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September 2007
An Interview with Lamman Rucker and Denise Boutte

An Interview with Lamman Rucker and Denise Boutte

By Wilson Morales

October 8, 2007

Being the newcomers in a film that has established stars and actors can be intimidating for some, but for Lamman Rucker and Denise Boutte, they were welcomed with open arms and they learned from everyone while being an equal on the set of their film, “Why Did I Get Married?”, which is directed by Tyler Perry.

A big-screen adaptation of Perry's hit stage play of the same title, "Why Did I Get Married?" is an intimate story about the difficulty of maintaining a solid love relationship in modern times told through 3 couple. As secrets are revealed, each couple begins questioning the validity of their own marriage. Boutte plays Trina, who is secretly sleeping with her girlfriend’s husband, while Rucker plays Troy, an ex-Wall Street stockbroker who has put his career on hold to care for an ailing father and strikes a friendship with Sheila, played by Jill Scott.

In less than two years, Denise has emerged as one of Hollywood’s busiest new faces, highlighted with guest and recurring roles on numerous popular TV shows, including “Everybody Hates Chris”, “Boston Legal”, “Girlfriends”, “Days of Our Lives”, “Cuts” and “Noah’s Arc.” On the big screen, Denise is featured in lead roles in the soon to be released SISTER’S KEEPER, NOLA, BEHIND THE SMILE, PARENTAL GUIDANCE SUGGESTED and WELCOME TO HOLLYWOOD, among others. Most recently, Denise has teamed up with entertainment pioneer, Tyler Perry, playing the series regular role of “Sasha Bowman” in “Meet The Browns,” his next highly-anticipated TV series.

Rucker may be recognized to most as Mona's handsome boyfriend 'Chase' on UPN's "Half & Half" as well as his loveable bad boy characters in daytime: 'Marshall Travers' on CBS's "As The World Turns" and 'the Dragon-Garret Willliams' on ABC's "All My Children". He has also been a memorable guest star on “Law & Order”, “All Of Us”, “House Of Payne” and the popular TV movie mini-series "The Temptations" as 'Jimmy Ruffin'. He’s also an educator, athlete & entrepreneur. . In 2008, Lamman will also star in Tyler Perry's MEET THE BROWNS (starring Angela Bassett) along with gritty basketball-themed Michael Roiff drama, BALL DON’T LIE, with Mykelti Williamson, Steve Harris, Robert Wisdom, Harold Perrineau and Chris "Ludacris" Bridges.

While speaking to blackfilm.com, both Rucker and Boutte shared their experiences on working on a film filled with so much love and talent.

Do you feel that guys are more open with each and tell their own stories to each other before they communicate with their loved ones?

Lamman Rucker: Actually, unfortunately, that’s very true. We talked about how to stay in communication earlier. Part of the problem with relationships in general, marriages in general, is that we are often having isolated conversations and women are talking amongst themselves and for some reason, we are not talking to one another and when we do, it’s a bullshit conversation. We’re not talking about what we really need to be talking about. We’re not really being open and honest of what we really want and what we are really afraid of, what our expectations were, what our intentions honestly were, whatever, so I totally agree. I think the men were talking amongst themselves and having men talk and they have their own set of rules and they took those sets of rules into their respective relationships and I think that’s what led those relationships to be dysfunctional in certain ways. That’s how the men are accountable for that and the women were doing somewhat of the same. It took Patricia, and maybe all of them to undo that and that’s what healing and any kind of conflict resolution is really all about. Now we are going to confront this issue, and most people don’t have the courage to confront and if we are going to do this, let’s deal with what you have been dealing with in your separate conversations over there and what I’ve been with my conversations over here and put it all honestly on the table and make a decision to really do it and do it together. Hold hands and fight for it if you really want it.

Denise Boutte: Often too many times, we do it with our girlfriends and we do it with somebody else and the problem is that a lot of people have opinions on what you should do in your own relationship instead of looking at their own relationship and saying what could make it work, they start looking at other people and they are too quick interject their opinion about that while they are not reflecting on themselves and a lot of times if you are the person that is getting all this advice, everyone’s got different things that they are bringing to you, like your mother-in-law, your friends, your sister, your brother, and everyone’s has an opinion and a lot of times, that can be like a cancer. It can eat at you and destroy the relationship, because instead of talking to the one person you need to talking to, you’re talking to everybody else what you’re really want and I think that’s hard. People should stay out of it and let you work it out. Another thing is that we let it get too bad until we actually decide to confront it. We’re talking about the little things, not necessarily nagging, but the main issue, but it will come out inappropriately.

