Straight Outta Compton Interview: Ice Cube & O’Shea Jackson Jr. at the Australian Premiere

Credit: Getty

Credit: Getty

With Straight Outta Compton already a huge box U.S office hit, producer and icon Ice Cube hits the red carpet with son O’Shea Jackson Jr. in Sydney for the Australian premiere. Talking with these two nice guys, it was easy to see how passionate they are about this potential award-winning project.

Shane A. Bassett: Is the legendary soundtrack as relevant now as it was when released in the 1980’s?

Ice Cube: People all over have been waiting for this story, it had been entertained around the NWA family tree for years, you got Eminem, you got Snoop (Dogg), you got Beats by Dre, and you got a thousand movies with me! None of that would have happened without NWA, so people are coming out to see where it all started, I’m proud of that.

The reaction from the younger generation who might not have necessarily grown up with your music but because it’s always been around and important to hip hop culture in general, what does it mean to you that your music and movie remains relevant?

Great, of course my generation knows what happened but to show a new generation this splice of history, a splice of how it went down straight from the horse’s mouth so to speak it is fantastic the response to the movie, they seem to be watching it over and over again, that’s a beautiful thing.

The fact the authenticity is because of you, is that what you like most?

That was my dream come true to tell our own story in a way we wanted to tell it. Director F. Gary Gray did a magnificent job, the cast is wonderful, we got a great movie here.

As a producer how hard was it to get this movie going, did any studios turn you down?

It was extremely hard you know I’ve been trying to get this movie made for over ten years with only the last four it started to pick up momentum and is one of the hardest projects I have ever done in my life. Every single day was a grind to keep it together.

How happy are you with the performance of O’Shea portraying you?

He had to audition, you know for over two years we put him through the ringer mainly because I knew he would get lots of scrutiny if he wasn’t ready, I think, no I know he did a magnificent job, he was the best man for it. I knew it (laughs) he believed in himself he did the hard work and it paid off.

Why do you think it has been a massive hit in the US so quickly, maybe due to the controversy or classic music?

It’s ultimately a story about five guys, a story of brotherhood, a story of break up to make up, rags to riches, David vs Goliath, freedom of speech, all of that wrapped into one good movie that audiences have related to, it makes me proud.

Well done mate and I loved you in Anaconda, thanks.

(laughs and gives me a big smile) oh thank you Shane.


O’Shea Jackson Jr walks over waving at fans then turns his attention to me with an out stretched hand to shake.

G’day O’Shea, astounding first movie are you going to keep acting?

Definitely, it was a two year audition process with three different acting coaches, I put so much energy into, I refuse that this will be my only film.

Speaking of the process, was it hard to land the role?

Very difficult, anybody who thinks acting is easy or that being in any role is easy does not have respect for the craft. It took a lot of energy a lot of my time and other people’s time, I thank all who helped me or I wouldn’t be here.

Did you feel more pressure because of your Dad?

I personally put more pressure on myself. This all started by me choosing not to sit in a theatre and see someone else portray him and me not think it was up to par or not feel it. So I had to make sure the ball was in my hands to cement my family legacy in cinema forever.

Doing your own music, has your dad given you much advice?

To make sure whatever I do my heart is in it or it will show up if it’s not.

What do you think of music now as opposed to the NWA era any influences?

Extremely influential, especially when bands have something to say they are kind of stepping in the footsteps of NWA. Everyone seems to want to talk about this generation of music and speak down on it, but there has been bad songs within every generation there’s still plenty of greats artists with things to say.

How old were you when you first started to hear or recognize these NWA songs?

My older brother showed me when i was about 12/13 years old, I’m a little bias on solo Ice Cube for obvious reasons but he showed me his roots where he came from and I’ve been rockin’ ever since, it’s part of my life.

Did you have a swear jar around the house as a kid?

Ahhh no (laughs) not at all, if you know the words and understand what you’re saying you can say it, that was always the rule in the house.  Take it easy Shane, thank you.

Straight Outta Compton is now playing in theaters. Click here to read our review of the film.

Born in Sydney Australia. Other than movies, Shane surfs, rides a mountain bike and follows the West-Tigers football team in Rugby League. He once won $500 cash for doing air guitar on live TV to the Van Halen classic Jump! His personal best films vary but while writing this, he loves ‘Seven’, The Breakfast Club’, ‘Escape from New York’ and ‘Clue’.