The fuss surrounding the wisecracks from Cedric the Entertainer’s character in “Barbershop” won’t stop the old man from running his mouth in the sequel.
“Eddie, he goes at the Bushes and his opinion on why they went to war and this and that,” explained Cedric, whose political commentary in the original angered the Rev. Jesse Jackson (see ” ‘Barbershop’ Attacked By Reverend Jesse Jackson” ). “He goes at [Mississippi Sen.] Trent Lott for being a racist. He touches on R. Kelly for a minute.
“Wait, you can’t use ‘R. Kelly’ and ‘touch’ at the same time,” he added with a smile. (Could Eddie ever not be mouthy with Cedric in the role?)
Actually, Cedric’s character is about the only barber who’s pretty much still the same in “Barbershop 2: Back in Business,” which opens February 6.
“Calvin has his child, so he is growing up,” Ice Cube said of his character, taking a break on the set of the movie earlier this year. “[Unlike in the first,] he believes in the shop, he believes in everything that the shop stands for.”
The movie takes place about eight months after the original, so the characters are different, but they’re still dealing with some of the same issues.
“She’s actually trying not to scream as much,” Eve said of her Terri. “She’s working on herself, working on her anger. She feels like she’s kind of completely over her last boyfriend.”
In fact, Terri has a new love interest, and while Eve refused to elaborate (see “Eve Says Ruff Ryders Still Family, Won’t Make New LP If She’s Too Burnt” ), co-star Michael Ealy hinted it was his Ricky character, not exactly a friend of Terri’s in the original.
“I can tell you there is a connection between Ricky and somebody special,” Ealy said. “And Ricky’s working on some things behind people’s backs to try and better himself.”
Ricky’s other nemesis, Sean Patrick Thomas’ innocent Jimmy, also gets involved in something outside of Calvin’s Barbershop.
“He thinks he has gone beyond the barbershop and realized his potential,” Thomas said. “He is working for this alderman, this local politician, and he finds out that the grass isn’t necessarily greener on the other side.”
Perhaps the character who has transformed the most since “Barbershop” is Isaac, the white barber who struggled to earn the respect of his co-workers.
“It’s a whole different level of hate [in the sequel] because I have been proven to be the best barber in Chicago,” explained Troy Garity, who plays Isaac. “I am now a brand name and kids come to me. I carve my name in kids’ heads now and I am booked a couple of weeks in advance. And I guess you could say my ego’s [inflated]. So I get checked again.”
Along with the various character plots, “Back in Business” centers on how the barbershop reacts when a Nappy Cuts — “which is kind of like a Supercuts,” Garity said — occupies a building on the same street.
“There’s a thing going on [in real life] on the south side of Chicago called gentrification, which means they’re bringing in all new stuff and getting rid of all the old stuff,” Cube explained.
“We’re playing with the world of the Magic Johnsons bringing in the Fridays and the Starbucks,” Cedric added. “We got that kind of world happening, and now there’s a bigger, hipper, flyer barbershop on our turf, so to speak, and we’re figuring out how to deal with it.”
The cast is keeping the plot details under wraps, but Cedric let slip that “Barbershop 2″ gives a little history lesson on Calvin’s shop. “You get to meet Eddie as a young man,” he said. “I go back to 1967 and you get to see where Eddie comes from and how I landed in this barbershop in the first place.”
And while Eddie is still the same opinionated loudmouth in the sequel, there is one difference in the character, although it might be tough to notice.
“I used my real hair on the last movie; with this one I actually did the prosthetic,” he said, laughing. “It was so much work. It was like each night I had to get it braided up, so I’d be here an hour after everybody wrapped, trying to get my hair ready for the next day.”
—Corey Moss, with reporting by Sway Calloway