Corinne Foxx has carved out successful careers as a model and an actor, but now, with Dad Stop Embarrassing Me! debuting on Netflix NFLX , she adds producer to resume.
The sitcom is inspired by the 27-year-old’s teenage life and her relationship with her father, Jamie Foxx.
I caught up with her to discuss her producing debut, what surprised her, making her own way in the industry, and her dream of opening her own production company.
Simon Thompson: Producing is something new for you. How did you find making the transition?
Corinne Foxx: It was a really big learning experience because I was the youngest and the only female producer on the show. I was stepping into these rooms with Netflix executives, with people who were seasoned and had these long careers. Not to say that any of them were weren’t sweet and amazing to me, but I knew these were big shoes to fill, and I had to level up very quickly. At first, I was very intimidated by it, but then I remembered no one knows the material better than me because this is based on my life. I think that took some of the pressure off because no one can speak to this more than I can.
Thompson: I’ve followed your career and something that has always impressed me is that you have never ridden on your father’s coattails.
Foxx: I definitely haven’t. I leaned as far as I could in the opposite direction, especially when I was younger. I used to not want anyone to know who I was. I think that comes from both of my parents. They both built their careers on their own and love what they do, and I wanted that the same thing for myself. My dad still says to me, ‘Hey Corinne, you can lean on me. I know this industry; I know these people.’ I feel like when things are easily handed to you, they have no value. When you work for them, you get to celebrate them and feel like you’ve achieved something. That’s always been how I’ve operated and how I wanted to enter this industry. What life are you living if you can’t learn and grow along the way? I’ll never be my best self if people open doors for me. I want to be able to barge them down.
Thompson: A lot of the show is born out of your real-life and relationship. How did you decide where to draw the line when it came to sharing?
Foxx: We were really mindful of the stories that we told them. We’ve done so many interviews together for other projects and told some of these stories before. We knew where we wanted to go with it. We wanted to focus on the relatable stories that other dads can see and be like, ‘Oh, I’ve totally done that to my daughter,’ or daughters being like, ‘Oh my God, my dad has done that to me.’ Not everything in the show was real. The daughter in the show is Sasha, not Corinne. The father is Brian, not Jamie. The world is fictionalized, and the truth is sprinkled in there.
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Thompson: How did you find the relationship shift from father and daughter to producer and talent?
Foxx: I feel like my dad and I understand each other creatively. We have the same genes, and we think the same way. We’ve written things together that are similar, and we have this communication established because we’re related. I will say that me being the producer and him being the talent, there were times where the other producers were relying on me to give him bad news, tell him to stay on script, and stop him improvising. That was definitely a shift in the dynamic, but he respects me so much that I could tell him something, and he would listen to me 95 percent of the time.
Thompson: As this is your first time producing, did you feel a lot of responsibility to the cast?
Foxx: I felt comfortable with everyone because I had relationships with almost everyone. I had a responsibility for them, but I felt like I also had this comfortableness with them so I could have a dialogue with them. The most challenging part of it was in my head rather than coming from them, but getting them to see me as a producer now and not this little 10- year-old girl they saw on the red carpet. I’m 27 now, I’m a lot older, so I just felt like I wanted to make sure they knew I was a producer and an adult.
Thompson: This first season is an eight-episode run. I assume you’ve saved some ideas for a potential second season?
Foxx: We were very conscious of the time that we had to tell the story and get the entire arcs in. It was my dad who wanted to make sure that some of the episodes were more topical. We shot this over the summer when a lot of the Black Lives Matter movement was amplified. We wanted to make sure that we were also doing justice to our community, and we were speaking about the things that we could in a light-hearted way.
Thompson: Did you pitch this out to networks at all, or was this always a Netflix project?
Foxx: It was always with Netflix, and what was important for my dad was to do a multi-cam show again. He did In Living Color in front of a studio audience. He did it for The Jeffersons, recently I did it for Good Times, but it was important to my dad to get back to his roots. The goal was to have a live studio audience, getting that reaction from the crowd, but we did not have that luxury this time. Netflix was great with setting us up, and we were one of the first shows to start filming again after the initial quarantine.
Thompson: I imagine set life will be very different if you do get that second season?
Foxx: Doing a second season would definitely be something of a new beginning, but I think it’s only going to make the show better. The real comedians in this show feed off that. For my dad and David Alan Grier, that’s going to be the juice they need to create even funnier jokes and go further with what they’re doing. I’m excited to see that.
Thompson: After having this experience as a producer, is it an area you want to delve further into?
Foxx: I feel like nowadays, you don’t have just to be one thing. I think back in the day, you could only be an actor, and that was it. Now you can be an actor and be a producer. You can be a writer, and you can be a business owner. You can have a billion-dollar business and be an actor. I’ve loved leaning into producing, and I’ve written things that I’m developing, I’m developing other things that I’m producing, so I feel like my career isn’t going to be one thing. It’s going to be pretty multifaceted. With this project, in some ways, I didn’t know what to expect. Everything was new to me. I didn’t anticipate how much time I’d spend in the writers room. I loved it, and I have a story credit on one of the episodes because I was so involved with it. I leaned into writing and creating the arcs for all the characters. I was slightly biased because these are my family members as characters, so I wanted to make sure we did them justice.
Thompson: Could you follow in your father’s footsteps and set up your own production company?
Foxx: That’s like my North Star, alongside setting up a nonprofit and my own business then, down the line, my own production company. Those are all big dreams and big goals of mine. I don’t look at it as following in my dad’s footsteps. I look at it as just staying true to who I am.
Thompson: Do you think there will be a second season of Dad Stop Embarrassing Me! I would not be surprised if that happened.
Foxx: I’m feeling pretty great about it. I mean, my dad and David Alan Grier are magic together, and I didn’t get to see them on In Living Color back in the day because I wasn’t born. My dad has been telling me for years that I didn’t understand, but then I saw it in person, and I was like, ‘Oh, this is a whole other chemistry that I’ve never even seen from anyone before.’ So, because of that alone, I feel as confident as you do.
Dad Stop Embarrassing Me! is available on Netflix now.