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‘It Changed My Career for Sure’: Cedric the Entertainer Talks the ‘Barbershop’ Role He Was Initially Cast In, Making $150K for First Film

Cedric the Entertainer’s movie career took off in the mid 2000s when he starred in “Barbershop” as Eddie, the ranting resident old-timer.

The veteran barber and his controversial one-liners make up some of the film’s and it subsequent sequels’ funniest moments, but that almost wasn’t the case. According to the standup comic, when he first began the casting process he was slotted for another role.

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – MAY 01: Cedric the Entertainer attends George Lopez Foundation’s 15th annual celebrity golf tournament pre-party at Baltaire Restaurant on May 01, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images)

“I remember I went to read for ‘Barbershop’ and they wanted me to play the Anthony Anderson part,” he said while appearing on the “FAQ Podcast.” In the film Anderson plays J.D., an ATM thief who nearly causes the shop’s demise. Cedric, however, had his sights set on Eddie.

“In my mind I knew I wanted to be this old man because I was like I just used to do all these characters, I was like I know that old man,” he continued. “So when I was in the read they was like, ‘Yo, you want to do the old man?’ And I was like, ‘Yeah, I’ll do the old man.’ So when they cast they loved me for this other character [J.D.]. I was like, ‘No, I want to be the old man.’ They was like, ‘You want to play that old man?’ I was like, ‘Yes,’ because they wanted to cast an old man and I was like, ‘I want to play that old man.’”

Prior to starring alongside Ice Cube in the “Barbershop” films, Cedric was best known for his role as the P.E. Coach Cedric Jackie Robinson, host of BET’s “Comic View,” and one of the four “Kings of Comedy.” But his punchy jokes and embodiment of Eddie garnered him a new sense of notoriety among Hollywood playmakers.

“That was one of those things, like a choice, knowing a character is for you, and it changed my career for sure,” he said. “The first ‘Barbershop,’ that was one of those things that change your career. The first ‘Barbershop’ I got like $150,000 and the second one was way, way, way over there.”

Cedric says part of the reason he was able to make a steep jump in pay is because he made Eddie an essential part of the film. A lesson he says he learned from Cube. “The idea of positioning yourself in the movie business to be needed as a movie star, that’s what he did really well,” says Cedric of what he learned from working with Cube. “To this day longevity.”

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