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Cedric the Entertainer on Talk to Me

Published July 11, 2007 in Movie Interviews
By Fred Topel | Image property of Focus Features.
Talk to Me Talk to Me
Cedric the Entertainer has become a movie star. He gets his own movies where he is the star. In Talk to Me, Cedric only has a few scenes. He plays a popular DJ at the radio station where Petey Greene carves out his niche. For Cedric, it was still the opportunity of a lifetime.

Cedric the Entertainer on Talk to Me

"The story was so interesting," he said. "I didn't know that these were real people when I read the script and decided to sign on. I didn't know it was a true story at the time. I just thought it was going to be fun to play a DJ and Don Cheadle was in the movie, and Taraji [P. Henson], and to have the opportunity to work with Chiwetel [Ejiofor], who's great. And Kasi Lemmons the director, all of those were some of the great aspects that I liked. The period piece of it all. The '60s, being able to wear the clothes and all of that was going to be a fun aspect of doing it. I'd done a little radio DJing in college so I thought it was a little throwback to get behind the mic and drop the voice, show you how I made it through."

The story deals with free speech and civil rights, which continue to challenge ideas today. With regards to the race issues, Cedric sees little improvement. "I think that on many levels it's pretty much the same. One of the things that you see in this film, I liken it to both TV and film, that in the situation where Dewey was the program director, he was the person that actually had to a certain degree the power to put this guy on the air. Nobody else would have seen that this guy who was a miscreant, a criminal and convict and all these other negative things, had the power to be able to speak to the people and be this DJ. At least this guy was in a position of power to hand that decision over. That area of discrimination is still very relevant and prevalent in the business."

In fact, Dewey may have been better off in the '60s than a similar executive could be today. "To this day, there are no real powerful TV African-American minority executives that can say, 'I like your idea. I got the power to push the button and say yes, do it.' I think in film or television, that's really a throwback. I'd imagine in radio you have a little more strength there. You've got the Radio One companies and a few other broadcasters that are black owned broadcast companies but none of the major television or film driving vehicles is there an executive who says, 'I can push a button and yes, that can happen.' That is a setback and something I feel can be greatly improved in this country."

Cedric's character, "Nighthawk Bob Terry," has groupies break into his sound booth. That part was new to Cedric. "The thing about it is comedians, we don't really get groupies like that. We get like people going, 'Oh my God, you're so funny. Could you tell us where the drummer is? What movie stars do you know?'"

Even when he is a movie star, it's not the same as sexy voiced smooth talkers. "You get the kind of love but not those kind of really fanatical groupies that's going to chase you down and hunt you down. I may have one girl who stalked and was hanging out at the hotel lobby and really waiting on me, but when I saw her, I just kind of walked right past her. She was not hot."

Talk to Me has a limited release on July 13th.

For the trailer, poster, stills and additional info, go to the Talk to Me Movie Page.

Stay tuned for updates.

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Compiled By (Sources)
Fred Topel
Sources: Image property of Focus Features.

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