January 27, 2012
Coming out in theaters on Feb.3 is the dramedy film, ‘Dysfunctional Friends,’ which stars Keith Robinson, Meagan Good, Stacey Dash, Tatyana Ali, Essence Atkins, Vanessa Simmons, Erica Hubbard, Hosea Sanchez, Wesley Jonathan, Jason Weaver, Datari Turner, Reagan Gomez, Persia White, Stacy Keibler, Rodney Jerkins, Dennis White, Antwon Tanner, Meagan Markle, Christian Keyes, Laila Odom and former NFL player Terrell Owens.
Directed by Corey Grant, the film is billed as a modern day version of ‘The Big Chill,’ the film is about 10 friends who went to college together but have not spoken to each other in seven years. The reunite when their larger then life friend Dennis (Keith Robinson) unexpectedly dies from a freak skydiving accident.
For Gomez-Preston, the Detroit native gets to show off her comedic range back on the big screen. While she’s has had roles in ‘Jerry Maguire,’ ‘Love Don’t Cost A Thing,’ and ‘Never Die Alone,’ among others, Gomez-Preston was last seen opposite Queen Latifah in 2005’s ‘Beauty Shop.’
Having started her career on television with roles in ‘The Parent ‘Hood’ and ‘The Amanda Show,’ Gomez-Preston is currently heard on the Fox TV animated series ‘The Cleveland Show’ as Roberta Tubbs. The show is entering its fourth season.
When not working on the TV show, Gomez-Preston is working on numerous projects and raising a family with her husband, DeWayne Turrentine.
In speaking with Blackfilm.com, Gomez-Preston spoke about her role in ‘Dysfunctional Friends,’ having fun working on ‘The Cleveland Show,’ and her upcoming web series.
What was the attraction to the film?
Reagan Gomez-Preston: Well, Datari Turner, who’s the producer of the film and also acts in it, called me and offered me the role of Ebony. As soon as I read her character, I loved her. I thought she was interesting. I thought she was funny. She was really the one stirring the pot, keeping the drama going, but at the end, you see that she has her own dirt and her own secret that she’s trying to hide. She becomes vulnerable at the end, and you don’t expect to see that side from her. I thought that made her interesting and fun to play. I had also worked with Datari on another film called ‘Gangland: A Love Story.’ I had known Datari for years. He and my husband used to model long ago, so when he calls me up and reach out to me for something, I usually want to support.
From seeing the film, your character is able to draws from the audience. Was it easier to get into character because of your comic background?
Reagan Gomez-Preston: Yes. Being on two sitcoms, you have to have comedic timing. You have to have a few funny bones in your body in order to do sitcom, so the comedy stuff comes natural for me.
With such a big cast in the film, what was the chemistry like on the set?
Reagan Gomez-Preston: I had a great time. The good thing for me is that a lot of these people I have known since I was 16 years old; like Meagan Good, Jason Weaver, Wesley (Jonathan), and Tatyana (Ali). It was my first time working with Stacey (Dash), Vanessa (Simmons), Christian (Keyes), Hosea (Sanchez) and Terrell (Owens), but I had a great time. I had known Essence (Atkins) for a while although we didn’t have any scenes together. I had actually done a film with Persia (White) before, so this whole experience was like working with family.
How’s ‘The Cleveland Show’ going?
Reagan Gomez-Preston: That’s going great. Currently we are recording our fourth season. The third season is airing right now on Fox TV. This was just a blessing that fell into my lap. I’ve always been told that I had a certain type of voice, and one day, I just told myself to start going out for voice-over work and see what happens. This was my second or third audition that I went on. I’m just having a great time with the show. Sanaa Lathan and Kevin Michael Richardson are there and so is Mike Henry, who was part of the ‘Family Guy’ family. He plays Cleveland. Todd McFarland is the executive producer and creator. We’re having a lot of fun with it.
Although you’ve been working on TV for a number of years, it’s been some time since we last saw you on the big screen. Has the TV world afforded you more work?
Reagan Gomez-Preston: There aren’t that many roles (on film) for black actresses. I have done some films. I’ve been to Sundance before with films. I definitely want to do more films and more TV. I’m still young and have a long career ahead of me, so I still have a lot that I want to do. I’m currently writing and producing my own project. I’m so proud of Datari with everything he’s done so far in the film world, from producing films, for not only actors of color, but he’s been working with everybody. I’m sort of on the same page. I feel there’s a trend in Hollywood, particular with Black actors who have been around for a while like myself and other people. Wesley and Meagan were associate producers on this film so there’s trend where we want to get behind the camera and create our own stuff. I already wrote and produced a short film that went viral a year ago and it got a lot of press. That was called ‘This Time.’ We’re in the process of turning that into a feature film. I’m shooting a web series that I wrote and produced. I’m going to star in it along with Wesley Jonathan and we’re trying to get a couple of other people in it as well. I feel that I’m on the right path, and as long as I stay on that path, I will be just fine. I’ve also taken some time off. I have a family. I’ve been married for 12 years and I have a four year old and my youngest is nine months. I’m living my life as well, but business and work will always be there and I’m always striving to get to the next level as anyone should.
As a short film, ‘This Time’ definitely struck a cord with a number of people.
Reagan Gomez-Preston: I know. We got a lot of positive feedback. The director of that short, Matthew Cherry, is directing my web series this weekend. He also has a film coming out called ‘The Last Fall.’ With ‘This Time,’ we shot that in Atlanta and it took about 2-3 days. We were shopping it around. We had the full length script before we even shot the short. We were ready and when we decided to put it online, we were nervous. People can kill dreams on the web, especially when they leave comments. We decided to take a big chance and it worked out really well. The positive feedback was tremendous and people want to see more. With a film like ‘Red Tails’ that just came out, you haven’t really seen a lot of films about our people in the military, or in the service period. It’s a story that definitely needs to be told. It’s a love story, and the military service is one the characters in the film. Hopefully, you will see the film either in theaters or on TV. That’s what we are working for.
With my web series, Al Thompson is the executive producer and I don’t know if you know much about the web world, but he’s big in the web series. Web series are the next frontier as far as entertainment goes. With the popularity of ‘Awkward Black Girl’ and other shows, Al has already sold three web series and he has a development deal with SyFy, so we’re really blessed to have him on board with the web series and hopefully, we’ll speaking again about that project.
Why’s a good reason to see ‘Dysfunctional Friends’ on Feb.3?
Reagan Gomez-Preston: Because it’s funny and the cast is amazing. The cast are people that you have grown up with and that you love. The reality is that this film is an independent film and we were lucky enough to get it into theaters, but it still has to do well in order for it to expand. If you want to sit down and enjoy some funny and see a powerful story about friendship and love, then go see this film.