All Articles Tagged "acting"
‘You Collect Your Unemployment And Then You Pray:’ Melissa De Sousa Talks Dry Spells And Being Rejected By Hollywood
Best Man Holiday actress Melissa De Sousa recently sat down with Rolling Out Magazine to discuss her rise to fame and the struggle that it took to get there. She also dishes on being rejected by Hollywood producers for being “too pretty.” Check out her interview highlights below.
On being by Hollywood rejected because of her look:
“Tons of rejection … [so] much I can’t even count. I mean most of the time [I get] more “nos” than “yeses.” I never really had anyone say anything real horrible to me. I had to prove myself. I remember when I auditioned for Hustle & Flow, which is the one [movie] Terrence got his nomination for. You know they thought I was “too pretty” and I wouldn’t be able to play a down-on-her luck stripper. But I begged them to see me. You know I went in and did my thing. I ended up screen-testing. The person who got it was Paula Jai Parker. I think Regina Hall also screen-tested. All of us ultimately screen-tested. You know I had to fight for them to even look at me in that way, because they thought I was too nice and would not be able to get gritty and dirty. You have to prove yourself because people always want to put you in a box. I am just the one not to do that to.”
On her rocky start in acting:
“It’s not always easy to get in the “door.” You know when I first came to Los Angeles, I slept on my girlfriend’s floor for a year. I got my first agent and I sent my pictures out to everybody and since I had no experience and I had nothing on tape or even seen, some of the [agencies] sent my pictures back to me [laughs]. So one agency would see you in person and they want you to come in and audition in their room and once again I had to prove myself in person. You have to have an attitude that nothing’s gonna stop me. I think that’s just my New York kind of attitude — survival of the fittest. That’s why I love that song [Empire State of Mind] so much because that’s how it is when people go off to New York.”
On stints of unemployment:
“Then there were times I didn’t work for maybe two or three years. There was a time I didn’t have an agent for one reason or another. When the agent dropped me I was like ‘OK, maybe I am not in the business anymore.’ God-willing you can collect unemployment from the residuals from other things you have done in the past. You collect your unemployment and then you pray. You still go out and do your hustle. I always would save money because you never know when that dry spell is gonna hit — and it did. Just go and keep auditioning and keep trying and keep believing things will turn around and it always does.”
Mary J. Blige has a role in the new Christmas movie “Black Nativity,” which comes out today …and we really want to be excited about it. But Lord, it’s hard. We love Mary J. Blige. And we really want to love her acting. But she’s been struggling with scripts for so long that we’re losing the faith.
Tia Mowry-Hardrict goes from party girl to full-time stepmom in one weekend on her new Nick at Nite sitcom Instant Mom. The show follows her character Stephanie as she tries to juggle her older husband (played by actor Michael Boatman), her bossy step kids, and demanding mother (played by Sheryl Lee Ralph). Mowry-Hardrict spoke to ESSENCE.com about every new mom’s desire to please, getting back on a sitcom, and unleashing her crazy side in the new romantic comedy, Baggage Claim.
On her character Stephanie on Instant Mom:
I think Stephanie, like every mom, is trying to find a balance. This is new to her, so first of all she feels as though she has to impress the kids because she’s not their real mom so she’s trying to win them over by trying to be their friend. But we all know at the end of the day you can’t just be friends with your kids, because you give them an inch they take a mile. So it’s trial and error with her. We’re not perfect. Being a mother and a parent does not come with a handbook.
On Turning 35:
I feel like there’s so much more to accomplish. I have admitted that I’m a workaholic. I love what I do. I love being able to escape from reality and be able to dive into a character and perfect that character and become that character. For some reason it’s all I know so it’s what I live and breathe for but there’s so much more that I want to do. I want to continue to do film.
You can check out the rest of the interview on ESSENCE.com. Tia talks more about Instant Mom, what it’s like to do a comedy again after so many years and how she celebrated her birthday.
My daughter Dia is turning 14 in a few weeks so I asked her what she wanted to do for her birthday. Her reply? “I want to see Brandy.” I said, ‘She lives down the street, we could go by her house right now.’ Her reply: ‘No, I’m not ready, I’m not in a cute outfit!’ As she continued to talk about Brandy, I started to sing “Mo-to-the-E to the: Moesha! Dia’s eyes got big as saucers and she yelled, ‘Wait, Brandy is Moesha?!’ This became a teaching moment.
