Jamie Foxx says Dak Prescott is the true Willie Beamen
Die-hard Cowboys fan, Oscar winner and first-time director weighs in on everything from ‘Any Given Sunday’ to LeBron, Curry and Jerry
Jamie Foxx is having a moment that has absolutely nothing to do with him being an award-winning actor or an award-winning musician. And it’s got absolutely nothing to do with his storied career as a stand-up comedian, either. Foxx — who was a star high school quarterback in his hometown of Terrell, Texas, just 32 miles east of Dallas — is feeling real good about football. The Dallas Cowboys are two wins away from heading to the Super Bowl. So, be real clear, this weekend Foxx will have his eyes on two scoreboards — the one on Sunday’s 4:40 p.m. game, and the box office totals for his new action thriller Sleepless, about an undercover Las Vegas officer who is racing against the clock to find his kidnapped son. It opens Friday. We chat.
You tend to gravitate towards films with sports themes, like Ali … and Any Given Sunday, of course.
Because sports is an interesting thing — like war, in some aspects. Somebody’s going to rise and be the champion. Somebody’s going to rise who you didn’t think was going to rise and is going to do something that we’ll look at for the rest of our lives. Look at Any Given Sunday, will it be seen as something we did that was great? Sort of like what Dak Prescott is going through now? There’s something about watching sports … you cannot get that type of feeling from anything else. Sports, it brings us together. We lay down our racial bias, our gender bias, our everything. When you’re rooting for your favorite team, nothing matters but trying to win. I think that’s the type of DNA that’s always welcome, especially when you get it right. And when you get it right, it just feels good.
Jamie Foxx as Willie Beamen in 1999’s Any Given Sunday: Beamen enters his first NFL game.
Beamen puts team in the playoffs.
How much of Willie Beamen [the lead character in Any Given Sunday] do you see in Dak Prescott?
He’s the real life Willie Beamen. But only for the play on the field — not for the antics of what Willie was doing. Not the movie antics, and the arrogance of Beamen. What I love about Dak Prescott as a young man in this world of sports, where everything is flamboyant and everything is sort of loud, is the quietness of him allows him to navigate. Whoever’s in his camp and whoever’s in his corner, whoever got his hand on his shoulder saying, ‘This is the way you do it’ — or if it’s just him — we have to commend that. Because had it been me? I would’ve had a Dak-bar, a Dak-club, Dak-aris. I would have just been absolutely nuts!
Hilarious! Beamen would have just gone overboard?
You know what I’m saying?!?! Let me get a banana Dak-ari! That would have been great. I never would have made it to the postseason! So I appreciate his levelheadedness and his graciousness … how he allows Tony Romo to be the veteran. He doesn’t cross-talk him. He gives him energy. He defers to him, and he makes that guy feel good in a situation where obviously there’s got to be some … disappointment. But he treats him with grace and I think he’s wonderful. That’s the intangible that I feel.
Winning an Oscar, at the time … we weren’t expecting that to happen. When you get a chance to just work and have a good time, that’s what it’s really about. Because you’ve already climbed that mountain and you don’t get a chance to really climb that mountain too many times, so you just got to have a good time.
Foxx in 2004’s Ray.
You told me a few years back that in spite of that Oscar, you didn’t feel successful. Has that changed?
I still feel like there’s more to do. I just directed this comedy called All-Star Weekend. And man, it was such a blast … I had so many great actors and actresses involved with it. It’s like, you’ve had all these different successes in different areas, now you just want to keep doing things … See what sticks. Try to stay out there and give people great things to look at and dive in.
This was your first time directing, right?
Yes, and it’s funny, man! It’s about two guys — one guy loves Steph Curry, the other one loves LeBron James, and they’re just trying to get to the All-Star Game.
Does that mean one of those two is your fave NBA player?
Oh, most definitely LeBron James. All day.
Barring the 2014 season, this is probably the best chance your Cowboys have had in 20 years to make it to the Super Bowl.
It feels great, you know? It feels fantastic … I actually talk to Jerry Jones frequently. I talk to his daughter [Dallas Cowboys executive vice president] Charlotte [Jones Anderson], and you know how tough it is when you’re America’s team and people are looking to you like, ‘What’s up? What’s up with that?‘ So now, to see Jerry Jones and that organization break through, it feels good. And I feel like our chances will be really, really good if we stick to how we got there. Get the ball to Zeke [Ezekiel Elliott], who’s an absolute rookie of the year, I think. A heavy dose of Zeke and then a smooth dose of Dak, I think we got a great opportunity.