The Time Steven Spielberg Checked In on Jamie Foxx to Make Sure He Wasn't Nuts
In The Soloist, Jamie Foxx convincingly transforms himself into a homeless musical prodigy suffering from schizophrenic dementia. But was it a transformation? He's made little secret on his recent press rounds that he suffered from a childhood fear of going crazy, further exacerbated by a mysterious and scarring college incident. (We suspect he may have been dosed by another student, and spent the next 12 hours wandering around campus wondering why everyone had a laughing Satan face.)
Speaking recently to a gathering of journalists, Foxx explained how he approached a mental health professional with his concerns that if he made funny-faces with his brain, they might stay that way:
It's tough because we're artists, and we're halfway crazy to start with. So the first time I walked in, I had to go see a psychiatrist. I had some things happen to me in my previous years, where I felt a little weird. So I walked into this guy's place, a little antsy about the thought of losing my mind. 'Cause, in my mind, if I lose my mind, that's everything I have. My creativity comes from there. If I'm not able to draw from that, I would be nowhere.
The psychiatrist said [schizophrenia is] like taking your brain and putting it into a meat grinder. It's a very horrid place to be. I remember being at a function where Steven Spielberg was and he said, "Are you OK? Because I know this is tough for you, playing something like this."
And I thought, maybe he's reading something here, because I was actually going through something. This is going to sound weird, but I was actually knowing why Nathaniel was acting the way he was acting."
A mind as intuitive as Spielberg's is almost certainly attuned to noting behavioral irregularities, and they needn't be as obvious as pointing to a chocolate fondue fountain at a swanky Hollywood soiree and screaming, "Run for your lives! It's Miley Cyrus's gonorrheal discharge!" to raise red flags. Luckily, Foxx came through the shoot perfectly fine.