over 25-30 videos is like 5 minute movie clips, so you get a chance to dibble and dabble in acting throughout the years and to come to the big screen, I think it was good. It was the next progression and the right thing to do.

At the same time you don't want to be in that category of musicians who failed at the box office.

BB: Yeah. I don't want to be in there; that's why when you get in there, make sure you get in and do your thing.

Is there anything you wanted to do but couldn't because of your role?

BB: No, not really, because I was in the studio working on the new OutKast record and I had limited time to work so that my schedule wasn't too heavy, it really was good for me because I was able to do music and go and shoot the movie at the same time.

What's with the numerous delays on "Idlewild"?

Big Boi: Well, the thing is, the music wasn't ready as of the end of last year and we are now 95% done and the album comes out on June 27th and the film comes out on August 25th. It comes out then because they said that we could have came out anytime between March and July but they had so many movies coming with Superman (Returns) and Mission Impossible 3 and X-Men 3, that we would only be allowed to be on 1200 screens, and if we waited til August, we would get 2500 screens. We wanted the maximum amount of exposure to our film so that's why we waited.

What's the main story of "Idlewild"?

BB: It's a secret. I work in a club where something happens to him and Dre plays the son of a mortician and what we do and what people might not understand is that this is not a buddy-buddy movie where it's me and Dre on the screen the whole time. Me and Dre have about 3 scenes together in the whole movie. There are two lead roles and two lives going on at the same time, for Dre, which is personal, and I'm a character called Rooster and it's the trials and tribulations that we gotta go through to get where we are trying to get, and that all I have to say for now. It's dope and the music and album is a masterpiece and I'm very proud of the work we've done and I think the world will be satisfied. It's worth the wait.

What's going to be the first single dropping from the album?

BB: The first single from the album is actually going to be a song that both of us together rapped and then we have 2 singles that we're dropping after that, and then 2 more.

I see that you have hot actor Terrence Howard in the film.

BB: It's going down. We also have Paula Patton, Ben Vereen, Faizon Love and everybody in the movie. It was great.

Why should we go see "ATL"?

BB: If you want to know what's been going on in Atlanta and how we got this slash and slayer attitude, and we came up in the high school days because the skating rink was the place to be and it was about style and attitude and how we learned to come up. Atlanta's so big there were different types of kids that were coming from everyplace to one high school in the neighborhood and just learning from each other. The movie is about choices. The movie gives an insight in that if you can do this, you're going to have to pay for it. At the end of the day, it's all about how you want to live and make the right decision in your life yourself.

ATL opens on March 31st, 2006

For more info on the film go here.


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