Meet our favourite (and most probably yours too) cast of Baggage Claim - Jill Scott
Jill Scott is an accomplished poet, musician and actress. Her debut album, ‘Who is Jill Scott? Words and Sounds vol. 1’ was released in 2000. Aretha Franklin handpicked her to perform on VH1 Divas live: The One and Only Aretha Franklin (2001). She was then the 2001 recipient of the Aretha Franklin Award as ‘Entertainer of the Year’ at the Lady of Soul Awards.
Her films include WHY DID I GET MARRIED? and WHY DID I GET MARRIED TOO? In 2008, Scott starred as Precious Ramotswe in Anthony Minghella's filmed adaption (for television) of author, Alexander McCall Smith's series of books THE NO. 1 LADIES' DETECTIVE AGENCY. She is currently single and has a four-year-old son. She will appear in the upcoming comedy FADING GIGOLO, alongside Sharon Stone and Woody Allen.
Stunning in a black Cynthia Steffe dress, her hair piled high in a dramatic braided bun (‘my hair art’) the multi-award winning and incredibly talented Jill Scott sat down in Los Angeles for the following interview.
What inspired you to take on this hilarious role?
“I read the script and loved it. I heard about the cast, Paula Patton, Derek Luke, Boris Kodjoe, and Djimon Hounsou, and got really excited. My character, Gail, just seemed like the most fun.”
Tell us more about Gail. Who is she?
“She is very spicy and definitive. She knows that she doesn’t want to be in love. She knows that she’s not looking for a relationship, so she feels like Montana is kooky, but Gail’s a good friend; she supports Montana, and I like that about her. The role seemed like a lot of fun. Typically, I’ve played characters that wear fat suits; I’ve played characters that have a lot of emotional baggage or stress, and Gail is very carefree. She’s a little loose, and I wanted to have fun.”
Do you have the same confidence as she does?
“Of course not. When I read the script, David and I came up with a lot of different ideas for what she was going to look like, but the first was: ‘lots of cleavage.’ I like her confidence, but it’s hard for me to watch myself in the role. It’ll take me another two times to know if I really liked myself or not. As a girl, you don’t know what you have until it’s over. (laughs) Everyone was flawless as teenagers, but we had no idea how gorgeous we were because we never had to work for it. Before, you could eat Doritos and drink soda all day long and never gain a pound and just look fantastic in whatever it is that you wanted to wear. Now, as adults, we have to work for it. I just wish I knew then what I know now.”
Do you think the film has a good message for girls?
“I think so. Often times, it seems that people are looking for just anybody in a relationship, so they’re not lonely. And that’s the problem. We’re looking for someone to fill a void, but you really don’t want just any old body to do it. You want the one. But often women want to hurry up and get married to anybody, because of society or family pressures or an imaginary ticking biological clock. That gets old quickly, because you find that he or she is not your mate. It’s just somebody to spend some time with, and I’m guilty of doing that myself. In past relationships I have woken up the next day, or even ten months later, and thought, ‘what the hell are you doing?’ Getting married is not the trick; staying married is all the work and the big grand prize.”
What’s the craziest gesture you have done in the name of love?
“I caught a six hour flight, impromptu, to go and apologize. I had no clothes, just my handbag with me, so it was a big thing. He said he accepted my apology, but he really didn’t. Yet, I would definitely give myself an A for effort. That was major. I’m busy.”
Do you think men and women can be platonic friends?
“It’s a tough one, because you can go either way with that. I married my best friend, and I’m a divorcée now. We were the best of friends for two years, before we ever kissed. Twelve years later, we were divorced. I still really like him, actually, and we talk often. But that’s not my husband. That’s my friend.”
Do you believe you have to love yourself first, before someone else can love you?
“Well, I’m single, so I have to go on a break for a while to readjust and check myself. I need to see what I did and who I chose. Eventually somebody will peak my interest. It takes patience.”
Was it interesting moving from drama to comedy in BAGGAGE CLAIM?
“Most of my friends think I’m funny. We laugh a lot; we have a very good time together. It’s just something new to do and I need to be a Renaissance woman as much as possible. The more I can do, the more I will do. I had a lot of fun. We were really able to fly free. Adam Brody is awesome. He’s quick-witted, super silly and ridiculously intelligent. He would throw and I would catch; it was a great game to play. Both of us would literally have to lie down and take a break.”
Growing up, were you a natural performer?
“I was a singer, but I kept my singing to myself. I would be in my room with a towel tucked under the door. I didn’t want anyone to know about my singing, because I loved it so much. I didn’t want anyone to say anything negative, especially as a teenager because if they did, there would have been the real possibility that I might not actually have pursued the thing that I loved to do so much.”
At what moment did you realize you could go public with your talent?
“I didn’t realize anything. I just couldn’t help it; it just happened. I was at a poetry reading in Philadelphia and I got up to read a poem. By this time, I was a poet who people were coming to see. Instead of reading the poem I had written, I just sang a song. It shocked everybody, and it shocked me. But the reaction was so sincere and positive that I decided to keep it up. I thought: ‘it feels good; it feels really good.’”
Do you prefer acting, writing, or singing?
“That’s a tough one. Writing comes and goes and though some days nothing will happen, I love it. It’s slow gratification; the kind that will happen when you put out a book or you send your writing somewhere and someone likes it. Singing, on the other hand, is immediate gratification because I am in front of an audience. I can’t sing right now because I am congested, [she has a cold] so that’s out. Acting is another kind of hard work, and it’s another one that definitely does not involve immediate gratification. Some directors will say absolutely nothing to you; some will praise you; some will reprimand you. But I like all of it. I need all of it. It’s all hard work to me. None of it is easy, but I enjoy it. It soothes something in me.”
What’s your biggest achievement?
“My biggest achievement happened in 2007, but I still remember it like it was yesterday. It was being in my dressing room having a jam session with Prince and Stevie Wonder. That was the biggest moment of my life; it was incredible.”
You have achieved so much, any more goals?
“There’s a role that I’m thinking about and working for. We’ll see what happens. I’d like to work with [the British actor] Idris Elba. He frightens me a little, and I like that. I just need to get lost in something.
BAGGAGE CLAIM will open in the UK and Ireland on 11 October 2013, distributed by Fox Searchlight.