In the new comedy Lottery Ticket Bow Wow plays Kevin, a kid living in the projects who wins a $370 million lottery. His best friends Benny (Brandon T Jackson) and Stacie (Naturi Naughton) are beside themselves with excitement, ready to share in his joy.
When the local loan shark, Sweet Tee hears of Kevin’s windfall, he insists on lending the young man $100,000 until the lottery office opens in three days, assigning his chauffeur Jimmy (Terry Crews) to drive them around and look after his investment.
Brandon, Naturi and Terry spoke with us about their roles and the movie at the press junket for the film.
Can you tell us a little about your characters?
Brandon T Jackson: Benny is a little hyper and more high-strung that Kevin. But they have great chemistry as friends, a good balance.
Naturi Naughton: Stacie is the girl next door, the one you always think about later, the one who was perfect for you all the while you were chasing all those other girls because you couldn’t see what was right there. She’s hiding her true feelings for Kevin.
Terry Crews: Jimmy the driver has lost his mind. He sees the money Kevin and his friends are suddenly throwing around, they buy him a watch, and he’s done. He’s one of them now; he’s gone to the other side.
Brandon, do you like to improv a lot; were you able to improv in this?
Brandon T Jackson: Yeah, I like to improv a lot and it was a blessing that Erik [White, the movie’s director] allowed us to have that freedom with the whole script. Working with Bow and Naturi and everybody was a blessing. It was creative freedom. There was chemistry and we just had a good time.
Naturi, what was it like to do a kissing scene with Bow Wow, since you guys are such good friends?
Naturi Naughton: I’ve known Bow Wow since I was a teenage in the business myself. Having a kissing scene with him was actually very professional. He’s such a pro; kudos to him for just being great in the scene.
I was working with someone I respect and had a friendship with. It’s a lot easier. It’s not weird. You just say, ‘All right, we’re about to kiss, so don’t be putting your tongue down my throat. Make sure you don’t grind on me.’ Other than that, it was a lot of fun. I enjoyed it.
Terry, you have one of the best scenes in The Expendables. Do you think people will be surprised with your performance in Lottery Ticket, if they expect you to be the bad-ass protector?
Terry Crews: It’s really good because they can see the stuff in The Expendables one week, and then see what happens in this movie, which actually makes this funnier. It’s really a great opportunity. I just love playing all these different characters. It’s really satisfying, and these guys set it up so well. I’m happy with the great twists in the movie.
Brandon, can you talk about what it was like to do the dramatic work that you did in this film?
Brandon T Jackson: If you look at the film, when you see the projects, everybody is poor, but you look over and there’s a big skyline of richness, and you’re like, “Why can’t we just go past this block?”
In one scene, I tried to embody that for every kid that feels like they want to get out. That’s what I was trying to do. It makes no sense that we’re in America and some people just can’t eat. That’s bad.
Naturi, with this being your third feature film, is the process getting any easier for you?
Naturi Naughton: For me, it’s exploring the art. It’s not just making a movie. Being lucky enough to be in Lottery Ticket as my third film, is a true blessing. I learned so much. I actually got my comedic timing up, being around all those people, because they are so (good).
I loved being able to just enjoy the chemistry with people on set. It keeps me growing as an actress.
Terry, with a cast like this how difficult was it to get through a take without laughing?
Terry Crews: There were a lot of those moments. I call this the urban, funny Expendables. It’s all-star. Everybody in it is major.
I remember getting with Erik and saying, “Man, let’s make this one of those classics.” In my career, I started out with Ice Cube in Friday After Next, and I always stay in the urban comedy genre because it just never gets old.
It’s just been a ball. We were laughing and having a great time, shooting it in Atlanta. There was just a buzz with Bow Wow and Brandon. They really led the charge all the way, and it just felt like a family.
If you won $370 million, what would you do with it?
Naturi Naughton: That’s hard. That’s a lot of money. It’s too much. For me, I’m from Jersey and I grew up in the ‘hood. I might just be like, “Oh, Jesus!” I really don’t know what I would do, but I know I would want to do something great.
Brandon T Jackson: Honestly, one of my favorite movies is Titanic, so I would order Leonardo DiCaprio to the ‘hood in Detroit, and I would have him re-enact it!
I really don’t know what I would do. That’s too much money for one man to have, so I would just give back or give it away. The message in the movie says that’s what we should do with it.