Living the Dream
Dreamgirls actor Jaime Foxx on fame and success
In 2006, Jamie Foxx stared in Dreamgirls, one of the most highly acclaimed films of the year—the screen version of the legendary 1981 Broadway musical. Along with R&B superstar Beyonce Knowles and comedian Eddie Murphy, Foxx delivers a powerhouse performance in a film that is garnered as much Oscar buzz as Ray in 2004, which won Foxx a Best Actor Oscar. From In Living Color to award winning R&B sensation and Oscar winner, no one is living the dream better than Jaime Foxx.
Foxx sat down with us to talk about Dreamgirls just prior to its release.
MF: How do you stay down to earth after all the success?
Jamie: Well, my manager was saying, "I'm so upset!" and I said, "What's happening?" She said they said something about me in a review that wasn't good. I said "Dang, they've been saying great stuff for like three years, it's kind of weird!" We just won the American Music Awards for best R&B male, and we didn't even pop a bottle of champagne. Let's not rush past the moments because when those real moments come like, "Yo, I didn't like it, I'm gonna tell you and I'm going to write a whole paragraph!" You got to be able to take those things too. You get those moments when you do something great like Dreamgirls and you know this is going to be in a time capsule when people look back on it. With someone like Eddie Murphy, Beyonce and what Jennifer Hudson is doing now -- that's going to be something to look back and you hope that everybody that's connected with it got a chance to celebrate it. That's what I think.
MF: How did you feel winning the Oscar and then Jarhead didn't do well?
Jamie: With Jarhead? Over the weekend it was off the chain though! I was like man, "I hope it does something at the box office!" It's always good to have some awards, but if you ain't got no box office! (laughs) We not gonna get an Oscar every time, and an Oscar ain't paying them bills! So, Jarhead was a momentary thing, but you can't look at it that way, that's the tricky part of it. If you keep wanting to go back to the Oscars, it feels good to go, get your ticket hobnob with the big stars, but that's not going to happen everyday. It's not going to be a Ray Charles script probably for the next thirty to forty years. It's like flying, you take off, you go to 40,000 feet, but at a certain point you have to level off of that and figure out what's your altitude that you can really maintain. When you're flying so high it takes up a lot of gas.
MF: Was it fun being part of an ensemble cast in Dreamgirls?
Jaime: Yeah, to sit back and watch Jennifer, Beyonce and Eddie get there's – that's why I think I had so much more fun on the set. Sometimes I had to pull my fun back because you know people are in their characters and I'm like, "What's cracking with it!" Oh sorry, you know you in your thing -- it's fun to sit back and watch.
MF: How exciting was it to work with Eddie Murphy?
Jamie: Sometimes I was staring at him like; wow this dude is really doing it. I don't know if he even realizes this, but he walked off the stage doing something and the extras starting clapping. He was thrown off by it because what we were seeing was -- our Eddie is back! It's a tough thing because Eddie is so great and when he started doing the kid movie thing you were like -- man, where's the dangerous Eddie at? In a sense he's back, so it was worth everything man.
MF: You had comic moments when you're funny and then a minute later there's this big heavy dramatic scene. How do you transition?
Jamie: You just got to go get it. You ever got that in you? You just have that go get it time -- I gotta go get this! By being on In Living Color you do a thousand characters a day, with this it's the same muscle you just have to pay more attention to it.
MF: With all this success - how do stay healthy?
Jamie: With me I'll be 39 December the 13th and what I do is I get 25 pounds weights, and I do this thing called sixes. I do six of everything. Do your push-ups and your crunches, or whatever and then I play basketball -- what you try to do is just kind of sweat everyday and then think young! The minute you start talking about, "Man I'm about to be that time!" The next thing you know age comes. When I see my friends they like, "Damn, what happened to you?", but then they are around people, they're acting older. I stay around young folks, I stay around my daughter and her friends, you know, it keeps you young.