Rosario Dawson had no problem keeping up with the constantly wisecracking Chris Rock in Top Five, out Friday.
The 35-year-old actress (Seven Pounds, Sin City, Rent) plays Chelsea Brown, a reporter with The New York Times who is assigned to spend the day with Rock’s character, Andre Allen, a washed-up comedian who is promoting a violent slave drama called Uprize and planning a wedding to a high-maintenance reality star (Gabrielle Union in a frosted wig and killer nails).
Much of the movie — the title refers to Allen’s penchant for asking friends their five favorite rappers — features Rock and Dawson walking the streets of New York City. The two travel literally up and down, from SoHo to Harlem, where Allen was raised. In actuality, Rock grew up in Brooklyn; Dawson the Lower East Side.
Warning: They talk like many New Yorkers: Quickly.
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We caught up with the actress at the Mandarin-Oriental Miami Hotel:
You guys really got around in this movie.
For a small indie, we were everywhere: Union Square. On the streets. In the subway. All the spots. A real New York movie. But that’s what you do when you’re in the city. But I tell you, it wasn’t that easy during the summer with people all over the place. No.
Right. What was it like shooting in the middle of all those city dwellers? They weren’t extras.
It was funny. I remember shooting a scene, and one of those double-decker tour buses drove by. They all must have been speaking to each other because after that, more buses kept coming by, taking pictures as if we were safari animals, screaming ‘Chris Rock!’ You’d hear them on the microphone [baritone, imitating tour guide], ‘And to your right, there is Chris Rock shooting his latest movie.’ We were like, can we just finish the shot?
The film went through a few titles. Do you know why it finally became “Top Five?”
Andre Allen was known for playing [a fictional, costumed comedian] Hammy the Bear, so that was going to be somewhere. Then it was “Finally Famous.” Then “Untitled Chris Rock Movie, UCRM.” But everyone has a top five. Ironically, my character’s top five was never mentioned. I had to convince Chris to let me. I said, ‘How do you spend the day with this woman and not know her top five?’ I do it at the end. My favorite groups. I’m proud I put Salt-N-Pepa in there! C’mon, at the end of the day, they have to be. I’ll take credit for that [laughs].
There was so much conversation between you two. How big was the script?
I added way more dialogue, so much. I had to. I told him: ‘This is important. Chelsea would say this. She’s smart. She has to let you know how smart she is.’ The banter between us a lot of the time was us just talking really fast about various topics. We worked on a lot of stuff together that stayed in. That’s the way Chris and I talk in real life. We are great friends, but believe me, we agree to disagree very often.