By Miki Turner
Page 3 staff
MARINA DEL REY, Calif. -- To say Snoop Dogg is the best thing in "Starsky & Hutch" would be an extreme understatement. While the chemistry between stars Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson is as good as ever, without Snoop's Huggy Bear adding flava to their scenes, the movie would fall flat.Because of Snoop, it's very likely that more people will be laughing, as opposed to yawning, when the film opens up in theaters this weekend. A man of many talents, the 32-year-old Long Beach, Calif., native talked with Page 3 about his role in "S&H," his approach to acting, coaching his son's football team, and he also explained why he's seeing the world much clearer now. 1. Did you know of Huggy Bear before you did the film? Snoop Dogg: Yeah, I was a fan of the TV show as a kid. I watched it a lot. I used to run home from school to check it out. And I liked Huggy Bear. He was sharp. He was a cool dude. You're much cooler than Antonio Fargas, though. I just don't think that he was able to do what I've been able to pull off in this movie. I just wanted to stretch out and take it to the next level because this is a new era. Back in the '70s, they really wouldn't permit him to say too much. He just had to play along with their game. On this movie, Todd Phillips let me come and add my flava to Huggy Bear the way he thought I could do with the hair, the fingernails, outfits, the jewelry -- bringing my own car to the set, the whole nine. Did you speak to Antonio Vargas? Wasn't he in your "Doggy Dogg World" video? Yeah, he was in the "Doggy Dogg World" video, but I never talked to him about playing Huggy Bear. I wanted to impress him and surprise him. You feel me? I wanted him to come see it and be like, "That's me." 2. What was your favorite Huggy Bear outfit? Probably (the one) with the rainbow jacket. I liked that. I didn't get to keep it, but I liked that one. That one was sharp. They're probably going to put it in a museum. That golf outfit you wore was real whack. Yeah, I hated that! That was all kind of whack. Do you play golf at all? No. My first day holding a golf club was that day. 3. Rappers have a certain rep, but everyone always talks about how professional you are when you act. Explain. Yeah, I'm a rapper. You know, so being a rapper we always late. We don't give a (expletive). We just like that, you know what I'm sayin? That's our mentality. But we're professional at the same time. When it calls for us to be rappers, we rappers. When it calls for us to be actors, we know how to switch the reel, go in the phone booth and become professional and turn into the actor. How do you rate your skills as an actor now? Do you see yourself able to play any role? What roles would you stay away from? I won't wear no dress, I won't play no woman in no movie. Talk about the crossover between rappers wanting to be actors and vice versa and both wanting to be athletes. Have you ever seen any athletes who were particularly good actors? Jim Brown, Fred Williamson, O.J. Simpson. I liked O.J. as an actor. He had me laughing with those "Naked Gun" movies. Those were funny. But, today ... Does somebody stick out in your mind who is really bad? Uh huh, but I'm not gonna say. They're my nephews. I'm not gonna talk bad about them. Do you want to focus more on your acting career now or music career? Both. My horoscope sign is a Libra. That means I'm balanced, so I can do them both. It's a juggling act. 4. Why didn't you do a song for the soundtrack? I wanted to do music, but they didn't want any new music. They just wanted music from the '70s. That's what they wanted. But you know I had a song ready to go -- ready to go at all times. I keep a hit record ready to go. What were you listening to in the '70s? Gap Band, Earth Wind and Fire, the Whispers, the Dramatics, Rick James, whatever my mama was playing. She controlled the juke box. 5. What is "Soul Plane" about? Is it a send-up of "Airplane"? No. The only thing that is similar about it is the plane. This is a black airline called NWA, and I'm the pilot of a plane. Did you know Northwest Airline has changed its logo to NWA? It ain't Northwest Airlines. When you do a movie like "Soul Plane," is it fun to just let it go and have fun? Yeah, just be me -- just go out there and have fun. 6. Seems like stars are doing more and more things to get attention -- Britney and Madonna kissing, Janet Jackson's breast. You're still cool and more famous for coaching your kid's team. What do you think about these publicity stunts? You have to be you. If kissing another girl is you, do you. If pulling your (breasts) out is you, do you. You got to be you. I used to be wild and crazy like that, but now I'm more into what I'm into right now, and I'm thankful that people appreciate me for being who I am and not expecting me to jump overboard and doing something off the wall. Because if I'm ready to go off the wall, I go off the wall. Right now I don't feel like going off the wall. Are you still coaching your son's football team? Yes Ma'am. What was your record this past season? Well, my team that I coach, that my son plays for, we ended up 8-2. This team that I'm coaching now is my all-star team. It's for the kids who excelled on their team, and I put an all-star