That’s My Boy’s Vanilla Ice keeps his hustle tight
LOS ANGELES—Yo, check it out. Sure, Robert Van Winkle—that’s Vanilla Ice to you—endured all those typical one-hit-wonder outcomes: drug abuse, legal problems, even a suicide attempt. But the Iceman cometh back at ya. Big time. He’s got a reality-TV series about renovations, The Vanilla Ice Project; is a judge on Canada Sings (now in its second season); and stars as himself in That’s My Boy (which opens on June 15).
And the man who once helped hip-hop go mainstream claims he has no regrets.
“I look back and love it all,” the upbeat star says, kicking it in a Beverly Hill hotel. “I mean, listen, it’s a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle world out there right now. Obama grew up to that shit. I’m excited to bring back some of the old-school and reminisce a little bit. We got the 5.0 in the movie. I almost wanted to just stand up and just do the Running Man for old times’ sake.”
In That’s My Boy, Van Winkle plays his Vanilla self, as the best friend of Donny (Adam Sandler), who is infamous for fathering a child as a teenager with his high-school teacher in the ’80s. Donny’s reunion with his estranged son, Todd (Andy Samberg), on the eve of Todd’s wedding, turns disastrous. Inevitable lowjinks, with everything from naked obesity to GILFs (word to the grandmutha), ensue.
Sandler says his wife, Jackie, was the one who suggested the Ice Baby for the role.
“I had no idea what to expect,” Van Winkle (whose screen credits include the 1991 flick Cool as Ice as well as the 2004 reality-TV series The Surreal Life) says. “And I get there and…Adam’s so down-to-earth family guy, it made it easy for me to just do what I had to do and give me freedom to go in there and be yourself and enjoy.”
It’s clear he’s earned his quick laugh and easy smile by graduating from the school of hard knocks.
“We are who we are because of who we were, which I had to accept and, you know, there’s a little truth to that. It’s not all jokes. These little phrases, they’re more valuable than thousands of dollars’ worth of therapy, to me. They make sense....It works for me. Stay positive. Good things happen. Look where I’m at. I was in the trenches, trying to get to the other side. Shit creek. I found a paddle. He [Sandler] helped me with the other paddle and here we are.”
And he’s got plenty of advice to dole out.
“You keep your hustle tight,” he says when asked about how he faces fears of failure. “And you never get caught slippin’ on your pimpin’. You get caught slippin’ on your pimpin’, you’re up shit creek without a paddle. So learn how to swim through the trenches and get to the other side, and when you get there, [there’s] a big paradise for ya.”
When asked if there’ll be Cool as Ice 2, he laughs as quickly as he delivers his mad rhymes. “Hey, man, you never know. Yesterday’s history; tomorrow’s a mystery. Take it day by day, man…and enjoy the ride.”
Maybe that’s why, unlike some other one-hit wonders, he’s too legit. Too legit to quit.
Watch the trailer for That's My Boy.
You can follow Craig Takeuchi on Twitter at twitter.com/cinecraig.