Jamie Foxx on 'Just Mercy,' his first Oscar win and early days of comedy originally appeared on goodmorningamerica.com
When you chat with Jamie Foxx, expect the unexpected. The "Just Mercy" star recently visited the ABC News studios to talk about his new film and the Oscar buzz over his performance.
But the interview was sprinkled with hilarious impersonations from the likes of Jimmy Carter and Mike Tyson to Oprah Winfrey. Foxx said he honed his comedic timing in elementary school when a teacher offered him an opportunity to tell jokes in class.
"She said, how about I give you time at the end of class on Fridays, give you 10 or 15 minutes to do your craft," Foxx said in a recent appearance on "Popcorn with Peter Travers," adding that he'd repeat jokes he'd hear on the "Johnny Carson Show."
"My room was where the only TV was, and my grandmother and grandfather watched Johnny Carson," Foxx said. "So I would take those jokes to the kids and I knew they weren't watching Johnny Carson. They thought I was a genius."
And while the comedy is still very much there, the Oscar winner has taken on a serious role in his new film, "Just Mercy," based on the memoir of the same name.
"This is the most important movie I've ever done," Foxx said.
Foxx stars in the true story of Walter McMillian, an African American man living in the South, arrested and charged with murder without a trial. He was also placed on death row without having a trial. Foxx said he drew from his own real-life experiences to add his special take on the role, remembering a time early on in life when a racist confronted him.
"Growing up in a Southern place, in Texas, being met with at an early age, racism, being called n***** as a young kid, it baffled me," Foxx, 52, told Travers. "I was only 8. I couldn't wrap my mind around a grown man looking at a child and saying that. You're born into the world and this label is on you."
Foxx could very well receive his next Oscar nomination for his portrayal of McMillian. His Oscar first win came in 2005 for his portrayal of Ray Charles in the film, "Ray." He talked about taking home that Academy Award.
"Winning the Oscar was probably the most joy artistically a person could have," he said, "because Ray Charles was celebrated. That movie was celebrated in such a way that everybody could get around it. It was a healthy character. It wasn't a tragic character. It was a redemptive character."
"Just Mercy" is in theaters everywhere.
Be sure to watch the full interview with Peter Travers and Jamie Foxx in the video above.