FILM: FIST FIGHT
CAST: ICE CUBE, CHARLIE DAY, TRACY MORGAN, JILLIAN BELL, DEAN NORRIS
DIRECTOR: RICHIE KEEN
Ice Cube (‘Barbershop: The Next Cut’, the ‘Ride Along’ movies) and Charlie Day (‘Horrible Bosses’, ‘It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’) star as high school teachers prepared to solve their differences the hard way in the comedy ‘Fist Fight’, directed by Richie Keen (‘It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’).
On the last day of the school year, mild-mannered high school English teacher Andy Campbell (Day) is trying his best to keep it together amidst outrageous senior pranks, a dysfunctional administration and budget cuts that are putting his job on the line just as his wife is expecting their second baby.
But things go from bad to worse when Campbell crosses the school’s toughest and most feared teacher, Ron Strickland (Ice Cube), causing Strickland to be fired. To Campbell’s shock – not to mention utter terror – Strickland responds by challenging him to a fist fight after school. News of the fight spreads like wildfire as Campbell takes ever more desperate measures to avoid getting the stuffing beaten out of him. But if he actually shows up and throws down, it may end up being the very thing this school, and Andy Campbell, needed.
‘Fist Fight’ sets out to lampoon those inspiring high school movies where a dedicated but unconventional teacher is assigned to the worst class and, defying the odds, transforms them all into well-behaved honour students.
“This is definitely a heightened experience of high school. It takes place entirely over one day – the last day of the year at Roosevelt High, which is the traditional Senior Prank Day, so it’s utter chaos. We wanted to see how far we could push that envelope,” says Director Richie Keen.
It starts out as the teachers versus the students, or, as Keen puts it, “the prison guards versus the inmates.” But everything changes when two teachers are pitted against each other. Suddenly Senior Prank Day is overshadowed by the promised faculty fracas that quickly goes viral: #TeacherFight.
Ice Cube and Charlie Day head the cast as the two teachers about to come to blows, and the actors also serve as executive producers on the film. Cube relates, “When I first got the script for ‘Fist Fight,’ I was like, ‘Yo, this is what you go to the movies for; it’s the kind of film that you can just have fun with.’ “It’s like one of those movies where you have a ticking time bomb, but the time bomb here is my character, Ron Strickland.”
Day, who stars as Strickland’s opponent, Andy Campbell, agrees. “I mean, who doesn’t love a good high school movie? And I thought the dynamic between my character and Ice Cube’s character jumped off the page. I liked the ticking clock scenario, where it’s a pressure cooker and the heat keeps getting turned up. Those were the elements that made the script exciting to me.”
The story originated with Max Greenfield, who also served as a producer on the film. The idea, he reveals, came out of wanting to turn a typical high school rite of passage on its ear. “I grew up in a small town and remember all the times we’d hear about a fight happening after school. Everyone would be totally excited for it, but it would almost always disappoint. I thought, ‘I wonder what would happen if it was two teachers who decided to fight it out after school.’ It put a real twist on it.”