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Idlewild in the '30s

Published August 21, 2006 in Movie Interviews
By Fred Topel | Images property of Universal Pictures.
Idlewild Idlewild
Maybe if they’d had hip hop in the 1930s, there wouldn’t have been such a great depression. It sure looks happy when Outkast is rocking out in gangster garb. Idlewild casts the hip hop duo as prohibition era gangster musicians.

Benjamin and Patton Talk Idlewild


“I think when Bryan [Barber] was writing the script and he made it in the 30's, I think style wise, he knew that it takes the audience to a whole other world,” said Andre Benjamin (Andre 3000). “I think it was a great choice because right now, in the times we’re living in, especially as black people, you don’t get to see people with class on the screen. So, I think it was a great choice, on his part, just to show that because you don’t get to see it. As far as the music, we knew that it was 1930's, so we kept in mind, when we were writing and producing, that this was a period piece, but at the same time, we’re Outkast and we’ve got a responsibility to live up to our fans, so we had to make sure that it was modern as well. I think, when we do that, it brings something new to it, so it pushes it, and it’s not just a 1930's pic. I think, once we add some newness to it and we bring it to now, it makes it into something totally different. So, you do have Rooster break out into rhyming, on stage in the 1930's, even though Cab Calloway did rhyme, back in those days, but not quite the same rhythm.”

The hodgepodge of musical stylings is totally consistent with Outkast’s body of work. “Us being influenced by every musical genre, and using every aspect of music in our records, that was an advantage we had because we were never biased to one particular type of music,” said Antwan A. Patton (Big Boi). “We listen to rock, jazz, blues, pop, country, hip-hop and the whole nine yards, so to go back and throw a little swing in there, I think previous albums that we’ve had, we always had a touch of that ragtime feel, and we just had a chance to do what we wanted to do. Like Dre said, it is ‘30's, but we can still satisfy our fans by doing what we do best.”



They also just liked the clothes. “I’ve always been a fan of 1930's style,” said Benjamin. “It was probably one of the best eras, especially for a man’s dress. Just showing up on the set, putting on your wardrobe, listening to the music, every day leaving the set and playing Cab Calloway, or watching Stormy Weather and Casablanca. Because it was a different time, I had to actually learn how to walk differently and sit differently because in the 30's, they didn’t slouch. They sat up straight. Your chest is poked out. You exude that class. It’s different now. Now, it’s chill and everybody is laid back, and then, on Sunday, you may dress up. Back then, it was the opposite. You’d dress up every day, and then, on Sunday, you’d chill out. It was a blessing, for me. That’s the best thing about making movies, to get that experience and to live out certain fantasies and do things you wouldn’t have done.”

Idlewild comes to theatres on August 25th.

For the clips, trailer, poster, stills and more movie info, go to the Idlewild Movie Page.

Stay tuned for updates.


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Fred Topel
Sources: Images property of Universal Pictures.
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