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How did it feel to play an undercover agent?
We did this undercover thing where we’re supposed to be buying drugs from this guy, and somebody comes up on the side of the car and points a gun to the back of my head and says that’s how easy it could go wrong. So it’s a little bone chilling, you know, you think wow, you’re in this world and gun play is so prevalent and so easy to happen. So it really gives you a sense, it was a plastic gun, but it really gives you a sense that if that were to happen, that you’re head would be blown off. So it’s a dangerous game when you play an undercover agent.
How did Phillip Michael Thomas’ portrayal of Tubbs inspire your interpretation of Tubbs?
The thing that I did do from Phillip Michael Thomas is the swagger. I was trying to, I don’t know if I even got close to it but, he has such swagger. It was one of the first episodes of Miami Vice when the guys walk up to the car and he pulls out a shotgun, ‘You guys wanna get outta here?’ and to see the coldness, that seriousness, of when it came time to get down, he got down. And so that was the one thing I tried to bring, and the style. I wanted Tubbs to have style in the movie, I wanted him to look fly.
Did you ever watch the television show Miami Vice?
Oh yeah, it was just something poeple had never seen before. You never seen in your face action like that, you never seen boat chases, you never seen car crashes every week. I mean this was something else; it was like what is coming into our living room. There was just on the cutting edge, the women were fly, the actors and the guest stars, they had guest stars, the music sound track. So, it was hot, you know, it was where everybody wanted to be. And so now, to see someone, re-birth that, I think that’s gonna be hot.
What was Tubbs’ relationship with Trudy like?
That’s the serious dynamic in this film, is me being with a woman that I really love, almost afraid to say, but to see her snatched from me, you know, that fuels my revenge, fuels the reason that I make sure I get that guy.
What are your feelings on making the Miami Vice film?
I mean it’s definitely departure from the TV show; it’s not the same thing. Michael Mann is trying to create magic again, make lightning strike twice. Obviously with the success of Miami Vice on television, there’s a heavy burden to make Miami Vice the movie, the thing, the now, the new. So, you know, we all got our heads together in the trenches and trying to make it something completely special and different.
What do you think about Michael’s Mann’s use of the different, interesting locations you filmed at?
Michael Mann, that’s his thing, finding places that aren’t even on the map. I said, yo I’ve been to the hood, he said you don’t know the hood, I’ll show you the hood, different places in L.A., different places in shows. So that’s his thing, that’s what makes him that different, brilliant filmmaker by being able to find those places where, you know, he shocks you with it.
What’s separates Tubbs and Crockett from other Miami Police officers?
These guys have gone deep. Like a lot of guys got into motor bike gangs and a lot of guys that had been to Colombia work, buying, and transporting and drugs from South America and through Miami. And, you know, they lived the life. They lived the life. I mean, there’s various different stories, some of them got very caught up in it and some of them didn’t. Some of them, a lot of them, did it purely for the rush. I mean they, you know, a couple of them were talking, and they weren’t really doing it to help society. I mean helping society was a good shoot off, was definitely a good benefit, but they were doing it for the rush.
What was it like working with Michael Mann?
Michael’s all about making the experience and the environment, you know, as real as he possibly can, you know. He’s all about that. He’s all about ; why fake it when you can do it for real. He pushes the envelope.
It’s not just that he pays attention to details, but he really sees it, you know? He knows what he likes, he knows aesthetically about a picture, about a frame, about shooting a picture, colors, images, architecture, music, all that kind of stuff. He’s got an innate knowledge of all those things. And just an extremely creative soul.
What kind of relationship does your character, Crockett, develop with Li Gong’s character, Isabella?
Most people complete each other. Sometimes it’s a danger if you’re with someone because there’s a hole inside you, or because you feel there’s a piece missing and you find someone and you want them to fill that piece. It can be dangerous. Co-dependence can come into it and you know, it can be the road to ruin, but sometimes it just happens that you were doing fine on your own and then somebody comes along and it just makes sense and you feel whole when you’re with them. And that’s pretty much what happens between Crockett and Isabella.
How does this affect the relationship between Tubbs and Crokett?
This time it’s Tubbs trying to remind Crockett of the bigger picture of what they’re there for. He sees Crockett being pulled in to this relationship. He sees the little shifts in his demeanor, little shifts in his, kind of, exploration in his own character, through the meeting and the falling for this woman, Isabella. And he just wants to make sure that they’re still on the same page together, that Crockett still has his eyes on the prize, so to speak. And when push comes to shove, that even though he’s fallen for this woman, she’s one of the bad guys.
What was it like working with Jamie Foxx?
It’s just exciting to watch Jamie, you know. It’s just exciting to watch. He’s a very honest person, and very strong. Very dignified, he’s got a lot of dignity about him, knows who he is. A lot of strength. He brings a lot of strength to Tubbs.
When did you realize that you wanted to turn Miami Vice into a feature film?
When I first read Tony Yerkovich’s screenplay for the original Miami Vice pilot, my first instinct was to make this as a feature film, that’s the first thing I wanted to do.
What is this film about?
This is a story about being undercover and what happens when you go deep undercover. Particularly if you’re doing an operation in a foreign country where your badge doesn’t count and where you can’t have a swat team surveying you and people are not in contact, you really are out on the edge all by yourself and that’s the most dangerous undercover to do. And one of the terms it’s used for is enhanced undercover. Particularly when you are infiltrating a bask criminal organization that has a lot of counter intelligent resources and are constantly on the look out for people just doing exactly what you’re doing.
What are your thoughts on using real locations to film on?
I find that if you can bring your actors into those environments and really have them be your background, that audiences sense the kind of truth telling style of the environment that the action is happening in. It’s things you can’t begin to artificially create here. As good as our crews are, there’s nothing as exciting as the real texture of it, of the real people on the screen.
What is your personal opinion on working as an undercover agent?
There’s a high, there’s an elevated experience in doing it, and that’s what really motivates them. And it’s that moment when you know that they believe you 100 percent, that you have got them, that you have put over this fabricated identity, this fabricated scenario and you’re living it and you’re feeling it and that they’re buying it. And it may go on for weeks, it may go on for months.
How are undercover agents like actors?
When I met a lot of them, those were striking to me that a lot of the way they described to me what they were doing is exactly the way an actor describes being deeply in character, except they’re doing it for real.