Bet You Didn’t Know: Secrets Behind The Making of “Baby Boy”
Jody, Jody, Jody. Though he had some super triflin’ ways, we couldn’t completely rule him out. Perhaps because we saw how he shut ole girl down, though she was doing her best to seduce him. Or more likely, we liked him because he reminded us of a manchild we’ve known (or still know) in our own lives. Either way, watching Jody grow up throughout the course of the movie Baby Boy, was so real and so entertaining and the very talented cast, helped to bring this already relateable story to life. You know the plot, the outcome and those memorable characters; but we bet you don’t know the behind the scenes secrets of this hood classic.
Tupac was supposed to play the role of Jody
Though anyone can see why Tupac would have been great for this role, it’s still a bit eery to think that he was supposed to portray Jody. The role was written specifically for him. But when he died in 1996, Singleton shelved the project. The role probably wouldn’t have been too much of a stretch for the rapper turned actor considering he vacillated between the sensitive, socially conscious poet to the thugged out gangster rapper. So the inclusion of Tupac’s face looming over Jody is no coincidence. In a review of the film, the New York Times pointed out just how powerful and symbolic that mural was: “His image, hovering behind Jody and Melvin, is a haunting reminder of what is at stake for Jody.”
How did John Singleton pick Tyrese?
John Singleton has been known to work with musicians. Remember how fond he was of Ice Cube? (After Boyz in the Hood he wanted to cast him in Poetic Justice as the role of Lucky.) Though he was all for giving new actors a chance, Singleton had Tyrese read and audition for the role just like any other actor. Obviously, he was impressed with his work. Singleton remembered his first impression of Tyrese: “The cat was a movie star who hadn’t done a movie yet.”
Tyrese swore off Hollywood once the movie was finished
In an interview with the Breakfast Club, Charlemagne reminded Tyrese that at one point he claimed he wasn’t going to do anymore movies. Since he’s gone on to be in all of the Transformers films, that obviously wasn’t the case. Tyrese said that the process of making Baby Boy was draining.
“The thing is when I did Baby Boy I was just exhausted because I’ve never had to do anything for that long a period of time, that was so dark and emotional. I keep my energy up. You get on that movie set you gotta like crack all these jokes, get it out your system and then… I’m fighting Ving Rhames.”
Snoop was not the first choice for “Rodney”
Though I can’t imagine anyone playing Rodney any slimier than Snoop did, it was originally supposed to go to fellow rapper Ice Cube. There’s that name again. If Singleton had his way, Ice Cube would have been in every last one of his movies. But thankfully Snoop held his own. So much so that the New York Times said his performance was, “sly, menacing and disarmingly funny.” That’s about right.
How did A.J Johnson get the role?
When John Singleton and the crew were casting for this film, A.J. Johnson was in a wheelchair with two broken feet. So needless to say, she was focused on getting well, not going on auditions. But that’s exactly the time she got a call from John. He explained that they were looking for a mother who was physically young but still authoritative. He had held two casting calls and still couldn’t find it. Johnson came in and read and got the part. But that was only half the battle. She also had to portray a romantic relationship with Ving Rhames. Johnson said initially she was intimidated by both his physical size and his acting experience. But eventually the two sat down and worked out how they wanted to present the characters. They agreed they wanted to showcase black love in a way it had never been seen before. I’d say, judging by the way those two went at, jumping and squatting throughout the living room, they definitely got it.
See how Johnson prepared for the role, which was completely unlike her, in the video below.
Were Tyrese and Taraji together for real?
The chemistry between Jody and Yvette had quite a few people wondering whether Taraji and Tyrese ever had a thang going on. Both have denied the rumors, several times. Taraji told Vibe Vixen that Tyrese is more like family. “He’s like my brother, for real. That would just seem really weird for the two of us to suddenly get together.” And then in an interview with Wendy Williams, Taraji encouraged other women who are trying to break into the industry not to mess with their co-stars because it doesn’t yield longevity in the business.
Omar Gooding and his on-screen girlfriend, played by Angel Conwell were an item
Though Taraji and Tyrese weren’t an item off screen, their co-stars, Omar Gooding and Angel Conwell definitely did date. We dated for a couple of years. And I actually knew her before we did did Baby Boy and we’re still very good friends. These two went on to star in Bounce Tv’s original program, “Family Time” together. Some people just can’t get away from each other.
Singleton’s baby has the acting bug
In an interview with Film Threat, John Singleton explained his most challenging scene in the film. It wasn’t any of the sex scenes or the violent ones; but rather a scene that involved a baby. The baby was actually Singleton’s daughter, Cleopatra and she was not having a good day. Singleton explained how they finally got it to work out. The baby was my year-and-a-half-year-old daughter and she kept crying in-between takes. When you see her in the movie and she’s smiling, that’s my hands holding her– not Tyrese’s. That was the most difficult scene to direct because I couldn’t get her to stop crying. I actually had a double baby, and I had the double baby do it and my daughter watch and finally I put her back in. Then she did it without crying because she didn’t want the double baby to get the scene. Looks like the little one was trying to get her shine on. That’s her, in the picture above, all grown up with Daddy at the premiere of Eddie Murphy’s Imagine That. That was back in 2009, so she probably doesn’t look like that anymore. Cute little girl, huh?
John Singleton says he is Jody
Jody is such a rich character that it’s no surprise that he would have at least been inspired by someone real. Actually, that person is John Singleton, John Singleton if his life had taken a different path. Jody is my ID. Jody is me if I never went to college, never left my mother’s house or if I went to jail. He’s the total flipside of me. I was able to, in writing Jody, I was able to play and be 20-years-old with no responsibility. That was fun for me. It’s always scary to think of what would have happened if things had gone down a bit differently in our lives.
For years people have been yearning for a remake of Baby Boy. Based on some of the comments from Tyrese, some were certain it was about to go down. This is what he tweeted last year, “John Singleton is on a mission to get me and Taraji to do it again.” But maybe he misunderstood the message because later he tweeted, “Official…Me and my girl Taraji are doing another classic together soon!! John Singleton will be directing us. And no it’s not BB2.”Tyrese can be a little…confusing on Twitter so I’ll just leave it to Taraji to explain.
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