Film & TV

‘Long Shot’ Actor O’Shea Jackson Jr. Talks Foray into Comedy

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O’Shea Jackson Jr. makes a big entrance in the romantic-comedy, “Long Shot.” The movie follows an ex-journalist (Seth Rogen) who falls for a presidential candidate (Charlize Theron). Jackson plays Lance who’s a fun, over-the-top extrovert.

“Lance gets to be the coolest boss ever by giving everybody the day off and having LaCroix with CBD oil in it,” Jackson, 28, said. “He’s just such a poppin’ character that I wanted to make sure that since it was his introduction into the film people got to know what type of guy he is.”

The scene wasn’t originally part of the script, Jackson said. However, the writers and producers worked to make every scene as funny as possible.

“Seth [Rogen] has a team of writers who are looking for the gold in a scene,” Jackson said. “They’re panning for gold constantly, they’re looking how it can be funnier or they’re just always two steps ahead constantly throwing lines at you and it’s up to you to make it your own.”

Jackson said he enjoyed this aspect of shooting comedy, but “Long Shot” isn’t his first film. His first major role was in “Straight Outta Compton” (2015) where he played his father, a member of the hip hop group N.W.A. The role brought him recognition as an actor, but also as Ice Cube’s son.

“When you look just like your dad, you got your dad’s name and then the first thing you do is play your dad in a movie, people will just kind of keep thinking about you as your dad all the time,” the 28-year-old actor said.

With that association, he said he’s had to work past the stereotypes which came from being a rapper’s son, such as being high on set or not being professional.

Jackson moved beyond that. After “Straight Outta Compton,” Jackson said he’s been strategic in the opportunities he takes. He took on a comedic role in “Ingrid Goes West” (2017) after proving himself a dramatic actor in “Straight Outta Compton.”

“I want to establish myself as a dramatic actor first before I ventured into comedy because I feel like it’s easier to do that transition from drama to comedy than comedy to drama,” he said.

In “Long Shot,” Lance is more than just a source of comedic relief in the movie, Jackson said. He shows audiences how friends can be close despite having different values.

It’s something Fred and Lance have to confront themselves. The two remain friends even after discovering their opposing political and religious beliefs.

“With the country that tries to divide itself so many times I think Lance’s character is so important because it shows you how much you can like about a person besides who they vote for,” he said. “You know that shouldn’t be the end all, be all. A lot of people just bad mouth each other. The left and right wing are always going at it so much that they lose sight of what’s important.”

Beyond “Long Shot,” Jackson will be in the upcoming action film “Godzilla: King of the Monsters.” He’s also a rapper with two singles and a mixtape under his belt. He studied screenwriting at the University of Southern California and said he’s open to any new opportunities.

Jackson’s daughter, Jordan Reign Jackson, also plays a central role in his life. He said he feels connected to her even when he’s working.

“It was great just to see her face light up and you know while I’m out of town, I know she’s at the house seeing me on TV,” Jackson said. “There’s nothing cooler than that.”

“Long Shot” is in theaters nationwide, and “Godzilla: King of the Monsters” will be in theaters May 13.

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