There aren’t many people in the world of entertainment who can boast the versatility of Jamie Foxx. He’s an Oscar-winning actor, charismatic musician, voice of an angel and a natural comedian – heck, he’s even one of the best looking guys in Hollywood. Whatever you want to call it, 'the X Factor', 'star power', ‘the gift’, Foxx has it in spades: you couldn’t draw up a better star if you tried.
Foxx’s journey onto our screens began with a dare from a former girlfriend to perform at an open-mic comedy night, and he’s never lost his gift of the gab.
In spite of his many enviable talents (you’d be forgiven for feeling a pang of jealousy), his affable nature lends himself to people who meet him face to face. He’s friendly, patient and enthusiastic – all qualities that make him a joy to interview, as well as an effortless interviewer in his new Off Script series, in collaboration with Grey Goose.
The interview series sees the actor employ all his wit and charm to eek out fresh stories from some of his favourite stars. Whether speaking to Gabrielle Union about Grease or talking to Denzel Washington about his catalogue of brilliant movies, Foxx makes for the perfect host.
Square Mile caught up with the A-lister to find out more…
What’s been the most surprising thing you’ve learnt producing the Off Script series?
I don’t know about surprising, but I will say one of the most interesting things to come from the Off Script series is that after I interviewed Jeremy Renner, and we are now going to work together on Spawn. I’m really excited to tackle that project. I’ve been a huge fan of Spawn since it first came out. And to get to work with Jeremy Renner who is a total bad-ass is amazing. He’s going to be a great partner.
Vince Vaughn says “there’s nothing you’re not exceptional at”… what are you actually bad at?
Ha! Well, I actually have small, skinny chicken legs! I’m in what we call ‘jailhouse’ shape: big on top, tiny on the bottom.
How much of an inspiration was Denzel Washington? What’s your favourite film of his and why?
D is an icon – I love all of his films. Everything he touches turns to gold. But if I had to pick one I’d probably say Man on Fire. He killed that! I also found out that he was offered the movie, Seven but turned down the Brad Pitt part. How crazy is that?!
D is an icon – I love all of his films. Everything he touches turns to gold. But if I had to pick one I’d probably say Man on Fire. He killed that!
You’re a great interviewer – would you ever fancy taking on The Tonight Show? Or how about James Corden's gig?
I’m friends with Jimmy and James and really respect what they do, they are both amazing. This is sort of a thing I’ve already been doing – interviewing, and hanging out with some of my people who I think are heroes. Even with my radio show a few years back, The Foxxhole, I would always have people come through. So when I talked to Grey Goose about Off Script this felt like a perfect opportunity to really do something special.
Your house parties are legendary – what’s the coolest thing that’s happened at one of them?
When I was trying to break into the music business, I would throw house parties where I would invite other artists to come – I would throw parties for Puff, Missy Elliott. Pharrell was there with the Neptunes before they made it, and same with Jay-Z – no one knew who they were at that time. One time, I’m having a party and all of a sudden, this kid walks in with a backpack on, jaw kind of messed up. One of my guys told me that he was supposed to be the next big thing in rap, so I asked him to perform for the guests at the party. I was instantly blown away – I’d never heard anything like him – his freestyle was amazing. That was Kanye West.
When you're not hosting, what’s your favourite bar to visit in the world – and what would be your drink of choice there?
I love Icebergs in Sydney, Australia. That place is always poppin' and so beautiful. I, of course, would order a Moscow Mule with Grey Goose vodka. For this Off Script series, I even helped to create my own cocktail – “The Golden Goose” is my own twist on a Moscow Mule that adds passionfruit to the mix.
You’re in Robin Hood at the end of the year. What do you bring to the character of Little John – and what made you take the part?
What I really liked about this project and my character of Little John is that this isn’t anything you’ve ever seen before – this isn’t men in tights – it’s a gritty, darker origin story of Robin Hood. We have Leo DiCaprio behind the camera as a producer and Taron Egerton as Robin – he’s got that thing and we had a blast filming over in Budapest and Croatia. The film comes out in November so it’s a great film to take the whole family to over Thanksgiving weekend.
Off Script is the sort of thing I’ve already been doing – interviewing, and hanging out with some of my people who I think are heroes
You’ve achieved a lot – but what would be the ultimate singular achievement for you?
Raising my two beautiful daughters- Corinne Marie Foxx and Anelise Estelle Foxx. I’m so proud of them. My 24 year old, Corinne is incredible – she graduated from college and now she’s on Beat Shazam with me as the deejay for season 2. It’s amazing to work alongside her and see how she’s really grown into herself. I would forget my lines when we were shooting the show because I would just be watching her and not paying attention to what I was supposed to be doing.
Which musician would you most like to work with – and why?
I actually had the chance to sing with the greatest of all time, Barbra Streisand not too long ago in concert. It was absolutely amazing. And I’m on her Duets album – we did “Climb Ev’ry Mountain” from The Sound of Music together. That was a dream come true, especially since I used to do an impersonation of her and Sammy Davis Jr. when I was a little kid back in Terrell, Texas growing up doing my little stand-up comedy routine for the other kids in my class.