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Outkast on the Big Screen

Published August 23, 2006 in Movie Interviews
By Fred Topel | Images property of Universal Pictures.
Idlewild Idlewild
Idlewild is not a vanity project. It’s not Andre 3000 and Big Boi playing themselves in a movie designed to showcase their personas. They play a 1930s mortician and gangster respectively, in a story of love and crime, with some music in it. For Andre Benjamin, the character Percival is a departure from his Outkast persona.

Andre 3000 and Big Boi On Idlewild

“Most people have seen ‘Hey, Ya!’ and ‘Roses,’ and there’s all this energy and this dancing around character,” he said. “In real life, I’m not dancing around all the time. So, I would say Percival is closer to Andre Benjamin. We’ve known Bryan [Barber] since we gave him his first shot on our video, so he knows our personalities, he knows our lives, he knows things about us that people don’t see, so he pulled from those parts and created these characters, but gave us the room to play in these characters. The side of me that people don’t get to see, I did the extreme version of that. No, I’m not moping around like Percival all the time, but in every character you play, you’ve got to find something that connects to you to make it real. You’ve got to find some jumping off point.”

Big Boi plays Rooster, is the hard drinking, hard loving playboy, which may ring a little truer to Antwan A. Patton (his real name.) “I think there’s more than just a little bit. What [Bryan] did was, he took it and exaggerated it, and gave us room to play with it and do whatever we wanted to do with the characters. So, by him knowing the intricate details of certain parts of our lives and how we’d react to situations, he hit right on the bullseye.”

Percival is a mortician, so Benjamin learned the craft like any good method actor would. “Before we started the movie, I actually had to sit down with morticians and talk to them, in the room where they do it, and see how people react to him, and tell me stories of how he met this girl and how, the first time you tell a girl, ‘I’m a mortician,’ how that works,” Benjamin said. “So, you get to do cool things. That’s the best part about movie making. It’s not glamorous at all, no matter what they tell you, because it’s a lot of work. The most glamorous is learning stuff and, I guess, that red carpet. That’s about it.”

They’ve done music videos before, but a movie is not just a long music video. “I actually saw it as a great story with music performances here and there, but I wouldn’t say it’s a long video, really,” Benjamin continued. “It could have been anybody playing my part and it could have been anybody playing Rooster’s part. It didn’t actually have to be Outkast. That goes to say that it was just a great movie and a great story. Anybody could have done it, but I think the music that we did bring to it brought a certain style. Some of the songs were around before the script was even written, so Bryan was writing around certain songs, and that did bring flavor to the movie as well. I would say, even if you’re not an Outkast fan, or even a music fan, really, you will enjoy the movie. You’re going to laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll get pissed off, which is all the things you want from a movie.”

Patton might have preferred a version of the movie with less music, or at least the same music spread out over a longer story. “I had the privilege of seeing the original cut that was three hours,” he said. “The whole movie is maybe 90% music playing in the background, and it wasn’t like that, at first. But, the director’s cut that’s coming to DVD, you’ll be able to see it. Even though there’s a powerful story and everything, there’s certain parts that weren’t put in there. There’s so many different performances of certain songs that hey pulled back a little bit because the longer a movie is, the less times that they’ll show it, so it was a studio call on that, but it worked out right.”

Idlewild opens to theatres on August 25th.

For the clips, trailer, poster, stills and more movie info, go to the Idlewild Movie Page.

Stay tuned for updates.

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Compiled By (Sources)
Fred Topel
Sources: Images property of Universal Pictures.

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