Jan 9, 2005  •  Post A Comment

Special to TelevisionWeek

Jamie Foxx, who got his break as a sketch player on Fox’s “In Living Color” and later graduated to serious film roles with “Any Given Sunday” and “Ali,” broke into the record books in 2004 by becoming the first actor ever to receive three Golden Globe nominations in a single year. The nods came for three radically different roles: the actor’s uncanny take on the late Ray Charles in “Ray,” his cab-driving hostage in the Michael Mann film, “Collateral,” and his part as the real-life founder of the Crips gang in FX’s “Redemption.”

For the producers of “Redemption,” the star’s breakout success comes at the perfect time-for both Mr. Foxx and the TV movie, which had been in development for years. “This is historic,” said Rudy Langlais, executive producer of the film. “The Golden Globes are recognizing a range of Jamie’s work that is unprecedented. I couldn’t be more excited.”

Mr. Foxx had just wrapped work on “Ray” when he showed up on the “Redemption” set. After losing weight to play the late blues, soul and pop great, he gained nearly 50 pounds to properly portray Stan “Tookie” Williams, a death row inmate who wrote children’s novels from prison to promote peace and received multiple Nobel Prize nominations.

“Our film has such personal and political meaning, and Jamie put so much into the role,” Mr. Langlais said. “I called him up after hearing about the nomination to thank him for having delivered such a performance.”

In fact, the project was almost derailed when Mr. Foxx got the role opposite Tom Cruise in “Collateral.” Producers had to completely revamp the production schedule, including long hours of shooting six days a week, to make sure Mr. Foxx got to the “Collateral” set on time,.

“Jamie was willing to do whatever it took to get it done,” Mr. Langlais said. “He felt a personal obligation to complete the picture.”