Old school meets new school in the funniest action-packed must see thriller of the summer.
Shaft is back fusing comedy and gangsterism in this heart-tugger starring Samuel Jackson, Regina Hall, Jessie T. Usher, Alexandra Shipp and the original John Shaft—Richard Roundtree. The movie finds John Shaft Jr. or ‘JJ’ teaming up with his ultra mysoginist dad, Shaft to solve the murder of his friend in Harlem. The two meet up with Shaft’s father who we originally thought was his uncle to prepare for a battle. Comedy ensues as the three generations collide and the millennial meets old school. Here to put an end to the mess, JJ’s mom, and Shaft’s ex, Maya (played by Regina Hall) is the only woman that can tell Shaft what to do and he listens. Determined to keep her son safe she attempts to keep father and son apart and keep her son alive.
The Source attended a private screening at The Magic Johnson Theater in Harlem followed by interviews with the cast at the renowned Red Rooster in Harlem, NYC.
Check out part one of our convo with our all-time favorite first black super hero Richard Roundtree, and the breakout star of the film, Jessie T Usher!
CB: What was it like shooting this film compared to the original?
RR: I’m very proud of this film it’s the best since the first one to me, with no disrespect to Mr. Gordon Parks, the three generations and the transition handing off the baton to my son and him handing off the baton to my grandson….To see the transition from that nerd I was initially introduced to, to the owning of his last name, that was a beautiful thing to see. Jesse ultimately floored it, Sam is Sam. I know what to expect. To see the relationship grow between he and my grandson out of the relationship with his mother trying to be the protector and not let him see that life that she knew about.
CB: What did you think about the overall tone of family unity portrayed in the movie?
RR: We’re going through some interesting times, we have got to lift each other up. And reaching back and taking responsibility for each other. It’s mandatory you don’t get a vote now. There’s some crazy stuff going on out there. We’ve got to protect and lift up our families.
CB: Tell us about the ladies that were on you in the 70’s did you indulge?
RR: (Laughs) I’ll share a little story with you, Gordon Parks he’s not here….we’re on the set one day (laughs) and he said, “Roundtree you’re like a one-eyed dog in a sausage factory.” And when I look back on that… in the 70s, I wasn’t use to that attention and I glorified it. When I look back on it now, because of the transitions we went through since those days… I’m lucky to be here. The 70s were an age of adventure. Taking advantage of the opportunities you cannot do today… and I don’t want to. I’m single much to my dismay. I’ve been single for over 12 years now.
CB: Will you find love again?
RR: I hope so. It’s difficult I’m so set in my ways. I’m selfish as all get out. For someone to put up with me at this point in my life would have to be an incredible understanding woman.
CB: Did you feel any pressure following in such huge footsteps?
RR: I think I would have felt differently about it if Sam and Richard weren’t in it. I would have felt very differently about it…but the fact that they were there eleviated a lot of the moments of stress I had. There’s a lot of things that I really wasn’t sure if it was going to work—if it wasn’t in Sam’s Voice, the tone that Richard brings, it was a combination of things that made that film work. Just those two gentlemen were huge components in the success of this film.
CB: The film digs into the relationships of men and their fathers, what was your outook on that?
JU: I think the best aspect of the film is the fact that we’re able to show three generations of the same character who have very different outlooks and very different characteristics come together and all of them be shown in a positive light. We don’t have to tear anyone down to build anyone up. I feel like that happens all too often in the black community but it’s not necessary. There’s something great about the Shaft from the 1970s, there’s something great about the Shaft from 2001 and there’s something great about the brand-new Shaft.
CB: There was a moment when we saw Alexandra’s character fall in love with your character during a gripping bullet flying moment. Why do think good girls tend to like bad boys?
JU: Growing up I was very much a nerd. Very much a bookworm straight-A student until I finished college. dean’s list—all that kind of stuff and I portrayed a different image in front of girls for that reason because girls just love a bad boy. I didn’t pretend to be a bad way I just didn’t want them to know how good I was. If you look back in time, you see the more masculine men who are bad ass or dangerous and you embody some version of that when you start realizing how soft and sensitive a woman can be and then you just want to counteract that.
CB: I think it’s partly true but as women grow up they marry the good guy…
JU: It’s about the combination you got to be a bad guy sometimes, you want your girl to know you got some bad in you, but that doesn’t mean you’re a bad person.
SHAFT is in theaters now!
Check out The Source’s chat with our girls Regina Hall and Alexandra Ship in Part 2!