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Jumping the Broom – How Angela Bassett and Loretta Devine have remained friends

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Jumping The Broom - Angela Bassett, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Paula Patton, Laz Alonso, TD Jakes and Loretta Devine
Mrs Watson (Angela Bassett), Mr Watson (Brian Stokes Mitchell), Sabrina (Paula Patton), Jason (Laz Alonso), Reverend James (TD Jakes) and Pamela (Loretta Devine) © 2011 TriStar Pictures

Sixteen years ago, Angela Bassett and Loretta Devine starred as best friends in Waiting to Exhale. In their new movie, Jumping the Broom, they are on opposite sides of a great economic divide, headed for a head-on collision.

Corporate lawyer Sabrina Watson (Paula Patton) tells her rich mother Claudine (Bassett) that she is about to marry after a whirlwind romance with Jason Taylor (Laz Alonso). His mother Pam (Devine) is a down-to-earth, no-nonsense, postal worker, who believes Claudine thinks Sabrina is too good for her son.

Angela and Loretta did their roundtable together, and it was obvious that over the years they have remained friends.

I don’t think I’ve seen you two together since Waiting to Exhale. Were you excited at being reunited for this?

Jumping The Broom - Loretta Devine and Angela Bassett
Pamela (Loretta Devine) and Claudine (Angela Bassett) celebrate the marriage of their children © 2011 TriStar Pictures

Loretta: Oh, it was a lot of fun. We see each other all the time anyway at everything; benefits, auditions and everything but we were best friends in Waiting to Exhale and this was so opposite of that. But it’s easier to do that with someone you know.

Angela: And you trust and you know you can go there and they’re right there with you.

You are such enemies in the movie. Was it difficult?

Angela: I think it was all in the script and we have such a comfort with each other, knowing each other and working together that really I was just really thoughtful about not making it a stereotype, just making it really real. She’s a real woman with real concerns and real love and misunderstanding. She misunderstands and she is misunderstood.

Loretta, we were talking to Paula and Laz and he was saying you were a very method actor on set.

Jumping The Broom - Laz Alonso and Loretta Devine
Jason (Laz Alonso) talks to his mother Pamela (Loretta Devine) near the pool © 2011 TriStar Pictures

Loretta: I don’t know what Laz is talkin’ about. I must have been teasing him on set one day. I can’t imagine. I don’t think I’m a method actor. That’s not me at all.

Angela: No. You’re over there workin’ on your one woman show, writin’ poetry, gettin’ your music together.

Loretta: That’s right.

He did say you were like a mom to him.

Loretta: Oh, I think so. He was thinkin’ of my age probably but he did say that I reminded him of his mom and that his mom would approve of everything I was doing, so that was very important to him.

Jumping The Broom - Brian Stokes Mitchell and Angela Bassett
Mr Watson (Brian Stokes Mitchell) and Mrs Watson (Angela Bassett) rekindle their love as they walk to the reception tent © 2011 TriStar Pictures

Angela: He was raised by a single mother.

Loretta: A lot of the things that happened to him were the same as what the character is portrayed as.

Over the years is there a moment from a wedding that sticks with you?

Loretta: I’ve sung at a lot of weddings and I sung, at one girl’s wedding, Bridge Over Troubled Water and that has always stuck with me because that’s a funeral song but that’s the song she requested. Why would you sing Bridge Over Troubled Water at a wedding?

So, that’s a memory for me. Oh also, at Sheryl Lee Ralph’s wedding, I was one of the bridesmaids and one of the bridesmaids fainted and Sheryl Lee looked back like, ‘Are you gonna get up?’ (she laughs)

Jumping The Broom - Paula Patton and Angela Bassett
Sabrina (Paula Patton) and Mrs Watson (Angela Bassett) © 2011 TriStar Pictures

Angela: At Blair Underwood’s wedding, one of the guests at the wedding fell in the pool. We got him out in his suit and he was just soaked with an expression on his face of shock and embarrassment. We were way out at some estate.

It was very fairytale-ish because he’s half cowboy too so he came in on horses and she was in a big carriage. It was one of those fancy modern houses with a pool inside.

Your director, Salim Akil, was saying that this isn’t an ‘African American’ movie, it’s an ‘American’ movie because we all can relate to it.

Loretta: Well they better not call it For Colored Girls (she laughs) ‘cause nobody will come to see it.

What do you think that women of all colors will take from the movie?

Jumping The Broom - Tasha Smith and Loretta Devine
Shonda (Tasha Smith) hears Pamela (Loretta Devine) complain about the wedding plans © 2011 TriStar Pictures

Loretta: I think it’s going to make women proud to be mothers. And, if they are in families with secrets, they may think about sharing some things. But it’s such a beautiful movie. I think it’s gonna take people away. I think you really go to this place with this beautiful water and sky and you just want to get to this wedding.

Angela: I think it’s classy and surprising and it’s witty and charming and it’s accessible. It’s about family.

Angela, I’m excited to see your interpretation of Dr Amanda Walter in Green Lantern.

Angela: Well, I’m not 300 pounds. That’s how she’s drawn.

Do you see them developing her into sequels?

Angela: I hope they will develop her into sequels. She’s not heavily involved in the first movie but she’s that intellectual; bright, means business, gettin’ it done, in there in the trenches, nothing fazes her. It was pretty awesome.