Legendary rapper, record producer, composer, actor and rabble-rouser Ice-T is a cross-generational icon whose controversial music launched him into a stellar show business career now 30 years strong.
The Grammy Award-winning performer is everywhere these days and can be seen on NBC's Law & Order: SVU; his re-run reality TV series and new talk show, Ice & Coco; relaxing in front of a lemonade stand in Geico commercials; launching his rap-metal band Body Count's latest studio album, Bloodlust, on March 31; and even starring in a new indie horror flick, Bloodrunners, now available VOD, DVD and Blu-ray.
Here's the fun fright flick's official synopsis:
By 1933, Prohibition has proven a booming enterprise, where average citizens break the law, hide in the shadows and operate at night. The new world order has even lined the pockets of corrupt cops like Jack Malone (McFadden). He collects a 'luxury tax' from every bootlegger and scofflaw in the small town he has sworn to protect. While shaking down the newest speakeasy in the local underground, Jack and his men uncover a clan of vampires hellbent on taking over the town. Now Chesterfield (Ice-T), an ancient vampire, and his horde must hide their secret at any cost. The bloody result leaves several bodies and innocent townsfolk taken as lambs to await the slaughter. With nowhere else to turn, Jack joins forces with a busboy and a crazy preacher to save the town and make a final stand against Chesterfield and his vampires.
Syfy Wire had the great opportunity to chat with the entertainer about this latest film endeavor, a low-budget, R-rated vampire film set during the lawless days of Prohibition-era America. In his trademark, colorfully-phrased fashion, Ice-T delivers a vivid picture of how this little horror project came about, what it was like to play the lead vampire, Chesterfield, and offers advice on the best way to watch Bloodrunners at home.
How did Bloodrunners all come together?
The guy that does makeup for me on Law & Order, Mike Harvey, he's a special effects guys and he pitches it to me and says "Hey Ice, wanna do a movie and play a vampire?" He says this is a Prohibition vampire, you know, a gangster. And I say yeah, yeah. So he tells me about how they're running blood instead of liquor and I thought it was cool and thought that sounds fun. Then he says we have no budget. Well, at that point, that's where this conversation usually ends. But this motherf***** does my hair, does my makeup every day so I'm like, you know what? F*** it, let's do the movie.
So I went down to Philadelphia with him and met Dan Lantz, the producer and director. These guys were passionate and basically they put together a decent film. I was warning them … don't put me in no f*****-up shit, like don't f*** me up, dudes, but they came through in the end with a pretty good movie, I was pretty excited considering they had no money.
Can you give us a quick rundown of Bloodrunner's plot and what fans can expect from your cool fanged gangster Chesterfield?
It's fun and it's bug-out on Ice-T playing a vampire and pretty much that's it. I think all the actors in it are top-shelf, everybody did a really good job. It has a little bit of humor in it near the end when you get to the preacher, who is a little wacko. But I think humor kinda works in horror. See the basic success of Get Out. I'm the guy who watches Jason and cracks jokes. So, I think when you don't take yourself too seriously you give yourself more room for movement. It's a movie you should be a little drunk for and you should be eating junk food too while you're watching it and you'll have a good time.
What was it about the Prohibition era that appealed to you?
They told me about it and I'm like, "What?" Then I thought about it and vampires are supposed to be two thousand years old so they had to actually live during the Prohibition era. And vampires are kinda like survivors, they blend in with the time. I guess the new vampires would be like record executives. They find a business that suits their purpose, their bloodsucking ways. (Laughs) So it made sense to me, and these guys did a good job of making me feel like you're in the period with all the cars and the clothes. They pulled it off.
You make a pretty convincing vampire. What kind of research did you do to prep for the role?
None, man. Come on, vampires are in all of our DNA. Now if you can't play a vampire or a zombie, go sit down somewhere. I can tell a three-year-old kid to act like a zombie and they know to drag their f****** foot. We've all grown up watching vampires in so many different forms. You just gotta have that mouth open and bite the goddamn neck and you gotta be quick. Vampires are always smooth motherf****** until they kill you. They're very cocky. They're like, "You can't shoot me, I can't die, so f*** you." They're cold motherf******, you know. They just don't like the sun. When you hit them with the sun they act like a little bitch and they run. (Laughs)
What is your take on this current explosion of sci-fi, horror and fantasy in all media?
I love it. I think it has to do with lots of video games and comic books and cosplay and comic cons and it's connecting all the dots together. The Walking Dead is one of the biggest television shows on the air and it's a f****** horror movie. Who would think a zombie show would be the number-one show on cable? I think that we understand that there's different rules for different films. This isn't Denzel Washington in Fences, this is a horror movie and it's meant to be a little campy and cheesy and you have to grade it on that level.
One thing I don't like is a lot of horror movies try to take themselves too seriously and if they don't scare you, they suck.
I like watching wild horror movies, I like the Japanese shit and I'm into the crazy stuff. I was watching one the other night, it was motherf****** vampire yakuzas. It was a Gumby dude doing karate and shit and he had a beak and I was wondering what kind of acid are these motherf****** on. You have to grade these movies on a curve and you gotta know what mark they're trying to hit.
What was your gateway into monster movies and horror flicks growing up?
I've always been intrigued with hard sh** like The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. I think the only movie that ever f***** me up was The Exorcist. That was back when the church was sacred. And to actually deal with a movie with a little girl saying, "your mother sucks c**** in Hell" and she's masturbating with a cross and that f***** people up because it crossed the line.
Other than that I don’t think I've ever really been scared, but The Exorcist is a benchmark in horror, and with the sound design, too. Then George Romero and all the Dawn of the Dead movies came, and they were wild, too. The first Night of the Living Dead was scary. That was black and white. That was some scary sh**. But once you rehash the same thing, it plays out. But I also like Brad Pitt's World War Z, too.
And in 28 Days Later they invented fast zombies, that's the new sh**. Remember, zombies were slow and in 28 Days Later these motherf****** could run and they switched the game up. Then they invented the fast-turning zombie and that's a whole other game-changer. They've been f****** with by us. They got vampires that can stay out in the daytime now. I roll with it.
How was it working Bloodrunners' writer/director Dan Lantz?
Dan is dope. He's passionate and he's gonna go on to make a lot of great movies. But if Dan wants me to be in another movie, he's gotta get me some f****** money. The special effects, he pulled that sh** off. He did some cool sh** so my hat goes off to Dan. He's got a great future in this business, he just needs someone to believe in him.
Could Chesterfield have a resurrection in a potential Bloodrunners sequel?
Yeah, I think so. Vampires don't die so we'll see what happens. But I hope fans will follow me on Twitter if they want to see some real horror as I decapitate trolls day and night.