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(February 2001)

Q. You're so young and already at the top of the "A" list.  Do you have role models and ambitions??

A. I'm committed to personal excellence and whatever that lends itself to.  I want to be as funny as Eddie Murphy and as great as Denzel Washington.

Q. So did you have a lot of fun while you were making "Wild, Wild West"??

A. I loved it.  It was such an exciting film.  What's great is that it uses the technology that existed in 1869.  Everything is gears and pulleys and hydraulics, and not just modern day special effects.

Q. You've been training for your new film "Muhammed Ali".  How challenging is the role??

A. I've been spending six hours a day in the gym.  Ali comes to watch me train at this gym that we've built - he's amazing.  And I eat seven times a day, protein shakes forever!!  And of course, when I walk into a room now, I know I can kick everyone's butt.  I've never had this much confidence before!!

Q. You seem to have your feet on the ground, despite the wealth and fame.  How do you think you've done that??

A. I've been entertaining for half my life and I've got to the point where it's not about breaking the box office, it's about being comfortable with your choices.  And I have great parents, which always makes a difference.  There was a point at which I had six cars and my father said, "Boy, you got six cars and you only got one ass, what do you need all of the for??"

Q. Do you prefer music or acting??

A. It's a whole different thing being an actor.  Rapping is about being completely true to yourself.  But being an actor is about changing who you are.

Q. Has marriage to Jada changed you - are you a family man these days??

A. Jada has really put me in touch with my feminine side; she's made a place for me where I don't always have to be the tough guy.  She's a brilliant communicator and we spend hours and hours talking about our relationship, and how to raise the children.

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