Religion hasn't always been the easiest subject for Ja Rule, who co-stars with Adrienne Bailon, in the Reverence Gospel Media Films' release I'm In Love With A Church Girl out Oct. 18.
Ja Rule's character Miles Montego makes an effort to work on his faith when he falls for the lovely Vanessa Leon, a devout Christian played by Adrienne Bailon.
In real life, Ja Rule was raised during much of his childhood as a Jehovah's Witness. Because the organization does not believe in celebrating birthdays, the hip-hop star did not have his first party until he was a tween.
During an exclusive interview with Hip Hop Media Training, Ja Rule and Adrienne discuss his first birthday cake, their roles as a couple, the time her parents gave a bible to one of her boyfriends, and more.
LISTEN TO JA RULE AND ADRIENNE BAILON'S HIP HOP MEDIA TRAINING INTERVIEW:
Ja, I know with you having been a Jehovah's Witness, you didn't celebrate your birthday. Do you remember the first time you celebrated your birthday, and what was that like?
Ja Rule: Yeah, I think my first birthday was about 11 years old, something like that. Had my first birthday party.
What was it like?
Ja Rule: It was great. Had food, cake, everything. I was like, 'Man, this is what I've been missing.'
Where was it?
Ja Rule: It was at my mom's house. See, my mom left Jehovah's Witness, and I went to live with her. I was living with my grandparents' for a little while. And then I went to live with my mother permanently.
Adrienne, in the movie you deal with whether or not your religious parents will accept your boyfriend. Have you ever had to deal with that in real life?
Adrienne: The scene that we shot where my parents gave him a bible, that actually really did happen. My parents actually did give my boyfriend a bible with his name in it.
Ja Rule: I would have walked out. [laughs]
How do you get passed something like that?
Adrienne: Time happens, and people learn to love one another. You find the good in somebody and you embrace them, especially if your child loves them, and they make your child happy. They saw that. They saw how much he loved me.
Adrienne, will people be surprised to see this former Cheetah Girl in this different kind of role?
Adrienne: In real life, I do the like the bad boys. I like the good guys. I like a combination. Ja's laughing at me.
Rob Kardashian, your ex? Oh, he's a real bad boy… [laughs] I'm just teasing you.
Adrienne: No. Ja is standing up laughing at me now. I think I really do relate to the character in the sense that, Yes I was raised in the church. But my foundation of my faith has been a huge role in my life so I can relate in that sense.
Since you guys are friends, did that make it easier to play love interests?
Adrienne: In my case, I was like, 'Thank God, it's not a stranger.' There's a comfortability there when you have friendship. You feel comfortable, and I think it definitely shows in our chemistry on camera, I think.
Ja Rule: Yeah.
Ja, you're saying, "Yeah," but do you have anything to add?
Ja Rule: [awkward silence]
Ja Rule you have this song on the soundtrack "Pray For The Day." Did you write this before you went to prison?
Ja Rule: I recorded an album like two weeks before I went to prison. I made that song kinda for the movie and kinda for my album.
Ja, did they hold up the release of movie until you got out?
Ja Rule: Film editing takes a while so that took about a year's time anyway to get all the musical scores and all that done. And then it was like, 'Well OK, Ja has only got about 8, 9, 10 months. We can probably hold and get him and he'll be able to do the whole run with us.' So it just worked out.
Adrienne, surprisingly, you're not singing in the movie.
Adrienne: No. I'm not. The character didn't call for me to sing. I missed out on the soundtrack, hopefully I'll jump on something later.
What do you want people to get from this movie?
Ja Rule: I want people to just be inspired by it. It's a story of second changes, redemption, change. If I can change, you can change, we all can change.
Adrienne: That anything is possible. I also want them to walk away feeling hopeful for the future that no matter where you are in your life or what you've done or what you're doing but there is hope.