Lonnie Rashid Lynn, Jr. has come a long way from being that skinny Chicago kid asking to “borrow a dollar.” The rapper-turned-actor better known as Common has amassed quite the Hollywood resume appearing in hardcore flicks like American Gangster and Street Kings to showcasing his softer side as Sir Ivy in Smokin’ Aces.
But the man is ready to take audiences on an adrenaline-fueled ride in his latest flick, Wanted. Starring alongside film veterans Morgan Freeman and Angelina Jolie, Common’s “sense” will be on theaters this Friday (June 27th) in theaters nationwide. The G.O.O.D. Music ambassador sits down with The Urban Daily to wax poetic about learning how to work a gun, answers some rumors about the Justice League project and gears fans ready to experience an Invincible Summer.
The Urban Daily: Common, what’s up, man…? I got a chance to check out Wanted, but for the fans that have to wait to see it on June 27th can you talk about your character, Gunsmith?
Common: I play ‘The Gunsmith.’ I’m a part of this fraternity that’s central to the plot of the movie. Amongst the group, I’m more of the calm force. Gunsmith is really a spiritual warrior. He’s very honorable and a master of weaponry. I take James [McAvoy’s character] under my wing, as well as Angelina Jolie and Morgan Freeman to train him to be a warrior. He learns how to handle the guns and develop his way of the warrior that helps him progress in the movie. I had to learn a lot about the role, I had to take the guns, fix them and help the rest of the fraternity with any issues.
TUD: So, you had to go through a pretty extensive weapons training, right?
Common: Aww, man. I definitely had weapons training. But what I did, also, was follow the weapons guy while being on the set and watched a lot of what he did. I did a lot of research on what the fraternity was based on. I made that character come alive, which was important to me. I knew a few people who saw my performance that mentioned that I didn’t have a lot of lines, which was fine with me, because I believe that you can feel Gunsmith’s presence throughout the film. I did the best job possible. I was familiar with guns before I did Wanted. In Chicago, you know you see guns being used from a street level, but you’re not learning a lot about how the gun actually works. You’re not wondering about how the firing pin hits the gun powder to propel the bullet forward. I didn’t know the science behind it all, but I learned more after doing this film.
TUD: Between doing all these action roles like Street Kings, Smokin’ Aces and now, Wanted, you seem to be on a roll with those type of flicks. Do you enjoy the action/adventure part? Or is it just about portraying the character?
Common: It’s the characters more than anything. The movies that I’ve been blessed to be a part of have had some great scripts and some beautiful actors, so it’s not about doing the action movies because I’m really working hard trying to get into good projects. Whether it’s comedy, drama, or action, you just have to have a need to want to be a part of some things that put quality first. You can’t get any better than what we have for this movie, Wanted – you have Angelina Jolie, Morgan Freeman and [lead role] – who all bring quality performances to the screen.
TUD: Well, you’ve managed to bring that quality to the film and have been rewarded with being in two more blockbuster films – Terminator: Salvation and are rumored to be playing the Green Lantern in the new Justice League film. Can you shed any light on those projects?
Common: The Terminator project, wow… [Laughs] I’m glad to be a part of that. I’m working with Christian Bale and the movie is being directed by McG. He’s responsible for Charlie’s Angels and The O.C. and puts in a lot of great work in the business. This joint is going to be special. Bale plays John Connor and I play, sort of, his right-hand man. My character’s name is Barnes and I’m a part of the resistance; we fight against the Terminator machines. It’s going to be amazing. It’ll be the first part of a new trilogy that’ll round out the series. As far as Justice League… I’m not really aware with what’s going on. I’d love to play Green Lantern, but we’ll see how that turns out.
TUD: If you could play any role, past, present or future, who would it be and why?
Common: I’d play Malcolm X. Sorry, Denzel but I’d want to step into that role. I’d just want to step into those shoes, man, you know? I like challenges, man, and that’d be a very tough role to hold down. I want to be amongst the best in this game. I’m not acting to be second [laughs]. I’m not just shooting flicks for the low, I really appreciate the craft and want to make my effort to be the best possible.
TUD: Hopefully, you don’t leave out the music game, too soon… You got Invincible Summer that’s going to be a new look for you. Can you tell the people about the album?
Common: [Sounding excited] Yes… Invincible Summer is an album that is very different for Common. You can expect some feel good music! It’s music that can be played at a party. The concept behind Invincible Summer came after doing a few shows out of the country and my DJ [DJ Dummy] was spinning at a party and I noticed that he didn’t play any of my shit [Laughs]. The party was dope, don’t get me wrong and I wasn’t mad at him, but I just really noticed that I didn’t make any songs that really fit into that context. You feel good when you see girls dancing to your music. It’s healthy to see people just enjoy themselves. This album has that type of tone, that summer music that makes you feel good. That BBQ type music [Laughs]. Albums are like a movie or a painting, it’s what you’re expressing for that moment in time. I didn’t work with Kanye West this go-‘round, because of scheduling and just the fact that The Neptunes kept providing me with some really good tracks. I also worked with Mr. DJ – who did work with Outkast. He’s behind that “Bombs Over Baghdad” track. Together they found that sound that helped the people identify with Outkast. Kanye is in full support of the album, even though he didn’t produce it. I still feel his presence within the album. I think that he’ll be proud of Invincible Summer. We’ll be working again, but it’s almost good that we don’t, so that people don’t get tired of the collaboration, you know? But I want to be able to tour for this album and do some incredible stage shows that will have some great experiences for everyone involved. I might even breakdance a lil’ if the crowd is really into it.