Thandie Newton & Tessa Thompson Video Interview On ‘For Colored Girls,’ Tyler Perry
Thandie Newton and Tessa Thompson take Uinterview user questions about their new Tyler Perry movie, For Colored Girls.
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Thandie Newton: There are so many. Even just having seen the movie last night, today I've had these flashes of scenes and moments -- it's just this forest of extraordinary inspiration and power and passion. I suppose one day that really stood out, which was really kind of a turning point in the movie for my character, was when Whoopi and I literally go at each other, physically, and we end up where she reveals parts of my character's history which are basically the reason why my character is so damaged. So that was a pretty amazing moment for the character, a catharsis. But each day on the set, with each actress I worked with it was just a whole new experience and so rewarding. I don't have a single moment, apart from the one I mentioned.
Tessa Thompson: And that day was interesting as well because weren't you guys meant to do your
particular pieces separately?
TN: Yeah we were, and we decided to speak our poetry simultaneously. I suggested that, in a way
because I wanted to have it be different for the audience and also because what we're saying, both of us separately, is kind of the same thing, and it did work.
TT: It works really beautifully, and that piece is one of my favorite pieces in the play. And to hear some of that language layered was really nice.
TN: No. I don't know about you, but I find that if I have quite a long time to prepare for a role, 50 percent of that time is spent freaking out, losing weight, and just in angst. So having two days to gather my things, it meant that I had to wing it, and I had to use my instinct more than anything else, which is ultimately what you need to use anyway, you know. The
accent was a bit scary, not having much time to prepare, but here I was working with these amazing women and I had been selected to be working alongside them and it's one of those situations where ... well, I was there for a reason and I'm there because I'm worth it, so that does build confidence, hugely.
TT: It was really inspiring to watch someone who was so available to learning.
TN: Absolutely, there was no sense of controlling or superiority, or that it was a "Tyler Perry" movie.
TT: And to watch someone with an undertaking that is daunting to them, and they're honest: "I'm intimidated, this is intimidating. Wow." But so pleased to be there and working so hard.
TN: And as a result, "collaborative" is even an understatement; we would very often make the
suggestions that would end up becoming the scenes. Like when I came in that morning, the one
Tessa just mentioned, and said "look, I think it would be really great to try and speak these poems simultaneously, let's see how that goes." Straight away he wants to try it, and this wasn't a movie where we had time to mess around and experiment -- it was very often one take and then we move on. So he trusted us, and he was right to, because this is a bunch of people who really cared about the material and who came with their A-game.
TN: I didn't find the scenes particularly challenging, because working with Tessa was one of those magical times as an actor where someone's performance opposite is so good and fresh and exciting that it just elevated what I was doing, [To Tessa] and I am deeply grateful to you for that. And I've been acting in movies for a long time, and to still have that incredible, exhilarating adrenaline as a result
of working with somebody is amazing, so the challenge was a really exciting one. It was more of a pleasure than a challenge, particularly. And I don't have a sister, so it was cool kind of trying to imagine what that must be like. It was great, so it was the closest I've ever really come to having one, in our movie. Which is
TT: I think for me the only challenging thing was, [To Thandie] d'you remember that one day when we were shooting that scene and Tyler was adamant that I should get more upset with you?
TN: Yeah, that was tricky.
TT: That was hard for me because, I don't know, I just felt from jump a warmth with you and sort of a protective feeling. I felt like with sisters in general there's such a tremendous amount of love and even when you're angry with them, forgiveness, this unconditional thing, and even when you're angry with them--
TN: When you're a younger sister you just want to be loved and accepted.
TT: Oh, you want to be loved so badly.
TN: Tell you what though, we watched the movie for the first time last night, Tess and I, and I thought that scene rocked. I loved what you did in it.
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