"It was one of the most uncomfortable experiences in my life," says Rhymes, who plays a drug dealer suspected of murder. "The conditions of the environment brought out a lot of natural reactions that I probably wouldn't be able to fake. I'm still new to the acting thing, so I'm trying to develop my skills on those levels where I could be in 100-degree temperature and act like I'm in 100 below."
With the notoriously intense Ray Liotta playing his police interrogator, Rhymes says looking scared didn't take much effort! "[Ray] had some scenes where he had to beat us up in the chair, smack us around a couple of times," he recalls. "I had to tell Ray, 'Chill out, homie. You're swinging a little too hard over there.'
"But after a while," Rhymes shrugs, "with the numbness from the cold, that was the only thing that was keeping the blood flowing, being smacked around a little bit."
Rhymes — who began his acting career opposite Ice Cube and Omar Epps in 1995's Higher Learning — humbly says he's just "trying to get [his] foot in the door" in Hollywood. He's quick to offer an expert opinion, however, about why he thinks MCs often are naturals in front of the camera. "We're dramatic to begin with," he explains. "The whole life, the living condition of the urban youth, is drama most of the time. Most of the stories we tell are dramatized even more because that's the element that we know best."