Exclusive: Garcelle Beauvais Talks ‘A Girl Like Grace’ & ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’
Exclusive: Garcelle Beauvais Talks ‘A Girl Like Grace’ & ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’
Posted by Wilson Morales
December 28, 2016
Currently out on Digital, Cable, VOD and DVD and Blu-ray from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment (SPHE) is the emotionally charged coming of age drama A Girl Like Grace, starring Meagan Good (Think Like A Man, Minority Report, Waist Deep), Raven-Symoné (The View, Empire, Dr. Dolittle) Garcelle Beauvais (Hollywood Today Live, Spider Man Homecoming, The Magicians), Ryan Destiny (Star, Low Winter Sun), Paige Hurd (Hawaii 5-0, Beauty Shop, Cradle to Grave), and Romeo Miller (Madea’s Witness Protection, Survivor’s Remorse, Single Ladies).
Co-written and directed by Ty Hodges, the Datari Turner Productions, Leverage Films, Azro Media, and God’s Gang Entertainment Film is about 17 year old Grace (Destiny) who lives with her trainwreck of a mother Lisa (Garcelle Beauvais) in a Mississippi trailer park. An outcast at school, she’s taunted by the ringleader of a mean-girls clique, Mary (Raven-Symone) while mourning the recent loss of best friend Andrea (Paige Hurd) to suicide. When the bullies make Grace the focus of their attacks, Grace turns to the new girl in town, the sexually savvy Share (Good). But Share is out of Grace’s league, and Grace soon learns hard lessons about the dangers of drugs and promiscuity.
Depicting a story of resilience triumphing over despair, of the courage it takes to overcome obstacles and adversity, A GIRL LIKE GRACE forces audiences to confront the demoralizing effects of being bullied.
Blackfilm.com recently spoke exclusively with Beauvais about her role in the film as well as being part of ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming.’ Beauvais is also currently serving as host of the syndicated daytime talk show ‘Hollywood Today Live,’ and as the host of ‘Window Warriors,’ a store front skill-based design reality series on GSN.
What attracted you to the film?
Garcelle Beauvais: I met with director Ty Hodges and producer Datari Turner and when they had sent me the script I was like, “Me?” Only because it was something that no one had given me the opportunity like this. For most actors, we can do the work but it’s getting people to see you that way. So when I met with them, they were like, “We think you can knock this out of the park,” and I remembered walking out of the meeting knowing that I was going to do this. I really wanted to do it because I felt that this was a different character. It really is relevant to families and coming of age and young kids these days with the bullying and knowing their place in society and having self worth. I felt what was great about this character for me is that Lisa is really flawed. She’s got her looks going for her but that’s about it. Her journey and Ryan Destiny’s character’s journey shows you where it starts. If the mother doesn’t have her stuff together then neither will the daughter and that’s what she sees coming in the end.
How was working along a young actress like Ryan, who has since this film completed currently has a starring role on Fox’s Star?
GB: We hit it off the moment we met so I felt she was the daughter I never had. I have two boys. We hit it off really well. She carried herself well. Her mom being on set also helped her. Her very first scene in the movie is when she had to dance around the pole and be sexual; and for a seasoned actress, let alone a new actress, to do that as your first scene in a movie is insane but she held it really well. We’re supposed to see her innocence, and while Ryan is older than the character, she has this innocence about her. After we shot the movie, her mom and Ryan stayed with me at my house for 2 1/2 weeks because she was doing auditions and things like that and I felt that I really got to see another side of her and she was great in the role. They couldn’t have hired a better person.
Having worked on television shows and various films, what did you picked from Ty Hodges that was different from other directors you have worked with?
GB: For me and this character and in working with Ty, I have to trust him. I have to completely let go of any inhibition, any fear and just go for it. We spoke before the movie and I got to trust him. One day we were in rehearsals and he comes up to me and says, “I’m from the West Indies and you’re from the West Indies, so how can we make that work?” That’s when we threw in the creole language into the character and I think that really helped it but trust is the most important thing that I got from working with him.
There’s a lot of issues that stem from this film, including bullying and sexual orientation. What’s the message folks can get from watching this movie?
GB: I think a lot of people can relate especially the teenagers. I think self worth is a huge thing, whether you are a kid or a grown up. When you know your worth, people can’t penetrate your shield as much as they can. You won’t let anyone treat you like that when you know your worth. Everyone is flawed. No one is perfect. Know that going in and even if you make mistakes, you can rise above it.
How’s your day job going with Hollywood Today Live?
GB: It’s going very well. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do. I’ve always loved journalism and because I have two little kids, it often keeps me in town. It’s everything. I love the pop culture, interviewing people and seeing what makes them tick and being able to do that in LA and at the same time, getting opportunities to do a movie like A Girl Like Grace and recur on The Magician for SyFy and also getting to shoot Spider-Man: Homecoming. It gives me an opportunity to be based and stay here so I can be here with my kids but at the same time continue my craft.
Is it easier to talk to talent, especially when you have been in their shoes?
GB: Yes, it’s a bit easier and people’s guard are a bit down because they know what I’m talking about. I’ve been in the industry for a long time so it makes them a bit relaxed. Our show is a lot of fun. It’s about having a good time, letting people come in and talk about their projects.
You mentioned your work on The Magician. How much of a fan are you of the sci-fi genre?
GB: I go and out. It depends on what it is. I just saw Rogue One: A Star Wars story more so for my kids but I like all sorts of genre. Work is work and being an artist you appreciate everything.
I know that you can’t say much on Spider-Man: Homecoming but were you aware that until Black Panther comes out, Spider-Man has the most diverse cast and more folks of color than any of the other Marvel films?
GB: I wasn’t aware of it. It’s unbelievable. Unprecedented. It’s about time. When you are telling a story about life, it has to be diverse because that is what’s life about and what we see on a daily basis. The fact that Marvel is doing this is a great direction and hope more and more films will do that because it just makes sense.
Was this a film you went out for or did they come to you?
GB: They came to me. I was home minding my own business. I got a call from my manager and he tells me that I got an offer for a movie but he didn’t know much about it and he didn’t know much about the character. I thought he was pulling my leg. I’m like, “What do you mean? How do I get an offer and not know anything?” I then asking the name of the film and he said, “Spider-Man: Homecoming.” I told him to stop talking and to call them back and say yes. I didn’t even waste any time. I flew into Atlanta not knowing what the character is. That’s how secretive they are. No one got a script so it was really interesting.
Can you talk about what your character is now?
Had you seen the last Marvel film? Interesting enough, the last Spider-Man starred your former TV co-star Jamie Foxx.
GB: How about that? I’m following Jamie’s footsteps. Yes. I took my kids to see Captain America: Civil War and I was sitting in theater with my kids and a girlfriend, and I’m watching the film and enjoying it, and less than a month later I get a call to be in the next one. You never know what could happen.