CS Interview: Bad Boys for Life’s Jacob Scipio on Success & Hopes for Future
Just in time for the 4K UHD and Blu-ray release of the long-awaited Bad Boys for Life, ComingSoon.net got the opportunity to catch up with star Jacob Scipio to discuss his joining of the hit action franchise, the threequel’s success and his hopes for the future of the franchise. Click here to purchase Bad Boys For Life!
Warning: Some Spoilers Lie Ahead for Bad Boys for Life
Bad Boys for Life brings even more laughs and thrilling action to 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and Digital, with over 50 minutes of special features, including an alternate ending from the film’s high-octane final showdown, all-new and extended scenes, outtakes and bloopers, Easter eggs, an exclusive peek at the making of the film and a look back at the first three installments of the hit franchise. The DVD includes extended and alternate scenes, bloopers and more.
The original Bad Boys, Mike Lowry (Will Smith) and Marcus Burnett (Martin Lawrence), are back. After a string of assassinations and an attempt on Mike’s life, he convinces a hesitant Marcus to hold off retirement and partner one last time. Together, they team up with AMMO, the new hotshot division of the Miami PD, to take down the merciless head of the Aretas Cartel. Rounding out the cast are Vanessa Hudgens (Spring Breakers), Alexander Ludwig (TV’s Vikings), Charles Melton (TV’s Riverdale), Paola Nuñez (TV’s The Purge), Kate del Castillo (The Book of Life), award-winning recording artist Nicky Jam and Bad Boys franchise veteran Joe Pantoliano.
Bad Boys for Life was produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, Will Smith and Doug Belgrad, executive produced by Chad Oman, Barry Waldman, Mike Stenson and James Lassiter and directed by Adil & Bilall.
As with many of audiences who have been jonesing for another adventure from Mike and Marcus, Scipio has also felt that the threequel was “long-awaited” and that he was “most definitely” a fan of the franchise before joining and laughs he still is, “thank god.”
“It was incredible, it was all the things that you could imagine it to be,” Scipio described. “It was the funnest set that I’ve ever been on in my life, it was like we had these young, Belgian and Moroccan directors in Bilall and Adil, who are just amazing. They are full of so much energy and they bring this super positive vibe to set, it was like shooting a $100 million student film. It was so much fun and what the guys did, the final product they made really speaks for itself. I’m so happy for them that they got to execute their vision in the way they got to, because I had a lot of fun watching it and I had a lot of fun watching them make it.”
The duo’s vision for the film proved to be a strong one, as Bad Boys for Life went on to become the highest-grossing and best-reviewed installment in the franchise, also holding the title for the largest January box office opening of all-time and currently sitting as the highest-grossing film of 2020. While Scipio notes that any time an actor or filmmaker takes on a project, they “want people to enjoy it,” but that hearing the positive response from fans and critics “meant everything” to him.
“This is a special kind of situation because this franchise is almost 25 years old and it’s iconic, for me it was part of the zeitgeist and a cornerstone for many people of American cinema,” the London-born actor explained. “So it came with a lot of anticipation and people were kind of waiting to see what we would do with it and the moment I read the script I was like, ‘Yep, it’s in safe hands,’ I was cracking up from the first scene and thought, ‘The boys are back.’ It was incredible and then to be involved in something so historic, it still doesn’t seem real to me.”
In going into his role as one of the two villains of the film, the 27-year-old star sought out to ensure that his portrayal was “not a cookie-cutter, everyday villain” but rather one with a little more complexity and that he looked to two of the most notorious villains of the past decade in cinema for inspiration.
“I landed on Heath Ledger’s Joker and Josh Brolin’s Thanos,” Scipio noted. “In both of the instances of those characters, they were bad guys, but you understood why they made the choices they made and that’s what made them so interesting to watch and that’s why people reacted to them so well. As a fan of those two films and as a fan of Bad Boys, I tried to bring a bit of that into this and say, ‘Yeah, this guy murders and maims and kills, but hopefully you can understand why he does it and yeah he’s a killer, but he has a code.’ I wanted to make it interesting to watch, I wanted to definitely make him complex and wanted to explore that vulnerability 100 percent.”
Unlike the former of his two inspirations, however, his villainous character required him to get down and dirty with his co-stars and the “incredible” stunt team of “men and women who were putting their bodies on the line every single day” and who he respects “so highly” and believes they don’t “get the gratitude the deserve.”
