Imagine if someone offered you $9 million to appear in an action-comedy movie. To sweeten the deal, you get to go to Hawaii. You also have the opportunity to hang out with Jack Black, who gives every impression of being fun. There’s only one catch: you need to inoculate yourself against a disease that has killed 5 million people with a highly-effective vaccine that not everyone can access and, in doing so, prevent the illness’s spread to others. Sounds like quite the deal, no?
Not to Ice Cube. He turned down co-starring in a movie called Oh Hell No after producers requested that he take the COVID-19 vaccine, according to the Hollywood Reporter. The Sony film, co-produced by Black and Matt Tolmach, was originally supposed to shoot “this winter.” But now, presumably, Ice Cube will need to thaw out on his stance or a replacement will have to be found. (A representative for the actor declined to comment to THR.) The movie is set to be directed by Kitao Sakurai, who previously helmed the Eric André and Lil Rel Howery-starring comedy Bad Trip.
THR also writes that Cube (born O’Shea Jackson) recently departed a boxing movie called Flint Strong. However, it is unclear if this is typical Hollywood ebb-and-flow or another example of his vaccine refusal costing him work. (In the past, “Ice Cube has promoted mask-wearing,” THR points out.) While there have been rumors about some unvaccinated actors causing headaches on productions, this is the first high-profile report of a well-known celebrity rejecting a big payday over the vaccine. In the world of sports, the Brooklyn Nets’s Kyrie Irving’s refusal to get vaccinated has won him the support of folks such as Donald Trump Jr. As Irving’s team sinks to the basement of the Eastern Conference, he loses $381,181 for every game he sits out during his protest against public health.
Ice Cube was recently engulfed in another controversy unrelated to the pandemic. Last summer, he went on a bit of a meme-bender on Twitter and shared images many viewed as antisemitic. After facing criticism, he defended himself to his over 5 million followers. “I’ve been telling my truth,” he tweeted. Days later, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar used the incident to decry an upswing in antisemitism in American culture in an essay for THR. In the next volley, Ice Cube responded that THR “obviously gave my brother Kareem 30 pieces of silver to cut us down,” the phrasing of which, um, did not exactly advance his cause.
Ice Cube’s last film as co-lead was with Charlie Day in the exceptionally entertaining Fist Fight, a modest financial success that grossed $40 million worldwide, according to The Numbers, which provides film industry data. Let’s hope someone can get through to the man and get the show back on the road.
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