O'Shea Jackson Jr. on How Farrelly Brothers Comedy 'The Now' Explores 'Dark Territory' (Exclusive)

O'Shea Jackson Jr. made his major acting debut portraying his father, Ice Cube, in the award-winning 2015 N.W.A. biopic Straight Outta Compton. Since then, he's appeared in several other major films, including Godzilla: King of the Monsters, and alongside Michael B. Jordan and Jamie Foxx in Just Mercy. This month, Jackson's newest project debut's, Roku's The Now, a dark short-form comedy series from the Farrelly brothers about a man named Ed (Dave Franco) who spent his whole life worrying about the details of every little thing, and then decides to start living in "the now" after the loss of his brother.

The Now certainly earns the "dark" part of its description, dealing with subject matter like depression and suicide. However, it balances those heavy elements with humor that can sometimes be uncomfortable to laugh at. This is something Jackson says he and the rest of the cast were fully aware of while they were filming. "Laughing to its core is a nervous reaction. So we've always laughed at things that we probably shouldn't have," he explained. "We've all had a moment to ourselves where we're like, 'Wow, I'm going to hell for that.' And from the jump reading [the script], it just popped off the page of like, 'Whoa, okay, we're here. We're in it.'"

Jackson went on to say that, while The Now certainly weighs into rough areas, "the underlining meaning for the show is just so genuine." He continued, "It's such a good message of you never know what your friends or anyone close to you is going through, and you have to be an uplifting force for them. It's hard out here, especially now with things like the aftershock of the pandemic still going on. You just never know who needs to hear from you, who needs to hear your voice or your spirit uplift theirs. So we knew we were going to be dabbling into some dark territory, but we knew that our underlining message would be the beautiful point of it all."

When it comes to the iconic filmmaking duo who created The Now, Jackson says it was an amazing experience for him to work with the same team who made their film debut with Dumb and Dumber. "For that to be your first one coming out the gate, you're a problem. You're a force," he said, praising the brothers. Jackson went on to say that the Farrellys were "super easy to talk to" and very "collaborative on some scenes." He continued, "They really want you to be as comfortable and make it as real possible."

Jackson had some specifically high praise for Peter Farrelly's work in the director's chair, saying "I love how quick Pete shoots. Boy, I'll tell you, I love quick direction, man. And he gets it done and knows what he wants, and when he sees it, we out of there. So you got to love it." Jackson then made it clear that he would love to work with the Farrellys again in the future. "If they ever need me, they got my number."

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In addition to Franco, The Now also stars Jimmy Tatro, as the friend group's third, and most outlandish member. Unsurprisingly, Jackson says the three of them hit it off immediately and the on-screen chemistry between them is exactly the same in real life. "Honestly, I've done a lot of projects. I've had to meet a lot of people within these eight years of me acting, and I've never had a crew tighter than me, Dave, and Jimmy," Jackson said. 

He later added, "Those are my boys. And that type of chemistry, you can't fake it. You can't fake the funk. And those dudes are... They're animals, man. That's my squad. I'm happy it translates on screen." All 14 episodes of The Now are now streaming on The Roku Channel.