“In some cases they aren’t protected the way they should be protected, but that certainly wasn’t the case on this film,” Scipio said. “We had a fantastic team of stunt people and they had my back and made me look cool as hell, but I definitely did as much as they’d let me. A lot of the fight sequences that you see in the film are probably about 80 percent me and I would’ve done 100 if the insurance allowed me to, I’m all about getting blown up, falling through buildings, taking a punch through the face, throwing a punch back, I’m like a kid in a candy store when it comes to that type of stuff.”
In looking at his multiple fight sequences throughout the film, Scipio found his two favorites to be the first for his character as he holds a meeting with a local Miami crime lord over his family’s reign on the territory and the other one that “sadly didn’t make the final cut.”
“The first fight sequence with the knife when I take out those five guys is incredible, it definitely put Armando on the map and showed audiences what he was all about,” Scipio said. “But the highlight had to be putting Will Smith’s head through a window, that was incredible, sadly it didn’t make the final cut, but it lives on in my memory. It was such a surreal moment because here I am dancing with a hero of mine and going through a fight sequence with him and just living in that moment and I gotta say, I think he’s double my age, but he’s strong as an ox. He’s committed, he was right there in with me, rolling around, throwing punches, getting them back, he was setting the pace and setting the tone, and getting someone that committed and getting to do that with such a star of that magnitude was incredible. He did knee me a couple of times in the nuts, so I had to get a nut protector after that, but all is forgiven, it’s all good, it was all on accident. [laughs]”
After cleaning up at the box office for nearly two months, Sony Pictures released the film on digital platforms and VOD early as theaters shut down due to the global pandemic and with the digital release came a bevy of special features for fans, including an alternate ending in which Armando is not shot by Isabel nor does she fall to her death, but rather sees her mysteriously escape after being shot in the shoulder. Though the post-credits sequence initially would’ve set up Armando and Mike teaming up to track down Isabel, it’s now unclear what the future holds for either character, but Scipio believes Bilall and Adil ultimately “made the best decision” with the ending that came to cinemas.
“To be honest, we shot so many different iterations of them and they all became kind of a blur, I was just in that moment, with all of my attention on my performance and trying to toe that line and get it right,” Scipio noted. “But I think 100 percent the directors and creators made the best decision in terms of tone of the whole film, they executed it so well. They’re really great filmmakers and I’m really happy with the whole product. I’d love to be involved with another Bad Boys movie. I don’t have any actual news to share, because I don’t know any, but for me personally, Armando can go anywhere from here. I think he’s such an interesting and dynamic character and so unpredictable, that’s what makes it so interesting to watch, because you don’t know what he’s going to do next, so that makes for some dynamic decision making and dynamic viewing. So I’d just love for him to be a part of the Bad Boys universe some more, because I think we’ve just scratched the service of what Armando could do.”
In looking back on his time on set, Scipio recalls his and his co-stars time together in the makeup room as some of the fondest memories he’ll take home from the film and some of the best time he’s ever had working on a film.
“Every morning when we got in, it was like the makeup team there of Shunika [Terry] and Victor [Paz], my barber, everyone in there was just so cool and amazing,” Scipio warmly recalled. “We’d have music blaring out of there every single time, sometimes I’d be the DJ, sometimes the makeup girls would be the DJ, sometimes Will would be the DJ and it was just such good vibes in there, all of us dancing and having a good time. For me, that’s where you begin your day, that’s where you set up, so the tone in the makeup room is definitely thinking about what you carry on to set and they just made it feel like a family cookout before going to work.”
Scipio laughs as he also recalls how far star Smith went in making the set as comfortable and expansive for his co-stars and crew as possible, including setting up a gym that would rival places that charge membership fees, even if people rarely used it.
“When I say gym, I don’t just mean a couple of dumbbells, I’m talking state-of-the-art bicycles, treadmills,” Scipio described. “He put in a freaking swimming pool in there with a treadmill underneath it so you could swim against the tide, there was cryogenic freeze chambers, saunas, there was a masseuse there sometimes. It was incredible and then out of all that stuff, what we used was this cheap little basketball hoop and we’d have one on ones with each other and there was this moment where, I don’t know how it happened, we must have had some down time, but a bunch of us were all upstairs from a bunch of different departments, PA, makeup, some of Will’s people, writers, we were just all up there and it was a one-on-one between two people in the basketball game. Then somebody shouts, ‘I got a hundred on this guy’ and ‘I got a hundred on that guy,’ and all of a sudden it turned into some like youth club. We just had these bets riding on these two guys playing this basketball game, it was hilarious, I was like, ‘I can’t believe we’re at work here.’ It was so much fun.”
Bad Boys for Life is available to purchase on 4K UHD, Blu-ray, DVD and digitally now!