team together. We set up three games for them to challenge kids from different states. What kid of coach are you; screaming on the sidelines or are you cool with them? I'm a little bit of both, because I like to win but, at the same time, the kids love that. They love discipline. When they're on a football field, that's one thing a kid loves is discipline but, at the same time, I'll go hard on them and go right back soft on them. If I tell them something hard, I follow with something on the flip side, so they can appreciate what I'm trying to tell them. Is it hard to coach your son? Yeah, because I go hard on him. Right now he's playing for me, but when he gets older he'll play for himself. He'll take the values and all of the things that I instilled in him and run with it, because I didn't have that when I was playing. I didn't have a father on the football field with me not once. I turned out to be all right. He'll avoid a lot of things that I wasn't able to avoid. What position does your son play in football? He plays quarterback and cornerback. What did you play? I played quarterback and wide receiver. What values and principals do sports carry over into life for kids? Teamwork -- looking out for each other, sportsmanship, competitiveness and abiding by rules. There are a lot of values in sports. People don't understand why we get so much joy out of coaching. There's nothing expected of you. As an actor and rapper, so much is expected of me. But as a coach, there's nothing expected of me. We don't win one game, people are still proud of the fact that I went out there and spent time with these kids and gave them something to look forward to. I love seeing the kids catch on. The ones that start out slow and midway through the season, (you say) "Man, I'm glad we kept this kid on the team. He really turned out to be something special." 7. Do you feel it's important to be a role model? Yeah, that's definitely a reason why I'm out there coaching football, for one. The 33 kids that I get on my football team are kids that could've been involved with gangs, drugs. By them taking up football and getting coached by me and learning and living and listening to the instructions that I'm giving them, they're definitely gonna see a lot to be inspired by. Because at the same time I'm coaching them, they go home and get a chance to see me on TV playing great characters and doing positive things. They get to go to the theaters and see me in movies, then they know that, "Wow, this is our coach, but he's so personal and so right here with us. He came from the same neighborhood we from. If he can do it, we can do it." 8. At what point did you become comfortable in front of the camera? I was shy. I was playing in the background of Dr. Dre. I was learning. I didn't really want to do the wrong things or say the wrong things, so I shied away from the camera. I wasn't friends with the camera. I didn't understand him. But we grown to love each other over the years. Was there a specific turning point when you became more comfortable? Just seeing myself, watching myself back on TV and seeing me hold microphones and (imitates) "You know what I'm sayin," you know, and doing all that stupid (crap). Just watching myself and saying, "Man, that ain't cool." Being high on TV, and (imitates) "Yeah man, you know," and I'm just looking at myself saying "Man, that is some ridiculous (crap)," you know what I'm sayin'? And then it was wanting to better myself. If I want to communicate, I need to look at you while I'm talking to you. Do you still have to overcome shyness? When I'm around certain people. When I'm around certain actors or actresses I get shy. If it's somebody that I really like, I get real shy, especially if it's a beautiful actress. If I really like her, I get shy. 9. What's next for you? My "213" album. Me and Warren G. and Nate Dogg. It'll be in stores April or May. It's called "213: The Hard Way." Is there a movie you're working on for yourself? It's called "Snoopafly the Movie: The Nigga You Hate to Love." Do you credit yourself for beginning the "shizzle" language? Nah, nah. That's from the Bay Area. E-40 and them put that together. You know the Bay Area always trickles down to Southern California and sometimes we trickle up that way. It's a California thing. It's more or less, we, being from the streets, we have our own communication. It's our own little Internet. Y'all got the Internet, y'all got Microsoft and all that, we got Tellanigga. 10. When you were doing "Playmakers," you told me you'd stopped blazin'. How has this changed your life? It helped me see what I'm sayin'. I'm more keen now, more aware. I have great awareness now, and I'm able to give a better performance in whatever I'm doing. And that matters to me, especially with these big movies that I'm associated with now. "Starsky & Hutch" is a big movie, so a lot of eyes are going to be on me and my performance is key. So, I couldn't be on the set lagging and not knowing my lines. I had to be aware, so people can really feel Huggy Bear. I'm Snoop Dogg first, but I want you to forget that after 30 seconds of seeing me on the screen and know that I'm Huggy Bear. Miki Turner is a day and night laborer in L.A. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.