Interview: Tasha Smith
Itâ€™s going to celebrate fatherhood, and make fathers out there want to be fathers, want to fight for their children, want to take care of their children, and want to be in their childrenâ€™s lives. Thatâ€™s a story that I just feel we need to hear and that we need to see. Itâ€™s so beautiful, because Iâ€™ve never seen it, especially in an African-American story.
Tasha Smith was born one of identical twins on February 28, 1971 in Camden, New Jersey where they were raised by their single-mom, along with a younger sister. She and her clone, Sidra, got an early start in show business, both modeling and performing in community theater.
At the age of 18, the statuesque beauty moved to L.A. where she supported herself by taking assorted odd jobs while trying her hand at stand-up comedy. She made her big screen debut, along with Sidra, in 1994 in Twin Sitters, following that up with supporting roles in such movies as Playas Ball, The Whole Ten Yards, ATL, and You, Me and Dupree.
A versatile talent, Tasha handled guest TV appearances on everything from Nip/Tuck to Girlfriends to Chicago Hope to Americaâ€™s Next Top Model to The Steve Harvey Show to Girlfriends to The Tyra Banks Show to Boston Common to The Corner, an HBO mini-series. With Tyler Perryâ€™s Daddyâ€™s Little Girls, she has landed what is likely to prove to be her breakout role as Jennifer, a vindictive woman caught up in a custody battle with her ex-husband over their three daughters.
Away from the set, Tasha is committed to devoting some of her time as a motivational speaker for kids from disadvantaged communities. In addition, she enjoys cooking, rollerblading, working out and travel.
BSN: Tell me a little about your character.
TS: I play Jennifer. Jennifer is what I call the devil of the script. Anytime thereâ€™s a God, there has to be a devil. And anytime thereâ€™s good, there has to be evil. And the evil sometimes is the best! [Laughs] Jennifer is a mom seeking revenge and power, the control that she feels she may have lost. And Monty [the character played by co-star Idris Elba] is going to have to suffer as bad as she can make him suffer. So, I had a lot of fun playing Jennifer. I hope that people hate her, literally. [Laughs again] If they do, then Iâ€™ve accomplished my job.
BSN: How would you describe Jennifer and Montyâ€™s relationship?
TS: My character loves him, was in love with him. It was just one of those deep-down soulish loves that didnâ€™t work out. And because of whatever reasons it didnâ€™t work out, resentment, anger and bitterness developed, out of hurt. Itâ€™s like, â€˜If I canâ€™t have you, and if you canâ€™t be happy in my life, Iâ€™m going to make your life hell.â€™ And I think that she still wants Monty, if she could have him, yeah. But itâ€™s not going to happen, so therefore, she has to go far to the left, baby.
BSN: How was it working opposite Idris?
TS: Mr. Idris Elba is amazing! He happens to be British, but whatâ€™s funny about him is that when heâ€™s speaking in his American dialect, he looks like heâ€™s a brother from the â€˜hood. But as soon as he brings out that English thing, Iâ€™m like, â€˜Woo! You look like youâ€™re from London. Oh my God!â€™ Itâ€™s like everything on him changes. Heâ€™s so cool! Heâ€™s the coolest. Heâ€™s so supportive. Heâ€™s so present. Heâ€™s just a professional actor. And on top of that heâ€™s funny too. Heâ€™s a good guy to hang around. Heâ€™s just so unselfish. I loved working with Idris. I hope to work with him again, too, because heâ€™s so amazing.
BSN: How about the actress playing your other adversary in the movie, Gabrielle Union?
TS: Number one, Gabrielle is so funny. She is like a goofball. She has such a great personality and brings such great energy to the set.
BSN: How was it being directed by Tyler Perry?
TS: Heâ€™s just so giving. He gives you an opportunity to create. You can ask, â€˜Tyler, are there any notes?â€™ and heâ€™ll say, â€˜Yeah, hit your mark.â€™ [laughs] Hit your mark. â€˜Okay, well I guess that must mean Iâ€™m doing something good.â€™ He just gives you freedom to be loose. He gives you room. And to me, thatâ€™s kindaâ€™ cool when the director trusts the actorsâ€™ instincts and gives them room to do what they do.
BSN: What would you say is the message of this movie.
TS: I feel like this story is going to celebrate fatherhood, I really do. I feel like this is something that we need. We need to see a good father, a father thatâ€™s willing to fight for his children, and whoâ€™s willing to do whatever he has to do to make it happen. You know how you usually see the mother always trying to get the children, and the mother being the good guy? Well, in this movie, the father is the good guy. And I feel like itâ€™s going to celebrate fatherhood, and make fathers out there want to be fathers, want to fight for their children, want to take care of their children, and want to be in their childrenâ€™s lives. Thatâ€™s a story that I just feel we need to hear and that we need to see. Itâ€™s so beautiful, because Iâ€™ve never seen it, especially in an African-American story.
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