If today’s low-key demeanor is worth reading into, it seems the real Jamie Foxx is not the larger-than-life extrovert his public persona often suggests. There’s a difference, he says, between being in Hollywood and being of it. “I love being in Hollywood,” he explains. “There are going to be great moments: great parties, great movies, great projects that you’re a part of. But I also love the fact that I can step outside of it.” Foxx doesn’t reside in a chichi L.A. enclave, but rather out in the Valley—for years he lived in Tarzana (where he frequently could be spotted at a local bowling alley), and in the summer of 2007 he bought a 10-bedroom Mediterranean villa near Thousand Oaks. Currently single, he shares the house with his two sisters and an ex-husband of his mother’s whom he considers his stepfather (Foxx’s mother lives in Texas). His 14-year-old daughter and her mother (with whom Foxx is no longer romantically involved) live nearby. “There’s nothing wrong with becoming part of the scene,” Foxx says, “but just to keep your own thing, to keep your Texas swagger and your friends and family who aren’t affected by the scene around you—for me, that keeps me breathing.”
Right now Foxx is focused on putting together his follow-up album to 2005’s Unpredictable, which went double platinum. As for his next film, Foxx says he’s interested in playing Mike Tyson. He’s confident he could pull off the role: For Redemption, a TV movie based on ex–gang member Stan “Tookie” Williams, Foxx bulked up to 225 pounds. “Mike Tyson fought at 216,” he says. I mention that about a year ago I saw Tyson and his entourage get thrown out of a Hollywood nightclub after they sat down at a booth that wasn’t reserved for him. Foxx says that’s one of the reasons he’s so interested in Tyson: “There used to be a day when it didn’t matter if [a booth] was reserved for the president; he would sit there. Now he gets thrown out. It’s what the American dream and nightmare is all about: It’s the dream and then all of a sudden—” Foxx snaps his fingers.
“You always have the fear that maybe one day they’re going to say, ‘We don’t need you. We don’t like you,’” he says. “But one thing that I have on my side is that I can tell a good joke. If things went bad, I would be in Vegas or somewhere, still performing—I’d still have my light on.”
Or else he’d be in Vegas developing properties. He mentions another piece of advice he’s received, this one from the Maloof brothers, whose sprawling business empire includes the Palms Casino in Las Vegas and the Sacramento Kings NBA franchise: “You want to be able to have things working for you.” So Foxx has recently been looking to invest in real estate. “When I get to 50,” he says, “I want to be able to say, Okay, I don’t have to work. Things are working for me.”