Jazsmin Lewis talks ‘She’s Not Our Sister’
Jazsmin Lewis talks ‘She’s Not Our Sister’
By Wilson Morales
May 3, 2012
Currently out on DVD is the biting, bickering and hilarious musical comedy “She’s Not Our Sister,” from playwright Johnnie Johnsons and starring Kellita Smith, Drew Sidora, Azur-De, Christian Keyes, Clifton Powell, Tony Grant and Jazsmin Lewis.
Sibling relationships are complicated–on a good day; but when three sisters learn that their estranged father may have left them a multi-million dollar inheritance, fireworks really ignite! Oh, and then there’s the half-sister they soon discover was one of their father’s deep secrets! Directed by Vernon Snoop Robinson, this powerful, intimate and inspiring musical stage play demonstrates the range of emotions the sisters experience as they attempt to deal with the unexpected death of their father, long-buried family secrets, and the shocking revelation of an extra-marital affair that nearly exploded their parents’ seemingly idyllic marriage. Questions of family loyalty, honesty and acceptance are raised; tempered by the realization that maybe love can conquer all.
For Jazsmin Lewis, a veteran actress who film credits include ‘Barbershop,’ ‘Deliver Us From Eva,’ ‘Traci Townsend,’ ‘Three Can Play That Game,’ ‘Breathe,’ and ‘The Marriage Chronicles,’ the film offers her the opportunity to work with friends as ‘Sister’ is the prelude to ‘She’s Still Not Our Sister,’ which has become a series for GMC TV.
In speaking with Blackfilm.com, Lewis spoke about her character, doing comedy and drama, and her upcoming projects.
What’s the production about?
Jazsmin Lewis: It’s called ‘She’s Not Our Sister’ and it’s basically about a character named Allison, played by me, who has three sister who never about me. We’re all adults and in our 30s. Our father had an affair with my mother who was Caucasian. I’m their bi-racial sister and he passed away, he left me a quarter of a million dollars. They are not happy about it and the stipulation in his will was that we all get to know each other and like one another in order to get the money.
Is this a prequel or sequel to ‘She’s Still Not Our Sister,’ which was shown on GMC TV earlier this year?
JL: The DVD is the prelude to what people saw on TV. The TV version is a series of what’s to come in our relationships and how they unfold.
What was the attraction to doing this?
JL: It was the story. They shot it like a sitcom. It wasn’t shot like a stage play, so it looks amazing, the characters are really well rounded and it was an interesting story. Being a biracial person myself, I had some challenges and I wanted to see what challenges they would give this character. That attracted me to it and I wanted to see where it would go. I loved working with the cast, which was a good reason to doing this.
Did you have any idea that you would reprise the role in a series?
JL: No. None of us did. We didn’t know it would do that well. We knew it would do well but as not as well as it did. At the time, it became GMC TV highest rated program. The ratings were great and inspired them to see where it can go.
You have worked with some of the cast on other projects, so did that make it easier to work on this?
JL: Yes. I was working with people I had worked with before and long time friends. It was a shortcut to getting to know each other and our work styles. We were going pretty fast. We shot this in just a few days, from the table read to actual wrap. Things go easier when you’re working with friends.
Having done film, TV, and stage, which is easier to do?
JL: When you’re doing a traditional movie, you have definitely more takes, more setups, more sets and a bigger crew. It’s a lot of process, but you get to be more creative because you get passive with each take. When it’s a stage play, it’s quick. When they are shooting it as a DVD, you get maybe one or two takes. You better have where you’re going in your head and execute. That’s what I would say. TV is the same way in a sense that it’s very much like a sitcom. Sitcoms are usually shot in front of a live audience. You get feedback from an audience. We didn’t get that here. We had to feel the comedy.
With a lot of comedy displayed in this production, do you see yourself as a comedian or someone with funny bones?
JL: Yeah. I started out in comedy over 15 years ago doing sitcoms. Comedy comes natural to me. With this production, my character wasn’t the comedic element. It was interesting for me to play a straight role. I do comedy and drama and this was right in the middle. That was a fun challenge for me.
You did a dramatic film called ‘Breathe.’ What’s the status of it?
JL: I believe the film will be on Lifetime TV. They were the ones that were involved with the film from the beginning. The film did very well at the different film festivals it went to.
How often do you get a film like that or ‘Traci Townsend’ comes your way?
JL: I do actually a lot more drama than most people think. I definitely linked to comedy. I was on a TV series called ‘Line of Fire,’ a one-hour drama. I’ve also done a lot of dramatic films but the ones that seem to get more publicity are the ones with comedy. I just did a film called ‘Cheaters Club,’ which isn’t out yet. That’s another dramatic work that includes Leon, Maya Gilbert, Mari Marrow and a whole bunch of other people just getting together. Paul Hannah, who did ‘The Marriage Chronicles,’ is the writer-director.
What’s been happening with your production company, Feline Entertainment?
JL: Well, we were doing a lot more before. I went and did ‘Breathe,’ where I played a pregnant woman, and after that I actually got pregnant. So I have a 1 year old now. I’m not doing as much producing as I was. We had done 6 features and we did them back to back, so that kept me busy as well as working at the same time. We are actually in pre-production for another movie now, but it probably won’t be shot until the end of this year.
What’s a good reason to pick up ‘She’s Not Our Sister’?
JL: I think it shows a relationship of family, sisterhood, and it’s not sugar-coated. It’s a comedy but it definitely has its dramatic moments. Everyone can connect to at least one or two people and their issues in this piece. We don’t wrap it up neatly in a bow, which is why they turned it into a series.