You wouldn't know it, but battle-rap kingpin Kurupt and action-movie svengali Steven Seagal have a lot in common. They both love music, do a lot of their own movie stunts and, if you try to get them away from the dinner table, you may have a problem — especially when they're indulging in Tony Roma's world-renowned ribs.
"Uncle Steve, man, he was cool with us," Kurupt said last week of his co-star in "Half Past Dead." "He wasn't really tripping with us. There really wasn't no problems, he was very respectful and did his part. He tried to help us out as much as possible with ours. It was a great team we had." (Click here for photos from "Half Past Dead")
In the movie, Kurupt plays the wise-cracking Alcatraz convict Twitch ("He's just a little man and he just talks a gang of sh--, always starting trouble," Snoop Dogg's former running mate said of his role), who teams with Seagal and fellow inmate Ja Rule to fight a gang of terrorists led by Morris Chestnut and former "Party Machine" host Nia Peeples. Offscreen, Kurupt said Seagal introduced him to some new musical methods, while he schooled the action hero on the latest hip-hop cuts.
"I had to put him up on it from Ja's perspective all the way to mine," Kurupt laughed. "I had to play him some of those dainty killer tunes and let him know what's really going on in our world. But Uncle Steve is pretty hip, you dig. He's got songs he's done himself. He sings the blues and he's actually very, very tight. He redid 'Redemption Song' by Bob Marley with all the existing Marleys.
"What I picked up from him was learning how to play that acoustic guitar," Kurupt continued. "The majority of our off-time, I'd just sit back and Uncle Steve would just be playing the blues."
Even though Kurupt serves as Tha Row's Senior Vice President, we may never see the label's boss, Suge Knight, signing Seagal to a contract. However, don't be surprised if you hear a collaboration between Kurupt and his newfound friend.
"Oh, definitely, we're going to do something together," he insisted. "We already did something when we was in Berlin [shooting the movie]. I rented studio time
when I was out there and I took him in. It was a real low-key spot and he was loving
Kurupt also formed a bond with Ja Rule while shooting the movie for four months in Germany. The two laid to rest any animosity they had toward each other in real life and only squabbled when the script called for it.
"This movie is what brought us together to even get a chance to meet up with each other and finally talk," Kurupt recalled. "This is the first time we actually met since [I dissed him in the song] 'Calling Out Names.' We found out that there's nothing that we really dislike about each other. We became real cool friends."
And with mad cow disease lurking, who really wants beef?
"They got the best Tony Roma's cracking [in Germany]," Kurupt remembered. "Oh man, the ribs is the key to the game because you can't really eat different sh-- out there. They got that mad cow disease that's out all overseas. That's a problem with the beef. So I'm a pork lover. The ribs is cracking and their barbecue chicken and hot wings. We was eating Tony Roma's every day."
The L.A.-by-way-of-Philadelphia native needed to eat to gain strength for the stunts he had to perform in the film.
"I shoot a bazooka," he said of his toughest onscreen endeavor. "I ain't playing. It knocked me 15 feet in the f---ing air but I shot that muthaf---a. Boosh! I do my own stunts too, I do the Burt Reynolds man, you know. I was kind of nervous at first, especially when I had to shoot the bazooka. I flew back into the glass, it
was some fake glass but it was real glass too. I didn't know where I was going to land, how I was going to land. I've never done that before. It was kind of a shocker."
Keeping the trend of firsts going, Kurupt said while on the set of his new movie "Hollywood Homicide" with Harrison Ford and Master P, he jumped in the Venice Canal for a scene where he was getting chased by Josh Hartnett (see "Master P, Kurupt, Outkast's Dre Do 'Hollywood Homicide' ").
"Yeah, water up to my neck, man," he said of filming that part. "I had to run, he's on me and I jump because he's just about to grab me. Ducks is everywhere, I'm swimming to the other side. It's a big one."
"Half Past Dead" opened in theaters on Friday and grossed a little over $8 million in its debut weekend (see "Harry Potter's Spell Turns Eminem Into Rabbit Stew"). Kurupt's next two films, "Dark Blue" and "Hollywood Homicide," are scheduled to be released in 2003.