The woman I call my friend is actually an icon. I think I missed it too because she doesn’t act like one. Down to earth, funny and approachable and the best ways to describe her. I took the opportunity to educate my daughter on Brandy’s contribution to entertainment. I told her that she is so much more than Chardonnay on BET’s The Game. When I was growing up Brandy was TV star, reality star, a pop star, a Cover girl, Grammy winner, had her own Brandy doll, and was the first African American to play Disney princess Cinderella.
You can read the rest of Niecy’s dedication to Brandy over on ESSENCE.com. The relationship between Niecy Nash and Brandy is adorable; there is something so beautiful about true friendship. “They say” that it is hard to maintain friendships in Hollywood, but clearly these two are doing a great job.
On Oprah’s “Next Chapter” special on Black Actresses in Hollywood, Viola Davis said it best when she shared, “We’re in crisis mode as black actresses.” Beautiful, black and talented actresses play our favorite characters on the big screen, with the ability to make us laugh, cry or high-five our sisters in solidarity (think Angela Bassett torching her cheating husband’s things on Waiting To Exhale). Unfortunately, despite the success, fame, and riches, black actresses still face a shortage of opportunities and limited types of roles in Hollywood. If you factor in the competitive nature of this career, it’s amazing we can even say there are thriving black actresses in Hollywood. But when it comes to these women that’s the case. And what’s even more remarkable about these ladies is that they’ve been excelling in the industry for decades. Check out the list.
“I couldn’t walk away from it, it really wouldn’t rest. I’d watch TV and I saw people doing plays and I thought, ‘Wow why does this affect me so much?’ I had to go back to it,” said Tiffany E. Green, an up-and-coming actress and businesswoman.
Green’s proudest claim to fame is her appearance in the 2012 romantic-comedy drama Silver Linings Playbook. The role of Tanya (Chris Tucker’s girlfriend) turned out to be non-speaking. Still, Green is proud to have nabbed a role in a major film —especially since she recently recommitted to making it as an actress.
“You never know what’s going to make it when they go into the editing room. I felt good seeing myself in the film. I felt good when it went off and the credits came up — and also because it’s an Oscar-nominated film,” Green told MadameNoire via phone. “It was the first time I was on the set of a feature film with this caliber of actors. I was excited and after a while I felt like that’s where I needed to be. It wasn’t a major role, but at the time I had only been doing this for a year and it gave me confidence.”
It’s been more than ten years since Green decided that she wanted to be an actress. In 1999, she began taking classes and getting involved with community theater productions. When things in the performance arena didn’t pick up as planned, she opted to pursue an alternative passion. Green swapped out community theater for community college where she studied fashion merchandising.
Making It Behind-the-Scenes
“Through acting I realized I was into styling and wardrobe,” said Green. Though her goal was to appear on the big screen, she began working behind-the-scenes on independent films. Green then began making her own clothing and started networking with stylists in other areas of entertainment.
Lending her fashion expertise and pieces, Green landed jobs styling MTV and BET commercials in addition to BET’s annual fashion special Rip the Runway. Green also contributed to styling entertainers like Vivica A. Fox, Alicia Keys and Keyshia Cole.
“Once you build relationships with different stylists, they use your garments, then other people hear about it. It picked up so fast and suddenly I wasn’t able to pursue acting,” she said. “When I was doing it I lost the love for fashion, because there was something else that I really wanted to do — and that was acting.”
Green’s stint in fashion and entertainment lasted for about six years. When she moved back to her hometown of Philadelphia, Green decided to seriously go after an acting career. She again focused on attending workshops and acting seminars to strengthen her craft.
Getting Back Into Acting
“This is a tough business, it’s very competitive. There’s a lot of rejection and you’re constantly faced with tough decisions. It’s definitely not an easy career to follow,” said Green who’s thankful that the industry’s definition of talent carries flexibility.
“It’s not always based on how great you are. You just have to have the tools to understand why some make it and why some don’t. You just have to stay focused. I’m in Philadelphia, closer to New York so the tone is a little bit different. Hollywood is a whole different ball game,” she added.
Luckily, shortly after making a visit to a local casting agency, she was offered a part in Silver Linings Playbook. The movie happened to be filming in Philadelphia.
“You never know when opportunity awaits and you have to be prepared. There’s a saying, ‘If you stay ready, you never have to get ready’ — and I live by that,” said Green.
Well, this is actually a bit of a surprise.
As she continues to make her mark in Hollywood, Nene Leakes has hit a bit of a stumbling block: NBC has decided to cancel The New Normal after just once season. Nene has been part of the cast from the beginning.
