Have you heard of vanity publishing? Well, now there’s vanity filmmaking. Souljah Boy has casted himself as Bishop in his remake of Juice. And he’s getting budget music video director, Dale Resteghini, better known as Rage, to direct the remake. I remember reading that Soulja Boy wanted people to take him seriously as an actor – no one is – so he’s now taking matters into his own hands by taking his favorite movie and favorite rapper to help qualify him as an actor.
The Atlanta rapper recently told Vibe, “Basically, it’s your boy Soulja and I’m Bishop in 2011, running around in the streets, man. You know how the movie goes, but we’re flipping it and shooting in Atlanta. I want to show these people my acting side and me being creative—always giving them something new; that’s all. I got same video director that shot “Crank That,” “Kiss Me Through The Phone,” “Turn My Swag On” —my most successful videos. The whole mixtape is the soundtrack for the movie.”
I’m not hating, I am simply looking at the mathematics of this phenomenon going on in hip-hop: the sheer contradictions of the phrase “keeping it real”. You can’t fake and buy your way into thespian legitimacy, Tupac sure didn’t.
How is Soulja “keeping it real”, when he’s enlisting Rage, former stripper and model, self-proclaimed “hardest working director in the business”? So what, if DJ Khaled cosigns the music video director, that doesn’t mean a thing in the film industry. Also, just because Rage directed all of Soulja’s music videos it doesn’t make the music video director qualified to remake a classic like Juice.
The only ones who have parlayed the music video transition to film directing well – and the work shows – are people like Hype Williams, Michele Gondry, David Fincher, Anton Corbijn, Spike Jonz, and others. These film directors changed the music video game with their untapped concepts in imagery and story. Bottom-line these directors took heroic risks and were worthy of becoming legitimate filmmakers.
You will never see Madonna or Jay-Z hire Rage, but I bet you they will take the aforementioned directors seriously.
There are other things that won’t allow me to take this film venture seriously for example, the washed-up actors that want dibs in the Juice remake. At first, Vibe thought Soulja was talking about Khalil Cain, who played Raheem, but then the rapper corrected, “Not Raheem. You know the chubby one? He reached out. He actually wanted a part. I thought that was cool, so I told the director Rage to just go ahead and put him in the movie.” The chubby one?
He also told Vibe that Cam’ron wanted in on the movie too, well, dude isn’t making the figures he used to, so course, he wants in. Although, Cam’ron did do a fine job in Paid In Full, but I still cannot see how he’s going to make this remake better.
It just seems this whole thing just smells of wanton and vanity. If you got money like that Soulja Boy, then put your money where your mouth is and do like Spike Lee with an affirmative action spirit. Hire Blacks and Latinos to write and shoot you a phenomenal script. (Yeah, I know Rage’s wife is Black, that don’t mean nothing to me, when you’re pumping the same negative imagery, you’re not changing the game.) A Juice remake? Don’t fix what isn’t broke. Do The Right Thing.
Film production on Juice remake starts April 28th in Soulja Boy’s hometown, Atlanta.