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March 2006
ATL: An Interview with Lauren London

ATL: An Interview with Lauren London

March 27, 2006
by Wilson Morales

For young black actresses, getting a plum role in a film isn't always easy. Either they end up playing some high school girl as part of an ensemble film or the best friend to the major character without having a good scene to shine in. For Lauren London, she has the benefit of not only playing a high school girl as part of an ensemble film, but plays the love interest to the main character. In debut film, London appears as New New/Erin, a rich girl who changes her identify to hang out with folks from a different neighborhood while skating and going out with one of the coolest guys in the school, played by rapper T.I. In speaking with blackfilm.com, London spoke about getting the role and acting opposite T.I.

How did you cast in the film?

Lauren London: There was a really big buzz on "ATL" in Los Angeles at the time and I knew Carl Reed, who was an assistant to Chris Robinson and I just asked him if he could help me get an audition and he called me with an audition and I went in, studied for the role, spent like my last hundred dollars on coaching and was two hours late for the audition, went in there, begged Chris for the audition, and I just did my thing.

Being that your character is based on T-Boz's life a kid, did you get to meet her to get some insight for the character?

LL: Yeah, I had a brief conversation with T-Boz on the set and she's really open with my questions and answered them and she talked about how it was growing up in Atlanta and how was it for her at the skating rink at the time.

What was your opinion before you started shooting the film there?

LL: I had visited Atlanta. I spent New Year's in Atlanta, but I've never spent that much time there. I've really grown to love and respect that city and it feels like I'm from there now because of the amount of time I just spent there.

How was it working with T.I?

LL: We were really trying to shoulder each other. It was also Evan's first film and Chris Robinson's first film, so going into that with people that understand and are going through the same experience as you really, really helped. We were just there and comforting each other and it like a family.

Were you a fan of T.I before meeting him?

LL: Yeah, I respect his work a lot. He's a great lyricist.

How was it working with the twins Malika and Kadijah?

LL: I love them. I'm closer to them now than I was on set. We've really grown as friends and thankful to the movie that we were share a bond with each other. Everything that you see with me and the twins on camera is really real and genuine.

What about the roller skates? Did you to have to practice or had done it before elsewhere?

LL: We had rehearsals for skating for a month and a half before we started shooting and Vaugh, who like our coach, he was really patient with us and we all would go in there together, not knowing what we were doing, but hopefully it comes out well.

Is there anything with the character that you can relate to?

LL: I relate to her struggle with who she's trying to be. She's not feeling comfortable with restrictions and I remember being that way at 17 and rebelling against what everyone wanted me to be and who I thought I wanted to be, so I related to aspect of her. Not the rich part though.

Did you pick up anything from working with a veteran actor Keith David?

LL: It was such a blessing. You just learn so much from just by watching him, watching his work ethic, and how discipline he is an actor, and he's such an artist, and that was one of the highlights for me, working with Keith David.

How was it growing up and being home schooled while going out and doing commercials and trying to land different gigs?

LL: That's m passion. I only went to home study from tenth to twelfth grade. I grew up in an LA high school district and I did theater and I did drama, but I don't know any other way to do it. This is such a passion for me, it would have been different if I didn't do it then it would have been such a struggle.

Coming into the business, who do you admire?

LL: Barbra Striesand has always been an inspiration for me. I admire Jennifer Lopez because she's been against all the odds and she's made such a name for herself and she can put her name on anything and it sells and I admire that about her, but Barbara Streisand and Woody Allen are my favorites.

Do you have anything else lined up after this?

LL: Right now, I'm still in acting class focusing in on becoming a more vulnerable and a better actress and reading some scripts and you'll be seeing me.

What else do you do on your downtime?

LL: I'm really big neo-soul, hip hop fan. I like going to concerts like floetry. I love doing that on my downtime. I listen to music and hang out with my friends and try to read up on scripts and stuff.

Why should we go see "ATL"?

LL: Besides the fact that all of our blood and our tears and all of our passion are into the movie and you'll see the best out of us, it's a feel good movie that lets you know that it doesn't matter where you come from, who you are, if you can dream it, you can do it. Against all the odds, stay true to yourself who you really are.

ATL opens on March 31st, 2006

For more info on the film go here.


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