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Method Man talks about ‘The Cobbler’ and winning an NAACP Award

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Method Man has a lot on his plate currently — some good and some just odd. On the odd side, we find the traditionally standard Wu-Tang Clan bickering. The veteran hip-hop star has voiced his displeasure with Clan leader RZA’s proclamation that the Wu’s fabled Once Upon a Time in Shaolin album may not see commercial release for 88 years. The plan was to release the project in one physical copy and to allegedly auction it off to the highest bidder — which Method Man initially supported.

“I dug the whole idea in the beginning. I’m like, ‘Wow, this has never been done before,’ ” he said during an interview with XXL. “I was cool with s—. But now, this is ridiculous. Eighty-eight years? Really?”

After RZA’s initial statement, he tweeted a little clarification to his bandmate. “Let us clarify for you,” RZA shared with Meth and XXL via Twitter. “A 88 year ‘non commercialization’ clause. Means corporations can’t buy it & mass produce it for sell [sic].” No word on whether that explanation satisfied all parties.

But aside from the all-too-typical Wu dysfunction, Method Man’s acting career is doing well. On the heels of his voice-over stint on Chozen and with his turn in the Amy Schumer vehicle Trainwreck on the horizon, Meth is starring in the Adam Sandler fantasy comedy, The Cobbler. The film tells the story of a shoe cobbler (Sandler) who can become anyone he wants just by literally walking in their shoes. The premise may have some fans flashing back to Sandler’s 2006 hit Click, but this is no screwball comedy. In this whimsical fantasy, Method Man co-stars as Ludlow, Sandler’s customer-turned-nemesis.

“Adam is so cool,” Meth explains. “A very down-to-earth guy, gracious guy that you could go have a beer with a bar and just talk sports all day. In the ‘hood, he’d probably be that cool a– white boy we play basketball with. He’s very genuine. “

The rapper-actor reserved his highest praises for director Thomas McCarthy. McCarthy, who’s acted in numerous projects such as Meet the Parents and Good Night & Good Luck, is understandably attuned to the needs of his actors. And for Method Man, that approach is evident in the honesty he’s able to convey as a director.

“People love working with this guy because, from my experience, you get an actual true experience,” Method Man explains. “If you watch his stuff, you don’t think you’re watching a movie — you think you’re getting a slice of someone’s life. The way he puts his project together, you can tell that he gets it.

“Even though it’s an independent movie, [the actors] know he’s so hands-on and he cares about the project like he should. He gets everything out of his actors. He walked me through every part of this movie. To the point where I was so comfortable doing whatever character it was I was doing that he had to dial me back a couple of times. Like ‘Bro, you’re losing yourself. You’re acting too white.’ ”

The Staten Island, New York, native chuckles. “A white guy telling me I’m acting too white.”

Method Man’s acting career is a way for him to continue to push himself creatively. He won’t say whether acting has leapfrogged rapping — it’s easy to assume that both serve as different, but equal, vehicles for him to express himself and pursue a living in the entertainment industry. But he acknowledges that he is all about trying to cross bridges he hasn’t before. And with The Cobbler, he found a way to expand his repertoire as an actor — portraying both the menacing Ludlow and hapless cobbler who “becomes” Ludlow once he wears his shoes.

“I live for stuff that challenges me,” he says. “The challenge in doing dual roles is figuring out if I’m trying to be Adam or if I’m trying to be me. But in all actuality it was me trying to be me. When I transform into my character that is Adam, it’s not me trying to be Adam. It’s me trying to be myself — that version of it.”

He may still be a venerable emcee, but Method Man has never treated acting like a hobby. He’s noticeably improved since his early days, when he was cast in small but memorable parts in films like Cop Land. He says he does hope to be recognized for great work at some point.

“I want to win something. I would love to win something,” Meth says, before pausing. “I would love to be at the NAACP Awards. Because if I got love from my people, I could care less about everybody else. As long as they love me.”

He waits a few beats before erupting.

“You know I was just playing, right?” he says, laughing. “Like, ‘My n—a, you doing all this just to win an NAACP Award? You kidding me, n—a?’

“On my bucket list of acting is to be taken seriously,” he says, making sure to emphasize that this sentiment is no joke. “[And be seen] in something that I can star in and the s— just says everything about me that I’ve been trying to convey to people all these years I’ve been doing this. “