Tavis: To the point that you made earlier, so many of your fans know you first and foremost as an actor who can pull off a serious role of drama in anything you do. Is that a good thing?
Bassett: Yeah, sometimes, especially in straight life where my friends say, "You have to do a comedy." They think I'm awfully funny. But it's like it's so - it's difficult. It's easier, I think, to make people cry than it is to make them laugh.
Tavis: Do you think so? Why do you say that?
Bassett: I don't know. I get so - what's funny to one, certain things that pull the heart. A child that doesn't eat, or going through a difficult time, or a mother who loses a son, or whatever the case might be. A father dreams for his son and they don't pan out, that sort of thing. That's universal. But what's funny to you and what's funny to me? It can be very different.
Tavis: Has being a mother in any way changed your acting, changed your acting choices, changed your priorities about acting...
Bassett: It hasn't changed my choices, because I've always been picky or discerning or choosy or whatever the case may be. I'm always looking for what's the message, what's the point, what's the purpose, what's the greater good, what's the (makes noise). That sort of thing. Even whether it's comedy or whether it's drama, just there's got to be a reason for it.
Tavis: You had a list a moment ago, Angela, of four or five things right quick, you ran this list of things that you are looking for when you're trying to figure out whether or not it's the right role for you to play. That's a pretty heady list. I raise that only because I wonder whether or not you don't see stuff often enough that matches up with what you're trying to find.
Bassett: It comes along. For an actor, it don't come along as often as we would like it to, but then at times it does. For instance, this past year it's been just a slate of things coming one after the other, which has been really nice. And this movie, the last, and now going to do "Notorious B.I.G." playing Voletta Wallace, the mother of Biggie Smalls. So it comes, it makes its way to me, yeah.
Tavis: We were having a conversation here on the set the other day between tapings talking about the number of African Americans who have either won or been nominated for Academy Awards and really what the trajectory of their career was after the win or after the nomination. Has your career thought it was going to go after receiving one of those heady nominations?
Bassett: Well I always try to look back to the beginning of the career, when there was nothing, when there was no one to guide me through it or whatever, so the entire career has been more than I ever dreamt of or ever imagined, so that's the great thing. And of course early on, before they could put your face and your name together, your face and name recognition, you just go in and work back to back to back. But once you ascend and you have more recognition, greater parts, bigger everything, then it has - it's not as - it doesn't come as back-to-back as it did.
Tavis: Exactly. Especially now with two babies.
Bassett: Yeah. And as I said, actors, we're never satisfied. You're always going "When is the next job?"
Tavis: Yeah, you still love it, though.
Bassett: Unless you're winding up in every other picture. Then it's too much of you.
Tavis: Angela Bassett is overexposed.
Bassett: So as long as it's good, as long as it's good work, I think.
Tavis: Speaking of good work, it's hard to find an actor in this town better than Angela Bassett, and she stars in "Meet the Browns," Tyler Perry's new project, at a theater near you, as they say. Angela, nice to see you.
Bassett: Thank you, you too.
Thursday, March 13, 2008
Angela Talks With Tavis Smiley
Angela was recently a guest on the Tavis Smiley show discussing how being raised by a single mother helped her relate to her character in “Meet the Browns,” how motherhood has changed her acting choices, and even her upcoming role as Voletta Wallace. Below you can read parts of the interview, but you can check out the full transcript, a video clip and listen to the interview at the Tavis Smiley website.
Exhaled by Manda