Easily classified as a cult-classic, rapper Ice-T changed the game when he starred in the blockbuster hit New Jack City. Now he’s revealing that he was paid $23,000 to star in the blockbuster film. New Jack City was a critical and commercial success, raking in nearly $50 million at the box office on a budget of around $8 million.
Ice-T spoke with the LA Times check out what he had to say below.
What was your attitude as you went into shooting “New Jack City”?
I was scared as s—. Mario offered me the role, but he wanted me to play the police. And this was right when the album I was dropping was “Original Gangster.” Dropping that and playing a cop simultaneously? I thought it was career suicide. Also: Who’s to say “New Jack City” was gonna be “New Jack City”? I’ve done a lot of movies that I don’t even want you to watch. So the thought that your first movie would actually turn out to be a blockbuster seemed crazy. But everyone around me was like, “Ice, man, you from the hood — there’s no opportunity. You got to take it.”
Why do you think Mario cast you?
He approached me in a club about doing the movie, and I thought he was bulls—ing, that it would be a small little part. But I went to Warner Bros. the next day and I read the script. I’m like, “That’s all the lines!” The thing of it was, at the time we did “New Jack City,” there weren’t enough young Black actors. They figured, “Well, Ice sold millions of records, maybe this’ll translate.” It was a risk. But everyone on that movie was a new jack. We had Judd Nelson [who’d starred in “The Breakfast Club” and “St. Elmo’s Fire”], but it was Mario’s first time directing. Wesley Snipes had only done “Major League” and a Spike Lee flick. And Chris Rock was the youngest, hippest street comic. They wanted to do something like an urban “Scarface” movie and make it look big, and somehow we pulled it off.
When did you know the movie was good?
I went to see it at Grauman’s Chinese when it came out. I sat in the back row behind some cats. When I came on the screen, I heard, “Look at Ice in that f— hat!” They was dissing me, so I’m like, “Ah, f—.” But by about 15 minutes into the movie, they were calling me by my name in the movie. And then it just blew up. Now, for the record, I got paid like $23,000 for that movie. So welcome to Hollywood. But my next movie was “Ricochet” with Denzel [Washington].