Ice-T Reveals New Jack City Sequel Plot & Why The Film Was Never Made (Audio)
In March of 2016, Ambrosia For Heads celebrated New Jack City‘s 25th anniversary by examining its creation and legacy with revealing interviews with two men responsible (Barry Michael Cooper and Thomas Lee-Wright) for the film’s story, development, and unforgettable characters.
One of those conversations, an interview with film screenwriter Barry Michael Cooper, looked at the Harlem native’s application of street figures during his upbringing into what evolved to “Nino Brown.” In that conversation, B.M.C., who is currently producing Spike Lee’s She’s Got To Have It series for Netflix addressed his plans for more story tied to “Nino Brown” and New Jack City. “I’m writing—and I’ve written, a prequel and a sequel to [New Jack City] called Am I My Brother’s Keeper.” In discussion with publishers, the journalist/screenwriter elaborated, “This goes into ‘Nino’s’ childhood, man—’Nicholas.’ That’s his name: ‘Nicholas Brown.’ [It explores] where he grew up and what he overcame to become what he was, and the larger issue of what he said at the end of that courtroom [scene]: ‘We didn’t bring the Uzis into Harlem,'” he said, before admitting, “I don’t want to say no more than that.”
In a new audio interview, Ice-T confirms that in the 1990s other plans were in place to follow-up the Mario Van Peebles-directed film. Speaking with The Cipher, The O.G. tells host Shawn Setaro why the sequel was botched. “There’s two things that I think knocked that [plan] off. One was me getting in trouble [for Body Count’s ‘Cop Killer’]. Two was Wesley Snipes getting $7 million for Demolition Man,” Ice says, at the 1:11:00 mark, of Snipes’ 1993 film. “So Wesley’s numbers just went up; they ain’t have no $7 million for Wesley to do New Jack City Part 2. So he went off and worked with [Sylvester] Stallone. I got in trouble. Sh*t kinda just got f*cked up.”
Setaro asks Ice-T if the plans of a New Jack City Part 2 made it as far as a plot framework. “Oh yeah, the plot was after we took that fall, the new movie opens up with [‘Nino Brown’] in the ER, with barely a pulse. Then he flat-lines. [My character ‘Scotty Appleton’ is] there with the cops and everything. Then, right as he flat-lines, the mothaf*cka reaches out and grabs my wrist, and the pulse kicks back in,” details Ice, whose role in the film pivoted from Rap into an enduring, celebrated acting career beyond Breakin’ and Rappin’ appearances. “Then he comes back. The [sequel] was supposed to be something about him and me teaming up and going after the next-level gangsters.”
“It was a good story, ’cause you needed Wesley and I [for a sequel]. But that never happened, and now we’re too old,” T says with a chuckle while speaking from his New Jersey home, across the Hudson River where New Jack City was filmed. “Another thing is, sometimes when you do something, and it’s as classic New Jack City, you can f*ck it up with a sequel. So maybe it was better.”
Ice also speaks about some of his consulting and improvisation on set. “Even in the last scene, when [my character says], ‘I want to shoot you so bad my d*ck’s hard,’ that just came out. I was standing over the mothaf*cka, and I said the sh*t. I remember, after I said it, [producer] George Jackson—rest in peace—said, ‘What did he say? What did that mothaf*cka just say? That’s in the movie! That’s in the movie! What the f*ck? That’s in the movie!‘ So those types of things was happening. It was more of a joint effort.”
Cooper’s recollection in 2016 matches Ice’s. For the writer, the portrayal of the law enforcement was atypical than most crime thrillers. “In the [1987 Brian De Palma] version of The Untouchables, the [police] were almost as fly as the gangsters. That was the whole thing. They were equally matched—just as fly, just as suave, just as flamboyant as the [mob] guys. ‘Nino’ understood that. When you get to a guy like Ice-T, when [‘Stone’] says, ‘I need some New Jack cops to take down a New Jack gangster,’ they were just as fly too.”
After Michael Wright (who later appeared with Snipes in another B.M.C.-written film, Sugar Hill) tried the role first, it was not a fit. Cooper recalls, “Ice-T came in. Dope rapper; I didn’t know how he was as an actor—’cause I didn’t count [Breakin’ . When he got on set… he’s another [person in New Jack City] that doubled down. He did a very, very good job, and has since turned to a very capable actor. He was fearless, man! That scene at the end when he said, ‘I wanna shoot you so bad my d*ck is hard,’ I didn’t write that. That’s ad-lib. He came up with that!”
In the comprehensive interview with The Cipher, Ice-T also revealed that he’s working on his ninth album, which is an ensemble narrative. He confirms that Wu-Tang Clan’s Raekwon is a guest. The artist, who released Bloodlust with Body Count last year, says he is considering making his next LP as a free token of his appreciation to fans.