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Ja Rule - Precinct 13

 

The Diva's interview with
Ja Rule
One of the Stars of
Assault on Precinct 13 (2005)

 

The Diva's Assault on Precinct 13 Movie review

 


 

 

Comes in, sees the tape recorders, and says, “I feel like I’m in court.”

Comment: You’ve never been in court. [Just laughs]

Question:
How was the experience working on this film?

Jeffrey "JaRule" Atkins:
It was cool, man. I loved it. It was a great cast, a lot of energy on the set. Yeah.

 

Question:

What do you feel about your character you liked the most? Was it his fashion sense or how he refers to himself as Smiley?

JaRule:
(Laughing) I think the way he refers to himself in third person. I really didn’t like his wardrobe too much (laughing).

 

Question:
What did you learn from this experience? Never die in the snow?

JaRule:
Never die in the snow (laughing). That’s a good one.

 

Question:
As an actor, what did you learn?

JaRule:
Nah, I learned I lot of stuff from John Leguizamo and Laurence Fishburne on the set.

 

Question:
Are you getting scripts pretty regularly now, or are you still searching them out?

JaRule:
Yeah. (yawns). I get a lot of scripts and you just gotta fish them out and see which ones you like and which ones you don’t like.

Question:
What determines which movie you’ll take?

JaRule:
Good script. I look for a good script first. I want to play a character who’s interesting, stuff like that.

Question:

Who was attached to this one when you got cast?

JaRule:
Mostly everybody was attached to it. Laurence was onboard, Ethan was onboard. The gang was onboard when I got onboard.

Question:
What do you consider to be a good script?

JaRule:
It depends, you know (yawns). It has to have some substance. I don’t like doing (his phone rings)… I don’t like doing films that are just all over the place. I like doing films that have good substance and content in them and this is definitely a film with good content, and good substance.

 

Question:
So the character that you’re going to play, are there specifics that you look for? Do you want the character to have some growth or to have a moment where they change? Or is just that the whole movie has to move you, regardless of your character’s growth?

JaRule:
No. (yawns). My character is important too, as far as his… The whole movie has to move me, but the character is important, too. Like I could love the movie and hate the character that they want me to play. And then that’s a question of how much creativity will you let me bring to the character, if I choose the character. I may see the character differently than the way he’s written on paper. After reading the whole story, I may feel like, “I feel where you’re coming from with this character, but I feel he wouldn’t act that way in this situation. I want him to be more like this…” Or whatever. That’s what you do. You try to bring your own personality to these characters.

Question:
Is it tougher to be an actor because as a musician, you’re more in control of your material?

JaRule:
That’s tough. That’s the tough part about making the switch from music to acting is I am in control of everything I do, when I do music. And then when you get over to the acting it’s you’re playing these characters and it’s the director’s vision.

 

Question:
What did you bring different to the character than what was in the script?

JaRule:
(Yawns) Just little different things. The fact that he talks in third-person, you know?

Question:
That was your idea?

JaRule:
Yeah. It’s just little stuff you try and put into a character.

 

Question:
What made you put that into the character?

JaRule:
Well I mean if you’ve ever been in jail, you know everybody in jail is innocent. So you know, I wanted to bring that whole sense of Smiley being in denial a little more to the forefront. Like he’s not even there, you know?

Question:
Tell me about your album. Tell me about how it is being back on the music scene.

JaRule:
I do what I do, making records. I love it. I love what I do (yawns) so. [Commenting to his publicist, “Damn. This didn’t happen yesterday 'til around 4:00”]

 

Question:
Are you on East Coast time?

JaRule:
Wow, oh man. And I’ve got allergies. Hold on a second. [Leaves and goes to the bathroom whistling] 832 is California right? [discussion on where area code 832 is located – must have been the call he got earlier]

Question:
Have you seen the original film?

JaRule:
Yeah.

Question:
What were your impressions of that compared to this?

JaRule:
Umm, I like ours better only because I was born in ’76 so the movie’s a little outdated for me. But it was a good movie, though.

Question:
What were your impressions of that compared to this?

JaRule:
Um, I’d seen it. I don’t remember it that clearly. But I think the differences… I mean, I think that it’s mainly the foundation of the film was the same and then we opened it up and made it a much bigger picture.

