By: Evette Champion
March 8, 1991, the world was introduced to New Jack City, a film that was a reflection of the times but it was a cautionary tale for the people who lived in poor urban communities. The film is considered to be the most realistic and hard-hitting representations of drugs and violence ever made. On the 25th anniversary of the film, here are six facts about New Jack City that you may not be aware of.
- People Wanted to See It
During the 90s, there were a lot of films that were focusing on violence which often resulted in shootings during the screenings. Because there were only a few theaters that was showing the movie, and when people (mostly teens) would show up to get in, they were turned away or left waiting outside. People often wonder if Wesley Snipes was too convincing in his role, which resulted in the real violence that took place.
- Wesley Snipes Wanted to Be Scotty
When Snipes was first approached with his now iconic role of Nino Brown, he actually wanted to play Ice-T’s role of Scotty the detective. When Barry Michael Cooper saw Snipes in the “Bad” video, Cooper said: “Wesley’s finger-in-the-face questioning of Michael Jackson’s bravery was so realistic that I thought Scorsese had hired a homeboy off the streets.”
- Ice-T Wasn’t Sold on Being Scotty
If you’re familiar with Ice-T, you could probably understand why he was a little hesitant on playing an undercover cop. His lifestyle and music was completely different than the role, but according to him, “I thought my old crime partners might start laughing. Or snap my head off. But they all had the same response. They got these puppy faces, turned real quiet for a moment, then asked me, ‘Word? Ice, could I be in the movie?'”
- Chris Rock Wasn’t the First Choice to Play Pookie—Martin Lawrence Was.
Although Chris Rock was praised for his portrayal of Pookie, the drug addict strung out on crack, he wasn’t the first choice. Barry Michael Cooper revealed in an interview that actually Martin Lawrence had done a better audition for the role. “Martin Lawrence, he came in and killed that audition. The person taping had to shut the camera off; everybody was on the floor [laughing].” However, shortly before the production was set to begin, Lawrence bowed out of the film because his mentor and fellow comedian, Robin Harris passed away and he wasn’t coping well.
- Nino Brown Was Based on real life Brothers who were Drug Dealers
The Chambers Brothers gang was a group who sold crack in Detroit. They moved into an apartment called the Broadmoor and sold various types of drugs on each of the 4 floors. They would conduct this business alongside families who were already living there, and this forced them to either leave or deal with the dangerous and very illegal activity.
- Wesley Snipes Feared Playing Nino Brown 2.0
When Snipes was approached to do Brooklyn’s Finest in 2009, he had his reservations because he didn’t want to play another character like Nino Brown. He eventually decided to take the role because of director Antoine Fuqua. Fuqua explained to Snipes “how the character would be Nino after incarceration and rehabilitation. Snipes said, “So I thought that would be a different angle because that’s not endorsing the game; it’s a reflection of the futility of the game.”
Did you enjoy the movie when it came out 25 years ago? Do you think New Jack City is still relevant today?