Jaime Foxx was in Toronto today to help with the launch of the first LG Life’s Good Film Fest. He talked to the media about his humble beginnings and his views on his career in the entertainment world. Foxx was born in Terrell, Texas, population 12,000. He was raised by his grandparents who wanted their grandson to succeed in the world. His grandmother knew the way to go about that was through music. Foxx began training on classical piano at the age of 5. Those ivory keys opened doors for the young man, first by seeing how the ‘other half’ lived as he performed for the country club crowd and later by providing his education. Foxx went to the United States International University on a full music scholarship in San Diego.
San Diego is just a stone’s throw from the bright lights in Los Angeles. While still in school Foxx started to perform stand-up comedy. The young comic used his skill on the piano as a stepping stone delighting his audiences and getting better gigs. Then came his big break — sketch-comedy show In Living Color hired him in 1991.
Foxx’s role of Wanda, a sex loving transvestite was a hit. That role Foxx announced on Tuesday will make it to the big screen in 2010 along with Martin Lawrence playing his “Sheneneh Jenkins” will begin filming in January. The working title is “Sheneneh and Wanda Rob a MotherF@@king Bank.” Foxx and Lawrence made their test demo for producers unscripted. That test pitch was a hit. An interesting fact about his time at In Living Color also deals with the Wanda character. Foxx had just started his gig there when he meet Teddy Rogers. Still in the Wanda get up he ran up to Rogers to give him a music demo. Foxx laughed remembering that Rogers told him he was “feeling very uncomfortable with this right now.”
One of Foxx’s most rewarding roles was playing Ray Charles in the film Ray, which earned him an Academy Award. It was a film that almost wasn’t able to be made. Lacking the funding until Philip Anschutz came on board fronting the entire $35 million needed the film had been held back. Once the funding was in place the movie went full throttle. Foxx recalled meeting Charles for the first time. The real Ray Charles wanted to play the blues with him on the piano. Foxx held his own until striking a wrong note. After some advice from the master Foxx kept up. “Mr. Charles told me a story about life: ‘The notes are right under your fingers, life is harmony.’ I got it right there!” Foxx was very happy that Charles was able to see the film prior to his death. Of course Foxx was also happy to let the Toronto crowd know that his first film was shot in Toronto, the cult classic (Foxx’s words) “Booty Call.” He said that he fell in love with the warmth of the people and the city during that time in 1992. While the LG event did not allow for media questions Foxx held the crowd’s attention while he talked about his past and his true love, music.
“I was born to do music. Seeing people do my songs is just amazing.” Foxx is currently on tour in North America promoting his latest album Intuition. Foxx enjoyed going to Puff Daddy’s parties. When he asked Puff how much it cost him to throw a party the rapper said, “$2 million.” Foxx told him he was going to throw just as cool a party but for only $400. With a studio in his house Foxx kept his word. At one of those parties a talented rapper showed up. Foxx told the guy he had to sing because everyone did at his parties. Foxx was amazed. He and that rapper, Kanye West, went to the back and started working in the studio. The song “Slow Jamz” is a result of that party. The real reason though that Foxx was at the press gathering was the first LG’s Life’s Good Film Fest launch. He is proud to be part of the launch. “People who do film inspire our culture. I have been lucky to work with some of the greatest film makers in our history. This is a great project. No matter who you are you can get your film out. I am happy and excited to do this film festival. It will give people a chance to live their dreams.”