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It might surprise people who stick around for the credits of "Meet the Robinsons" -- the movie the studio hopes will establish the technological leap that is Disney Digital 3D -- that the voice of Mildred, the frumpy, matronly caretaker at the orphanage, belongs to the anything-but-matronly Angela Bassett, a sophisticated beauty whose figure is the antithesis to Mildred's eggish shape.
"I guess they did give me a pretty big butt," says Bassett, in Detroit last week to talk up "Meet the Robinsons," which opens Friday. "But at least they don't have her stick it out at the audience with the 3D. She does preserve some dignity."
Bassett, the mother of 14-month-old twins with her actor-husband, Detroit native Courtney Vance, did not take the "Robinsons" job because she wanted to make a movie that her children could see -- the motivation for many actors.
"I've done a lot of movies I'll be proud for kids to watch when they're old enough," says Bassett, who won acclaim as singer Tina Turner in "What's Love Got to Do With It"; Betty Shabazz in "Malcolm X" and "Panther"; and civil rights icon Rosa Parks in the TV movie "The Story of Rosa Parks."
Bassett says she took this role for the same reasons she selects all of her movies.
"For one, it was a character I had never played before, which is always important to me, to keep me sharp. But it was also the desire to be part of a well-written movie that has something really positive to say about families and about all the different ways there can be to make a family," says Bassett. Her daughter Bronwyn and son Slater were delivered by a surrogate mother.
Bassett, who saw the finished film just a couple of weeks ago, says she was knocked out by the presentation. "It just transports you, it takes you somewhere brand new," she says.
"But you know, the best part was that after about half an hour, it just became natural to me, and then I concentrated more on the story, and that was what I really loved, the story of this boy who finds a family all his own.
*Angela in the studio with "Meet the Robinsons" director, Stephen Anderson
"At the end, I was really tearing up, and I've done a lot of heavy drama on stage, I'm a real tough customer. At least I thought I was. But here I was crying, and I knew the story, I knew what happened. It didn't matter. It was all brand new."
*Read more about Angela in Meet the Robinsons in another article here!