Morris Chestnut Explains Why That 'Boyz N The Hood' Shooting Scene Was So 'Nerve-Wracking' To Film

The actor said the climactic moment was particularly "technical."

Nearly 25 years after John Singleton's Academy Award-nominated film "Boyz n the Hood" was released, the dramatic scene where Ricky Baker gets gunned down is as heartbreaking as ever. Morris Chestnut, who played the promising high school football star, sat down with HuffPost Live and looked back on how the unforgettable moment was filmed.

The scene required some Hollywood magic to make the gunshot wounds believable, so Chestnut said he was strapped with squibs, the same mini explosives used in all those messy shootouts in Quentin Tarantino's "Django Unchained." It turns out the devices weren't exactly easy to navigate for the then novice actor. Chestnut explained:

It was very nerve-wracking because that was my first job. ... I had that white shirt on, but I had these squibs [on under the shirt], which are basically mini explosives, and I had to run. So the stunt coordinator was telling me, "Listen, when you run, make sure you keep your head up, because if you put your head down those things can explode in your face."

Chestnut said he had a number of cues running through his mind, but when the director said "action," everything fell into place.

"I was like, so I've gotta run, I've gotta stay on this line, and here's where they're going to hit the script. It was so technical that I was very nervous. But it turned out OK," he said.

In the decades since "Boyz n the Hood" hit theaters, Chestnut and the rest of his co-stars have gone on to cement their spots in Hollywood. Chestnut now stars in Fox's "Rosewood," Cuba Gooding Jr. is channeling O.J. Simpson's past in "American Crime Story," and Ice Cube left N.W.A to became a solo artist before more recently producing the box-office hit "Straight Outta Compton." "Boyz n the Hood" also helped to jumpstart the careers of Angela Bassett and Regina King -- not to mention Singleton himself, who earned an Oscar nomination for directing. But at the time, Chestnut had no idea what the film or the cast would become.

"John [Singleton] was, like, 19 years old. We were both the same age, and no one really knew Cuba [Gooding Jr.] at the time. He had done some television work," Chestnut said. "[Laurence] Fishburne was on, like, 'Pee-wee's Playhouse,' and no one knew Angela [Bassett]. And, of course, [Ice] Cube was with N.W.A, but he was a rapper. He wasn't an actor."

Once the film entered the cultural zeitgeist, Chestnut said he experienced a "whirlwind" that "changed his life." In fact, people still recognize the actor for his breakthrough role.

"Not a day goes by that someone doesn't yell out 'Ricky!' when I'm walking down the street," he said, referring to the moment before his character is fatally shot in the film. "People still feel for that movie. It still resonates."

Watch the full HuffPost Live conversation with Morris Chestnut here.

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