Everyone’s favorite barbershop on the south side of Chicago opens up for business again when Barbershop: The Next Cut slices into theaters on April 15. Following 2002’s Barbershop and 2004’s Barbershop 2: Back in Business, this third film in the franchise is directed by Malcolm D. Lee (The Best Man Holiday) with a slew of returning stars including Ice Cube, Anthony Anderson, Cedric the Entertainer, Eve, Sean Patrick Thomas and Deon Cole, while newcomers to the shop this time around are Regina Hall, Common, Nicki Minaj, J.B. Smoove, Lamorne Morris, Tyga and Margot Bingham.
It's been more than ten years since our last visit; the shop is now co-ed, and the Chicago neighborhood has taken a turn for the worse so this family of friends must band together to save not only Calvin's shop but also their community.
Recently the film’s co-producer and star Ice Cube and co-star Anthony Anderson (Black-ish, Law & Order) faced the media during a press conference, and here are a few of their thoughts from that event:
Ice Cube: I didn’t want to do another [Barbershop movie]. I was like, “Why? All we’re gonna do is go in there and talk about celebrities and that’s it.” Which is cool, but, to me, it’s not a reason to do a movie and I wanted to have a reason to do this.
Anthony Anderson: Cube and I discussed this. We weren’t making another Barbershop movie just to make another Barbershop movie. The story really had to say something and speak about something and that’s what this story is doing. It’s speaking about not only what’s going on in Chicago but also what’s going on across this country in the inner-cities within our community.
Ice Cube: I think that’s the key to sequels: making them standalone movies and not borrow from the previous movies, because you never know if the person saw the second one first, and then maybe they’ll go back and see the first one. You never know what order people are going to discover these movies, so you have to make them stand by themselves.
Ice Cube: We were lucky to have Anthony come back, being a lead man on a hit TV show [Black-ish] and to take this role within this ensemble. Without him and Ced [Cedric the Entertainer], I would feel a little naked going back into this without these pillars that helped prop this whole franchise up. We were extremely happy and lucky to get them back.
Ice Cube: When you’ve seen things kind of not change as fast you would like them to, you know that people are going through the same thing. When we did Straight Outta Compton, we knew that people had the same anxieties and issues, and you had the same kind of climate going on. That’s the reason that movie worked but that’s also a shame that things don’t progress. It’s the same with this movie. We could have done it two years ago. It’s like the communities are not changing as fast as we’d like, so that’s why these movies seem timely. It’s not like we’re super-smart, we’re just highlighting what is a constant in the community.
Anthony Anderson: The “ha-ha” is always good in getting across your message. You don’t want to be too preachy. It’s always better to feed someone the message or whatever it is you’re trying to get across with a teaspoon of sugar than with a teaspoon of salt. And we have to laugh to keep from crying at times. Providing that laughter cracks that nut and allows us to laugh at ourselves, laugh at the situation, and we can talk about it and address it. That’s the key to starting any discussion. Not to make light of it or make fun of it, but how can we find that silver lining around the tragedy that we’re dealing with. We have to find that levity in it in order for it to be palatable and digested by the masses.
Ice Cube: My generation really has to step up and reach back and guide some of the youth that’s out there. We still feel young and feel like we’re the youth [laughs], but I think at a certain point you gotta take responsibility, understand what you are and that you can make a difference. You have to turn on yourself before you can take that first step to help somebody else. It’s a situation where a lot of people want to change the evil in the world, but don’t want to change the evil inside. That’s where you start first.
Rated PG-13, Barbershop: The Next Cut arrives in theaters on April 15.