Jamie Foxx is a man who seeks inspiration from every aspect of life. From televised basketball games to the beauty of nature, the Academy Award-winning actor always looks for opportunities to translate ordinary objects into artistic material. It’s a quality that makes him fitting as one of the five celebrity directors set to film short movies inspired by Canon’s “Project Imaginat10n” contest which crowdsourced images from amateur photographers around the world.
Although the Ron Howard-led photo contest ended late last year, the five directors – Biz Stone, Georgina Chapman, Eva Longoria, James Murphy, and of course, Foxx – have just begun the filming process. We visited Foxx on site at a Brooklyn-based studio to learn more about what fuels his creativity. Between the five directors, Foxx brings in a combination of both behind and on-camera experiences – but will that background bring the film a unique perspective?
“To be honest, I’m not really sure,” Foxx says. “I just know my own passion. For me, being able to sit over the shoulder of Michael Mann, Quentin Tarantino, Taylor Hackford, Antoine Fuqua, F. Gary Gray, Deon Taylor – it gives me the opportunity to use those things that learned along the way. We’re looking at it as a project where we’re not just carving out some time to get things done, we actually want to make a huge hit.”
The untitled short film contains a short synopsis: “A man scarred early in life by unrequited love works to attain the perfect mate.” A logical theme, given that two of Foxx’s chosen photographs contain a couple kissing in the rain and a girl holding her life-sized robot friend. By allowing the photos to organically speak to him, he hopes the film will do the pictures justice. It’s no different than his role as Electro in the upcoming Amazing Spider-Man 2 movie; it’s his duty to bring a print character to life in a way that’s more dynamic than ever.
Except, of course, in this particular movie, Foxx is completely behind the lens. While he’s dabbled in directing during the late 90s for The Jamie Foxx Show, Foxx is still very much an active actor. He does admit the change to a directorial role puts him in a more comfortable spot. “I like it because it takes a little pressure off from me as an actor. I like having the pressure on my main actor,” he says. “When you’re acting you’ll do a take where you thought you killed it, but then you’ll have directors like Quentin Tarantino or Oliver Stone come around say, ‘Uh, that was terrible.'”
Still, that doesn’t mean the pressure isn’t on. Although the film is estimated to last just about 11 minutes, the crew has less than a week to shoot all the snippets that will make up the mini-movie. “With a short film, you don’t have that much time. Everything has to happen in 25 or 30 seconds and you gotta be gone,” he describes. “It’s a little bit of a music video, silent film, dialogue, and of course, emotions.” And it all has to fit in under a quarter of an hour – a challenge he’s willingly taking on to give back to fans around the globe.
“It’s an artistic world we live in where someone in Ohio or Japan or China, wherever they’re from, can have an artistic moment,” Foxx says. “I can feed into that artistic moment and turn it into something else. It’s like trees; Those pictures are like seeds and we’re watching the tree grow.”
Project Imaginat10n films will premiere later this fall.