The director said that he was prepared to take his chances with the actor, who was sentenced to three years in prison in 2008 for failing to pay taxes, but has remained free on bail to work while he appeals the conviction.
The filmmaker told SOHH: "I used to hear people say negative s**t about him, and this cat's a 'real' actor, he's a good brother and he deserves to be up on the big screen because we need him up there. And he deserves for us to rally around him.
"It's not like he murdered somebody, or did anything crazy, this whole country's broke right now, so who knows what the issues were. I wanted him in the movie and I made sure that happened. Everyone was afraid that the sheriff would come and take him off my set and then you spend two, three million dollars for these scenes and certain scenes, you gotta re-shoot them all. That's gonna be a huge disaster.
"So producers were nervous about that but I said you know what, at some point you just gotta take a chance man and I backed this dude up and we'll deal with that if it happens. Luckily, everybody rolled with me - it was just a little reminder, here's a great actor out here. Don't forget this cat. That's really what I was doing, just a taste."