Jamie Foxx’s They Cloned Tyrone Director Recalls Grappling With Star’s Health Battle Ahead Of The Netflix Film’s Release

 Slick Charles wearing fur-lined coat in They Cloned Tyrone
Slick Charles wearing fur-lined coat in They Cloned Tyrone

Since July 21, anyone with a Netflix subscription has had access to what could easily become the best sci-fi movie of 2023 by year’s end: They Cloned Tyrone. Not that the road to success was free from potholes, as the twisty and hilarious film hit streaming on the same day as the theatrical juggernaut pairing of Barbie and Oppenheimer, and dropped just as star Jamie Foxx started showing up in public again following his radio silence regarding a medical situation he was hospitalized for prior. Of course, in director and co-writer Juel Taylor’s eyes, the film’s premiere took a distant backseat to the actor’s health and well-being.

Speaking to THR about the critically acclaimed sci-fi thriller and Guillermo Del Toro’s minimal but vital role behind the scenes, Juel Taylor was asked about how his concern for Foxx’s health impacted his excitement about the film finally reaching audiences around the world. In his words:

It’s incomparable when you think about Jamie’s health in relation to just some movie coming out. It’s not even close. The checkmarks in this process were so slippery in terms of how they bled into each other. It was such a long process. It took a couple years to cast and then Covid happened. We set it up in 2018, and from then to now, it’s basically been five years. So we’ve had a long time to digest it and internalize it and get over the movie. And so by the time the movie comes out, we’ve mentally gone through all the stages already. And so when Jamie was hospitalized, that was some real-life stuff, and everybody was just praying that everything was alright.

The process for getting this film made sounds like a steady line of headaches followed by steps in positive directions, and considering how dense and layered the plot is, it perhaps tracks that it wasn’t a walk in the park. But after dealing with traditional Hollywood messiness, and then having COVID come along to shake the industry up for a couple of years, only to then have Jamie Foxx suffering from medical issues in the weeks ahead of the release date, Juel Taylor and others on the creative team went through the emotional wringer for this one.

In the midst of watching They Cloned Tyrone ahead of its release, and seeing just how fantastic and magnetic Jamie Foxx was from beginning to end, I couldn't help but feel my own sense of worry and paranoia over the idea of Foxx possibly being in a spot where he wouldn't be able to return to acting. Which is obviously small potatoes in the scheme of life itself, but still. In any case, here's hoping that the Oscar winner's recovery process remains on an upward path, and that he'll immediately start petitioning for a Slick Charles sequel when possible.

One Of They Called Tyrone's Best Lines Was A Jamie Foxx Ad-Lib

On top of sharing the love for Jamie Foxx, Juel Taylor also cited the In Living Color vet as being responsible for one of They Cloned Tyrone's most memorable and repeatable quotes, as heard during the scene after they first went down the elevator, and Slick Charles discovered a pile of unidentified white powder. When asked where that line came from, Taylor revealed:

Jamie Foxx! I don’t even remember what line was in the script at that point. “Ain’t no snow, but I can still ski in it” is just baked into my subconscious now. There was something quippy in the script, but Jamie came up with something way better as he often does.

Such is the power of an actor who falls into roles the way that Jamie Foxx has over the length of his successful career. Can't wait to see what's coming next in the pipeline, whether or not it addresses my loud hollering for more Slick Charles.

They Cloned Tyrone is available to stream in full on Netflix, and while there doesn’t appear to be any legitimate sequel plans in mind, it's probably clear I would love to see this universe explored further in some way, even if it necessarily had to shift its focus to different actors and characters.