Question:
What do you think about the violence in this film? It’s pretty out there, head shots, etc. I know the director said he wanted it to be real. He wanted people to see that it wasn’t a joke.

JaRule:
There’s some pretty gruesome murders in this. But, I mean, that’s real too. I mean, if he was in a situation such as that. These people aren’t playing. I think head shots would be appropriate, you know? (laughing)

 

Question:
What was it like working with the rest of the actors on this?

JaRule:
It was an honor to be with all this great talent. Of course, you know, Laurence and Ethan being the seniors on the set – and John, too – being the senior actors on the set. And then, you know, Maria Bello and Drea De Matteo. We used to watch Drea every week on “The Sopranos” and then working side by side every day, we were trying to pull little things out of her. “What’s going to happen next week?” (Laughter) So, that was fun. We had fun. We set it off right. I think that’s what it was. The first night on the set – it wasn’t even the first night of shooting; it was the first night we got there. We were all there as a group together for the first time, we all went out to some restaurant and got drunk as fuck. That broke the ice for everybody (laughing). So that was cool.

Question:
Why did you decide to use ‘Jeffrey Atkins’ instead of Ja Rule in the credits of this?

JaRule:
Umm, you know to me, that’s kind of an honor to get your name up on the big screen because, you know, they don’t want to do it. I’ve been trying to get them to put Jeffrey Atkins on the screen… I’ve been trying to get them to put Jeff Ja Rule Atkins on the screen and they’re like, “No one knows Jeff Atkins. JA RULE, big letters, right there. There you go.” You know? So I take that as kind of an honor.

Question:
How did you convince them to do it this time?

JaRule:
I didn’t. I just asked them and they did it this time. They was cool with it. So maybe that symbolizes you’re moving up?

JaRule:
(Laughing) Yeah, moving up a little bit. Moving out of the Ja Rule rapper to Jeff Atkins the actor.

Question:
Is this something you want to take more seriously, the acting?

JaRule:
Oh yeah. Oh yeah. I’m definitely gonna dive into more things. I want to write some screenplays and bring some original stuff to the forefront, you know?

Question:
What kind of screenplays?

JaRule:
My mind wanders. Like, I’m scared of myself sometimes. You know what I mean? So there’s no telling what… Like I – never mind. I mean, forget it. Nah, I was going to tell you about this idea for a movie that I had but it mind sound crazy to y’all right now so I’m just going to leave it alone. It may be genius in another five years, who knows? But right now, I’d sound like a raving lunatic so I’m just going to leave it alone for the moment.

Question:
Not even a hint of what it is?

JaRule:
It’s called “Origin Earth.” I’ll just give you the hint to that.

Question:
Sci-fi maybe?

JaRule:
Yeah.

Question:
If you could cast yourself in a role, what type of role would you cast yourself in?

JaRule:
I don’t know. You know, I want to do different things. But I think my music fans, my hip hop fans, I think they’ll most likely want to see me in like a romantic kind of action type of drama movie. I’ve done one, I just haven’t put it out yet. It’s called “Back in the Day” with me and Ving Rhames. It’s a good movie.

Question:
Why isn’t it out yet?

JaRule:
We just shot it. We just finished it. It’s going to be out soon.

Question:
This year?

JaRule:
Yeah, this year probably.

Question:
Are you studying acting at this point?

Question:
Yeah.

Question:
Do you have a coach?

JaRule:
Yeah.

JaRule:

Question:
Who is it?

JaRule:
Susan [inaudible]. She’s great.

Question:
When you first met her, did she kind of tear you down a bit?

JaRule:
Oh yeah. When I first met her, she cursed me out and walked out on me (laughing). That was our first meeting and then we got on the good foot after that. I was a little bit late for our meeting.

Question:
You were on rapper time?

JaRule:
A little bit on rapper time. But you know I was… Man, midtown traffic is crazy during rush hour time. So I was trying to get through, but I was a little bit late and she let me have it – as she should. I respected her for that.

Question:
If you had to choose between music and acting, which one would it be?

