ALL ABOUT THE BENJAMINS
About The Production
For the uninitiated, the "Benjamins" of the film's
title refer to $100 bills that feature a portrait of Benjamin Franklin. Miami
bounty hunter Bucum Jackson dreams of getting his hands on enough of them to
realize his dream of opening his own private investigation firm and become his
own boss. But for the time being, he's stuck working for a bail bonds company
and tracking down the lowlifes and petty criminals who populate the Miami crime
scene. "Bucum wants to get out of the rut of being a bounty hunter,"
explains Ice Cube, who also serves as co-screenwriter and co-producer. "He
doesn't like the job, the cops don't dig him and he's sick of making only
small-time money for doing a lot of work."
Bucum discovers his opportunity for untold fortune in the
unlikely figure of small-time con man Reggie Wright, played by rising young
comedian Mike Epps, who reunites with Ice Cube after having starred with him in
the hit 1999 comedy
Next Friday (the pair recently completed production on
the next installment, Friday After Next, which is due in theaters on
November 27, 2002). "Mike and I work together like peanut butter and
jelly," says Ice Cube. "I have something to give on the straight man
tip, which gives him all the room in the world that he needs for his
comedy." "We're like ice and water," echoes Mike Epps.
"Cube represents what's tough and real, and I represent the humor."
"There's something magical about those two," says
director Kevin Bray, who makes his feature film directorial debut with All
About the Benjamins. "They're a great comedy team. I think people
will want to see them over and over again and learn every line and every
The unlikely pair team up and go for broke, taking on the
dangerous mastermind behind a deadly diamond heist, the system, and every other
criminal that gets in their way. "We come from the lower end of Miami when
it comes to the finances," says Cube. "This is kind of our quest, to
get our hands on some of the money that's out there in beautiful Miami."
Cube, Bray and producer Matt Alvarez took pains to build an
international ensemble cast with improvisational skills to bring a level of
reality to the film that would compliment the natural rapport between Cube and
Epps. "Everybody that we've chosen to do the movie, we've chosen for
particular reasons," says Cube. "I love new talent. They bring
freshness to the screen. They make the characters real for me."
Scotsman Tommy Flanagan created a totally original persona
for the villainous Robert Williamson, whose sophistication masks a dodgy past.
"This is a guy who comes to America and tries to reinvent himself as a
classy individual," says director Bray. "He's a hard knocks guy who
has had a different life. Where he came from spills out throughout the film, and
Tommy Flanagan is that guy. He knows how to be sophisticated, but you know he's
been in some scraps along the way."
"Williamson's a megalomaniac!" says Tommy
Flanagan. "He's an evil, violent, money-grabbing, nasty person. But I'm
In one of their many scrapes in the movie, Flanagan and Cube
performed their own stunts in a dangerous speedboat battle. "Cube and I
just threw ourselves into the scene and made it as real as possible," says
Flanagan. "It started with all the bruises, punches and kicks but became
rather painful, especially when Mike Epps stuck a taser gun in my back!"
Carmen Chaplin, granddaughter of showbiz legend Charlie
Chaplin, plays Ursula, Williamson's accomplice and girlfriend. "We wanted
a mysterious, international beauty to play Ursula," says director Bray.
"When we first saw her on tape, there was something about her that
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