This does come as a bit of a shock because not only had it received critical and fan acclaim, it wasn’t doing horribly in terms of ratings. The Huffington Post reports that while ratings did consistently drop, they maintained about 3.39 million viewers. Yes, it debuted to more than six million viewers but new shows almost always hit highs and lows.
Leakes played Rocky Rhoades, a former production assistant of one of the main characters, as well as all her family members when they popped up on the show.
While she is most likely very disappointed, Nene kept it very professional by tweeting:
That’s right Nene, say all the right things because we know she’s a hustler and her next opportunity might be right around the corner.
For now, she still has her recurring role as “Coach Roz” on Fox’s Glee which has been renewed for another two seasons. We don’ t know if her character will be around that long but she can ride it until the wheels fall off. Plus, we know she isn’t going anywhere as HWIC (Head Wife In Charge) on Real Housewives of Atlanta.
Good luck to Nene and the entire cast as they make their next moves!
It looks one of our favorite singers turned actress is going to be very busy in 2013.
Jill Scott, aka Jilly from Philly, is set to c-star in the CBS pilot Second Sight, According to EURweb. The show will likely premiere in the fall.
Second Sight will center around Detective Ross Tanner (played by Jason Lee) who tries to hide the fact that he has an ocular disease that causes him to have hallucinations. But when he tries to catch a serial killer, he realizes that it’ll take his eyesight just as much as his experience as a cop to find him.
Scott will play Dr. Callier, the specialist who treats his disease.
Second Sight will also star Derek Luke, cast as Det. Paul Giroux, an overeager cop who is part of Tanner’s team. He may or may not know about Tanner’s disease but either way, he wants his job.
Jill Scott is going to be pretty busy this year. In addition to this latest announcement, she’s also in the upcoming film Baggage Claim and she’ll be a performer at the 2013 Essence Festival. Want more? Jill also casually mentioned on Twitter that she’ll be releasing two albums this year. Whew!
As for the Second Sight, CBS isn’t known for keeping an audience’s attention, especially black viewers, so we’ll see how this goes!
Does this sound like something you’d watch?
Goodbye Idris Elba, hello DJ Driis.
That’s right, Idris Elba is officially taking a break from Hollywood. The Luther actor told The Daily Mirror, a UK newspaper, that he’s taking a break from acting to focus on his other baby: music. According to Black America Web, he told them:
“This year I’m not going to work as an actor so I can concentrate on music. I do it from the heart, not for the money.”
Well great, good for him. But what about those who love to see him on the big and small screens? One one hand, you’ve got to respect that the man is going to use his fame and opportunities to do things that are important to him. But on the other hand, we like his look- excuse me, his acting.
If you’re not familiar with “DJ Driis,” you might avtually be in for a treat. He’s compiled mixtapes in the past, hosts others’ mixtapes and he, obviously, deejays. Right now, he’s in London doing a seven week residency at one of their popular clubs. He also directed Mumford & Sons’ “Love of the Light” video. Elba also made his own musical debut in his own video for “Private Garden” back in 2011.
So yes, his track record in the music industry has been pretty good and steady so we’ll see what he does next.
But don’t worry, according to IMDB, we might get to see him on the screen after-all: he has three movies in post-production that should hit the screen. So maybe he’s just not filming anything new – we can accept that. Maybe once he’s ready to get back to work, that James Bond role will be waiting for him.
Are you going to be checking for DJ Driis?
Showtime’s hit series House of Lies has earned much attention since it debuted in 2012. Now in its second season, the clever comedy about an over-the-top consultant, played by Best Comedy Actor Golden Globe winner Don Cheadle, continues to up the ante with guest stars. Nia Long is among the selected actors to appear on the series this season and we hear her upcoming episode may raise some eyebrows.
Nia talks about her character, Tamara:
“The very first time you meet her, she talks about how she’s been out of the game raising children. She’s a wife. And coming back into the game she wants to have some sort of integrity for herself. When you look at the characters on House of Lies, they are all very twisted. They are not what they seem. They’re back stabbing. They’re just ugly people, not nice people. They go for theirs. I think Tamara’s approach to things isn’t that way. She has a different way of getting what she wants.”
On what it’s like working with Don Cheadle:
AH-MAZ-ING! He is probably my new favorite person right now. At first I was so intimidated and nervous and I never get that way. I don’t know what it was about him. I don’t know what it was that made me feel that way. I think it was me coming on to a show that’s already established. I’ve seen almost everything he’s done. I’ve always wanted to work with him. I really like him because he stays under the radar and does great work. He doesn’t care about the fanfare or the fame.
Don’t you just love her? It’ll be great to see her back to work. You can read the full interview on Essence.
Do you watch House of Lies?