JaRule:
Music’s my first love. I know I can’t rap forever but, you know, I do other things. I write for other artists. I’m going to do music for a long time I feel in my heart.

Question:
Why do you write for other artists?

JaRule:
“I’m Real” for J-Lo, I wrote that.

Question:
What do you get out of it artistically?

JaRule:
Oh, well you know, no rapper’s ever done that. Wrote R&B records for R&B artists, so when I do that it’s like something else. It’s another fulfillment because I’m the first. You know what I mean? And I’ve done well at it. I’ve written big records for a lot of artists. It’s cool to be the first rapper to do something because they all come in and do it [afterwards]. Like, you know, you’re not going to be alone for along. Not in the rap [industry], I tell you.

Question:
So what other kinds of firsts do you have in mind, as far as the music’s concerned?

JaRule:
Well you know, we’re sewing up everything. We’re doing clothing, sneakers, we’re selling everything. I’ve got a new venture that they’re all going to follow once they hear (laughing).

Question:
Tell me about it.

JaRule:
It’s online betting. It’s like owning your own casino online, and being like a bookie – but legally. (Lots of laughter). Any of you all into gambling?

Question:
Your director gambled. That’s how he got his money to make his first film?

JaRule:
Oh yeah? Well shit, I need to give…

Question:
He won $20,000 over a few months.

JaRule:
RuleCasino.com – anybody want to jump on, you know? But yeah, that’s a business venture that I just aligned myself with and got into it. It’s very lucrative. Besides the porno business, it’s the biggest business in the world. I’m having fun, you know? And 85% of all gamblers lose, so if you’re not into gambling, don’t start. Because the facts are amazing.

Question:
Did somebody approach you about that?

JaRule:
Yeah, there was this dude, this guy, my partner Anthony, he’s like a weird scientist. He came to me and he had this idea to do… I mean, online casinos are up and running. But you know, as we know, you attach something to hip hop and kaboom! It’s another monster. So this was his thought. But he also has this software that he owns that none of the other sports booking agencies have. This thing that he calls the portal. But anyway, to make a long story short, he comes to me, right, and you know I’m a businessman. I’m used to doing business on paper, the short form contracts and long form contracts. My lawyer and your lawyer, we sit down and we bang is out as fast as possible – mano a mano, man to man. This guy fucking walks in with a bunch of these [whips out tissue], a bunch of tissue papers and he starts laying them all out. He’s like, “Look, I’ve got it all right here.” He’s like, “Look, I’ve got to show you this.” [We all look skeptical]. I’m doing the same thing, but I don’t want to laugh at him (laughing). I don’t want to laugh at him. I’m looking at him like, “What have I gotten myself into?” So now he’s laying all these things out and as he starts to lay them out, you know what I see? “A Beautiful Mind.” You ever see that movie? This is who this guy is. He’s a sick genius. He couldn’t put it on paper all regular because he’s not neat like that. He comes up with ideas spur of the moment. He told me he came up with this whole concept and whole idea – and the software – sitting in restaurants. So he’s writing on shit like toilet paper. And he’s had this for a year so all of these pieces of paper are a year old. He says, “Look, I’ve got this great idea. No one’s ever done it. You’re going to be the first in the world.” So I said, “Let’s get into it. We’re going to do it.” And it is an incredible, incredible idea and all hip-hoppers are going to come and join because it’s simple. It’s like people think they’re coming and taking all your money (laughing). They’re like, “This is great. I can take Ja Rule’s money. Give me 20 dimes on the Knicks right now! That bastard.” So it’s a great idea. I’m already getting calls from you know like other rap artists that want to do it. The reason they’re calling my partner is because he owns everyone’s domain name. He’s a smart dude.

Question:
Were there any antics on the set, as far as John especially? He was great in the film as far as the comedic relief.

JaRule:
Yeah, he was great. He was great off-camera, too. He was probably better off-camera. He had better jokes off-camera (laughing). Me and John was crazy, man. We all had a good time on the set. I think the craziest thing, the big joking stuff, we had to do was with the fake snow. It was like mashed potato flakes. It was like the mashed potato flakes that you buy in the store wet and flying in your mouth and in your face. It was an experience but we had fun on the set dealing with it.

 


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