What is then marriage 101?

Denise: I can’t say it officially but we did ten episodes of ‘Meet The Browns’ thee series back in December. We shot the pilot and we play Sasha and Will on the show.

Is this the series on the play that will also be a movie as well with Angela Bassett?

Denise: Yes. My character comes in at the end of the play and at the end of the movie.
My introduction doesn’t happen until all the conclusions have taken place.

Lamman: It’s not sequential or chronological, but obviously tied in to one another. It’s projected as Tyler’s next series.

Denise: We are waiting to hear.

Lamman: Sometimes you can see a pilot and then when the series starts, it’s different people. That’s always possible.

Can you talk about working with Janet Jackson and Jill Scott?

Lamman: There are so many places to start. As you also observe, Jill and I in particular have become close friends as well, but that’s one of the fun things you do as actors and entertainers. First of all, we admire each other from a distance and sort of cool when you come together. “I’m a big fan of yours” and “I’m a big fan of yours too”. You have this initial admiration because you really like what this person does. Jill and Janet in particular, we all gravitated to them. Not only their public image, but we realize the public image is real, it’s sincere. I think that’s why we like artist period. Because they are doing and always sharing something intimate with us in some ways and to some degree and that’s what pulls us in. but when you get to know people on a personal level. It’s normally much better than that. We know a lot of people who are not that interested or very fun to know or get to work with, but fortunately the ten of us weren’t like that at all. We generally like each other, generally admire each other’s work, we got along, and we were supportive and the energy and the listening and the giving that we were doing while we were on camera was real. That’s one of the best things about this. I played ball in college and semi-professional and aside from the game and all that, the most valuable thing is the relationships. Who can care how many rings you have or how many championships you’ve won or how many records you broke. The most valuable stuff is the intangible stuff. It’s now about what goals this organization meet, but it’s the families that I have come to love, and the people that now consider me family. The nieces and nephews that I now have is as a result of being involved and being invested in the community. It’s the same thing with us. This is my heart. We’ve all become close. Some of us already knew each other so it was cool. I was already cool with Malik and already knew Rich, Tasha and Denise.

Can you talk about your impression of Tyler having seen his films and now having worked with him? What’s the difference for you?

Denise: It was so interesting because he was actually in the audition room. I did not expect him to be in there. I really was familiar with his work but so much where I would recognize him. I really didn’t. When I first walked into the room, all of a sudden, I was like, “Oh my word! This is the man himself that is in this room” He just became like a brother to me. We’re both from Louisiana and I guess we have that family values coming from a very small town in the South and he just became a mentor. It was a wonderful growing and learning process because of the fact that I was in the business world I got into acting. I’ve been here (in LA) for almost three years and this is my first studio picture. Working on a cast like these from these megastars to the newcomers, I was a little bit intimidated at first but everyone was so welcoming and willing to teach you and take you aside and give you their knowledge. Tyler works with people who have that energy, a positive energy and it just wears on you and you grow from it and you learn from it and he’s a mentor and he’s also like a bad big brother he would pick on you and he loves to joke.

Lamman: He’s a regular dude.

Denise: He can try new things. He allows you as an actor to explore and go places and he’s not upset with that. He’s totally cool with that stuff.

Lamman, can you talk about why as a black man, it’s important for us to reach out to the youth?

Lamman: Aside from the obvious need to do that to overcompensate for the lack thereof, I feel blessed that this is part of my purpose. A long time ago and thank God, this is an example that my father set for me and is continuing to demonstrate to me, because that’s ongoing process as well and the wonderful mother that I have. Most importantly I realize the value of the other people, the extended family, the other people within my community; my cultures, my teachers and the other people I call Auntie, Uncle, Godfather, Godbrother, whatever. These are people who pulled you in and made you part of their lives and their homes. I realized that it’s now my turn. I actually have been raised that way and have been doing it all along so it was very easy for me to make that a part of who I am and what I do. I’m fortunate that I was able to identify that early and once I realize that I had some leadership capabilities and had an affinity to wanting to get to get know people and liking people and vice-versa, I feel that I’m blessed to have God’s spirit in me.

TYLER PERRY’S WHY DID I GET MARRIED? Opens on October 12, 2007


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