Eric Alt (writer),
James Minchin III (photographer)
ALBERT: I went off to get the set police to help us. I got away from being jumped, but I did get chased all around downtown L.A. with three cars full of guys. I was smoking weed too. [Laughs.] Before, when we smoked, we never went out in public—we were too paranoid. And this was the first day I said, “You know what? I’m going to let my guard down and smoke weed and go out.” And I did and here this shit happens. I ran into a fire station and I was so freaked out that they were looking at me like I was crazy. And then the police showed up and had their guns drawn on me and everything. And I was high. I probably would have chosen the beat-down over that experience.
ALLEN: The good news was, I never knew that your adrenaline kicks in and you don’t feel any of that shit. I just felt my body moving in different positions and blood squirting out of my nose, and I was like, Yo, this is insane, because I don’t feel none of this shit.
Is it true you guys turned down doing an antimarijuana ad because you felt it was hypocritical?
ALLEN: No! Actually, we wanted to do it! [Laughs.] I’ll tell you why we turned it down, ultimately. We were asked to do a military commercial for the Navy and a Rock the Vote ad and then the marijuana thing. The first one was while Bush was in office, so I was like, “I’m not doing that shit.” And Rock the Vote—we wanted to do it, but at the time we weren’t registered voters and they were like, “You niggas ain’t doing this shit.” [Laughs.]
Then we were approached about these marijuana ones and the problem I had was that it had parents coming to talk to their kid and it was like, “You shouldn’t smoke because this, that, or the other, and marijuana leads to this, and marijuana can make you do this, that, or the other.” I was like, “Yo, this is bullshit.” The script was basically “Drugs are for losers and people who have problems and can’t deal with their lives.” Tell your kids the truth: People do drugs because it’s fun. [Laughs.] I wanted to tell them: You’re at an age when it’s not optimal to be smoking weed—your brain isn’t fully developed yet. Wait until you get to college. [Laughs.] Be real with kids. If it’s cocaine or PCP you can say, “This shit is bad.” But with weed it’s more nuanced.
ALBERT: I wanted to do it, because I’m into propaganda. But we were always clear: We’ll do these, but we smoke weed and we don’t vote. [Laughs.] I’d do an ad for the Republican Party just for the challenge. I don’t agree with them at all, but I’d do it. But I won’t do a summer blockbuster. I do have some morals. [Laughs.]
Do you guys argue on set?
ALLEN: We used to argue more on set. On Book of Eli we got into two—I wouldn’t call them arguments—they were spats. “Put that there.” “Fuck you!” Very quick like that. But when we were closer—we used to live and work together, but that stopped after From Hell, we went our separate ways—there was more of that.
ALBERT: When people see it, they think it’s pretty vicious, but it’s not as bad as it looks. On Eli, he said something that pissed me off, I said something that pissed him off, and he walked off to a tent and just went into a tirade with one of the producers about me. And I’m in the next tent. I can hear the whole thing.
Do you have a weird twin connection?
ALLEN: Always. I was talking to our agent the other day and he said, “Does your brother know this information?” And I said, “I didn’t tell him, but he knows.” With twins it’s always in the silence, what you don’t say. It was funny—we did a lot of writing with Denzel [Washington], and he has twins. And he’d watch us bicker and shit and he would just laugh. He knew how to deal with it. His twins go at it pretty hard too.
ALBERT: It’s been there since day one. We had the same dream once, when we were still in the crib.