The film is sort of written so that the three bodybuilder are kind of sympathetic. When you first read the script and then did subsequent research, how did you feel about that, considering the actual murders were so gruesome but the film makes it seem like a comedy?
Well, I don’t think it’s portrayed as a comedy. If you look at it in the movie, the situation of it is so ridiculous that it comes across as funny. I think that’s why midway through the movie, Michael put the tag line, “This is still a true story.” There are so many things in our reality that are so far beyond what our imagination could come up with and this is one of those things. The reality of the situation is so ridiculous that when you watch the movie, you have to say to yourself, “No way! Is that true?!” When you find out its true, the ridiculousness of it is what’s funny to you.
How do you feel about the victims’ families not wanting the film to come out because it makes the murderers the protagonists?
I understand that. I feel like the families have the right to feel however they would like to feel. If it were me, I’d probably feel the same way, but the reality of it is every story has three sides–my side, your side, and the truth. So I feel like this movie could’ve been made three different ways badly, but Michael picked the one way to make the movie good. It is getting their story out there. I feel like it makes the killers look the way they are–very bad, bumbling idiots. [laughs] It makes you feel sorry for the people who found themselves in that situation and were used and killed for being hardworking, true-blooded Americans.
Admittedly, when I saw the film, I thought it was funny, but after reading the news articles the film is based on, I felt guilty for laughing at the movie a little bit.
Of course. I mean that’s what makes the movie so good. I think the writers did such a great job and I think that’s how Michael Bay did such a great job because what he did was took three guys who you do not want to like and made them likable. He took three guys who you couldn’t relate to or understand how they could commit these heinous crimes and he gave them humanity to the point you could relate to them and maybe even root for them. The reason the movie’s so good is there’s a 180-degree through line, meaning everybody you root for at the beginning you hate at the end and everybody you hate at the beginning you root for at the end. If you look at the people who were murdered, I don’t think their torture is treated lightly in the film. I think it’s a different perspective.
What do you want viewers to take away from the film after seeing it?
I want people to see this film and realize that the American dream is alive and well. It still holds true to the tag line that anybody can be anything they want to be. The problem is when you try to segue around the hard work, you’ll find yourself in a precarious situation and that’s what happened with these guys.
After “Pain & Gain,” what else will you be working on?
Well, I start shooting “Captain America” in three weeks. After “Captain America,” I have a few things that I’m looking at and trying to figure out what works best with my schedule for the end of the year.
With your role in “Captain America,” does that make you the first black superhero?
They say that but you had Blade. Blade was a superhero. You had Spawn. Spawn was a superhero. Even Don Cheadle in “Iron Man,” well, he’s not really a superhero because he’s wearing a super suit. At the same time, he’s a black dude in a superhero movie so dammit that makes him a superhero. [laughs] I wouldn’t say I’m the first, but I’m in a pretty cool group of other actors who’ve done it.
One of your more memorable roles was playing 2Pac in “Notorious.” Would you ever consider playing another rapper in a biopic?
I doubt it. 2Pac was a very strenuous and nerve-racking experience for me just because no matter where you go, people have something they’d like to communicate about what you do as an actor. I’m not the one who entertains communication that well sometimes. [laughs] so I probably won’t be doing that because it puts me in precarious positions.
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