Bernie Mac, who died this past weekend from complications due to pneumonia, was remembered by friends and colleagues as a “comic master” and “ferociously funny,” praise that was evident to anyone who had ever seen him in films like “Ocean’s Eleven” or “The Original Kings of Comedy.” But was he really also, as “Soul Men” director Malcolm D. Lee said in an interview with E! Online, an amazing singer as well?
Judge for yourself with four clips from “Soul Men,” two of which show the 50-year-old actor singing and dancing with co-star Samuel L. Jackson.
Opening November 14, the film follows Mac and Jackson as feuding former friends who agree to reunite to perform their old act in honor of their recently deceased band leader.
“They do their own singing and their own dancing in the film,” Lee told E! “You get the opportunity to see both of these guys go for it in a real way that’s fun and energetic. [Mac] definitely can carry a tune. He does a great falsetto in the movie and a baritone and alto as well. He has a range. He plays a range of emotions in the film as well as octaves.”
In one of the clips, you can also see the late Isaac Hayes, who died shortly after Mac from an apparent stroke, meeting the characters played by Mac and Jackson in their dressing room. Hayes, who really was a soul and R&B legend, plays himself in the film.
“He was written into the script as himself,” Lee told the site. “When I came on, they asked, ’Do you want him in the movie?’ and I was like, ’Of course.’ Not to include him in the movie would have been sacrilege. I had to have Isaac in the film.”
The last clip might be the most characteristic of Mac as most know him, as he engages in playful and sarcastic banter with Jackson before a performance. “We sure are lucky I kept these threads,” he says in the clip, gazing into a mirror. “We look good!”
Lee, of course, aims to keep it that way, he told E!
“When I went to shake his hand and tell him how much I loved him and what a great job he did, he hugged me back and looked me in the eye and said, ’Make a great film, man,’ ” Lee remembered of a conversation with Mac on the last day of shooting. “I promised him that I would.”
According to Lee, Mac and Jackson will be featured on five songs on the “Soul Men” soundtrack: one original and five covers.
Check out everything we’ve got on “Soul Men.”
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