Garcelle Beauvais talks Flight and White House Down

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Garcelle Beauvais talks Flight and White House Down
By Wilson Morales

November 9, 2012

Currently playing in theaters is the Denzel Washington film, ‘Flight,’ which also co-stars Don Cheadle, John Goodman, Kelly Reilly, Bruce Greenwood, Tamara Tunie, Garcelle Beauvais, Justin Martin and Melissa Leo.

Directed by Robert Zemekis, ‘Flight’ is about Whip Whitaker (played by Washington), an airline pilot who saves a flight from crashing, but an investigation into the malfunctions reveals something troubling. Did his addiction to booze and drugs cause the flight to go down, or was consciously aware of his actions?

For Beauvais, who plays Whip’s wife in the film, the role gave her a chance to be seen on the big screen. The Haitian native has been a fixture on TV for nearly 20 years, having co-starred with Jamie Foxx on ‘The Jamie Foxx Show,’ then on ‘NYPD Blue,’ and most recently TNT’s ‘Frankin and Bash.’

In speaking with Blackfilm.com, Beauvais talks about her role in ‘Flight,’ a guest spot on ‘Arrested Development,’ and reuniting with Foxx in ‘White House Down,’ where she gets to play the First Lady of the United States.

How would you describe the character that you’re playing?

Garcelle Beauvais: It was great. Although it was a small role, it was an important one because it was seeing his family and seeing what he sacrificed in order to keep his addiction going. I think the fact the he abandoned his son in a way because he’s not in his life shows you how far and deep he was in this.

Do you think when he finally come to his family helped him overcome his denial?

GB: Yes. I think everything started to unravel and made him paid attention. He obviously knew he had a problem but when he lost his family, being in trouble with the law, and his son kicking him out of his own house, that was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

Is there an addiction you have?

GB: Totally shoes. If they have a “Shoes Anonymous,” I would be President.

It’s not so often we see you on the big screen, so what was the attraction to doing this?

GB: Everything from the story, the cast, the director, and all of it was really enticing and getting to play with the big boys.

Did this film come to you or did you audition for it?

GB: No, it was something that came to me. I had auditioned to be one of the flight attendants and didn’t get that part, and then one day I get a call stating that they wanted to bring me in to play Denzel’s ex-wife and that I was the only one that they are bringing in. I was just like, “Wow! Fantastic!” Everything happens for a reason and I’m a big believer in that, and had I got the flight attendant part, I wouldn’t had been able to do it because of the schedule of the show that I was working on at the time. It all worked out just beautifully.

How was working with Denzel and Robert Zemekis?

GB: Amazing and scary and surreal. It’s like when you want to play baseball and you want to play with people who are better than you so that you can up your game. He was just gracious and wonderful. It was a traumatic scene and awesome and fun when we were offset. The more work you do, the better you get.

From one Oscar winner to another, your next film, ‘White House Down,’ will have you reunited with Jamie Foxx. How was the reunion?

GB: I’m looking forward to it. We have a really great friendship and we’ve known each other for a very long time, so we actually got to do a photo-shoot for the film and it was really great. Being around him felt like no time had ever passed.

How was playing the role of First Lady of the United States? Will you be channeling Michelle Obama?

GB: That’s a good role model to channel. She’s strong. She’s intelligent, articulate, and classy; and those are all good things.

Are you aware you that you’re one of the few actresses who have worked with two of the four Black Best Actor winners?

GB: I never even thought about that. I actually also worked with Forest (Whitaker) as well. I worked with him on ‘American Guns,’ so that makes three. I played his wife on that film. That was an independent film that he did before he did ‘Last King of Scotland,’ which won him the Oscar.

You have a role coming up on the return of ‘Arrested Development’ TV series? Is it a regular or recurring character?

GB: I loved working on that. They are all fantastic. That was a guest-spot role and the door is always open, so we’ll see. I have ‘White House Down’ and then we’ll see what happens next.

Having been a fixture on various TV series and some films, what are the types of roles that you look for that make you say yes?

GB: For me, if it’s something that I’m excited about and it looks like fun, and also the players are important too. You want to work with people who are good. It’s also about liking the character and the people involved and that’s usually a good way to decide.

When you leave from one series to another, what do you take walk away with?

GB: It’s experience. That’s what we do as actors. We go from job to job. You get to work with new people and be on a different set and a different character to play. It’s like going to a new school. It’s fun, exciting and challenging, and everything you can think of.

What’s a good reason to see ‘Flight?’

GB: It’s a thriller. It’s a ride. It has a great cast and keeps you on the edge-of-your-seat because you’re not really sure what he’s going to do next. Even if I wasn’t in it, I would a fan.


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