Ludacris on Acting and How “Crash” “Changed the Game” for His Career

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in November 2001, ludacris He was preparing to release his third album “Word of Mouf”. But at the same time, his first movie “The Wash” was about to hit theaters. Dr. Luda had a minor role in the comedy directed by DJ Pooh and starring Dre and Snoop Dogg. But “The Wash”, along with its silly antics in a few music videos (“videos are like acting reels if you get them right,” he says), put Luda ahead of major league filmmakers like the late John Singleton. and Paul Haggis. In back-to-back movies, the rapper became a movie star as Tej Parker in 2003’s “2 Fast 2 Furious,” followed by 2004’s Oscar-winning “Crash.” 30 more movies will follow.

“The theatricality of my videos, my image – a bit of a transition, a transition to acting, I was playing myself the Ludacris persona,” says Luda, known as Chris Bridges in the film. But ‘2 Fast 2 Furious’ was a great way to start because ‘Crash’ came out the next year. And now I was able to get further away from ‘Ludacris’ where people knew me. I knew I wouldn’t be recognized as an actor if I didn’t act differently from that person. ‘2 Fast 2 Furious’ gave me a name in the movie, but ‘Crash’, a serious, dramatic Oscar-winning movie, changed the game for me. And rest in peace to John Singleton, who put me in ‘2 Fast 2 Furious’ as a crash course in how to work on film. Tyrese was also with me on ‘2 Fast 2 Furious’ and she came from the music world and helped me talk things out.”

Ask Bridges if his idea of ​​transitioning from hip-hop to movies was methodical, and the rapper-actor said it’s a happy occasion.

“Man, at that point it was all gas and no brakes,” he recalls. “There was so much going on and so many opportunities around and I loved every minute of it. I definitely knew I wanted to act in movies. Take me back to the age of nine when I was applauded and gaining confidence as a rapper. The same thing happened here – people liked me on my videos, then ‘2 Fast 2 Furious’ became a public hit, and then ‘Crash’ hit critically even harder. Now I can take it as seriously as I take music seriously.”

And while “Crash” touched on issues of racism and class in America, “2 Fast 2 Furious” – the second installment in the “Fast” franchise – was pure popcorn-filled adrenaline. “I love the action of F&F,” says Bridges when he made six appearances as referee/technologist Tej Parker in May 2023.Quick X”, as his seventh stage in the speed demon drama.

Twenty years after debuting as Tej – with “Fast X” fast approaching on May 19 – Bridges sees room for improvement when it comes to the tech geek character. “I always tell writers that if my character doesn’t develop, I won’t consider being a part of it,” he elaborates. “I continue to learn more about Tej as I believe the audience learns in each episode. About how clever he is and how he is the glue between all the other characters. Tej has revealed himself more and more as a person in every movie, and we’ve also witnessed his greatest fighting skills now, especially in martial arts you never knew he had. “Fast X” gives you a more in-depth portrait of who he really is and how he works. And there is much more left to the imagination.”

Bridges has acted and created in family films such as the computer-animated musical children’s television series. NetflixShe is starring in “Karma’s World” (inspired by her daughter Karma Bridges) and the upcoming Christmas movie “Dashing Through the Snow,” directed by Tim Story (“The Barber,” “Fantastic Four”) for Disney+.

(Left to Right) Major includes Camden Coley as Keys, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges as Conrad Grant, and Dr. Danielle Brooks as Lillie Carter-Grant.
BY NETFLIX

“Tim is the best director, he goes very easily,” Bridges says. “He knows how to enlighten African-Americans, which is extremely important, and his DP is right there next to him. This is a movie starring Black Santa. I can’t name many movies with Black Santa. It shines a light on how beautiful and brave African Americans are. I love making movies and tackling norms in a different way, and I love how I can move from hardcore dramas like ‘Crash’ to action ‘Fast X’ to a Christmas movie.

While Bridges can’t say anything about where “Fast X” is headed, it’s common knowledge that the upcoming sequel will be the end of the “Fast & Furious” franchise. How will this feel for Luda? “I think it’s extraordinary,” he says. “I felt extraordinary when I came back to ‘F&F 5’. I mean, when you make one and then you’re the one being called back all the time – 7, 8, 9. Six movies ago, I was grateful. I will be surprised and happy because this is a movie series that has been a part of people’s lives for a quarter of a century. I couldn’t be more grateful to be a part of something that has had such an impact outside of my music career.”

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