The André Benjamin drought is over. After a long break from the spotlight, the man also known as Andre 3000 not only launched a headline-making reunion tour with his formative rap duo this summer but also stars in the excellent Hendrix biopic Jimi: All Is by My Side, written and directed by Oscar-winning 12 Years a Slave screenwriter John Ridley. Thoughtful and forthcoming, Benjamin, 39, spoke via phone from his home in Atlanta about the evolution of Jimi and what takes to be true to the parts he plays both on stage and off.
EW: You’ve been trying to play Jimi Hendrix for a while. What drew you into this script?
André Benjamin: The take that John Ridley devised. I’ve been kind of close to or attached to a few different Hendrix projects over the years. 15 years ago, I started hearing the Hendrix calls from different directors and producers. I’ve read about four or five different scripts—great scripts, at that—but for some reason or another they just didn’t get made. When John Ridley came with this take, years later I’m like, “Wow, I’m pretty old at this point, but if you still feel like it can work…” And John was really, really into it. The first thing he said was, “I’m going to make this movie, and I want you to be in it.” I was just going off of John’s energy. READ FULL STORY