She’s had roles in several memorable movies that include “The Best Man Holiday,” “Girl’s Trip,” “Naked,” “When the Bough Break,” and “Barbershop 3,” and is one of Hollywood’s most sought after comedic actresses. With upcoming films that include George Tillman Jr.’s “The Hate U Give” alongside Common and Anthony Mackie, Trendy’s Samantha Ofole-Prince caught up with the actress to talk about her latest movie “Support the Girls” in which she plays Lisa, the general manager of a Hooters-like eatery called Double Whammies.
This is a movie about hard-working and deeply resilient women is that what drew you to this role?
From the moment I read it, I just resonated with Lisa. I had seen Andrew’s [director] work and I thought he wrote such a beautifully complex and yet simplistic script. He was able to find the humanity in this space that we take for granted or don’t necessarily even think about. I just loved the chord that he touched on with this group of of people, these women and girls. I thought Lisa was great: her need to help, her need to fix, her need to save, and her need to be needed. It just resonated on so many levels.
Double Whammies is a “family-friendly” sports bar, where the waitresses’ uniforms consist of low-cut crop tops, denim booty shorts, and a broad smile and with the #MeToo movement, it feels very timely for for this film to be coming out now, but you couldn’t have anticipated that issues around sexual harassment and abuse would be at the center of a national conversation when you started the project.
Right before we were submitting to festivals, all the Harvey Weinstein charges came out. We were worried it could be polarizing because of the setting. Would people be able to look beyond the surface to see these young girls and this place that still has integrity? The one scene where Lisa actually has to address a customer’s behavior, it wasn’t even about groping. It’s about what we now call body shaming. She doesn’t try to coddle him, or say, “well, maybe he didn’t mean it…” The disrespect was enough. Women, all of us, are standing up to say this is not okay. In a setting like Double Whammies, people take it for granted, but we have to create places of integrity wherever we have the opportunity to and then stand committed to them.
Lisa seems to be what keeps Double Whammies on an even keel. She is a manager, a den-mother, an enforcer, a host, etc
We carry so much of who we are with us into every place. Lisa’s identity is connected to being a manager there. It’s a sense of purpose and commitment. I talked to a couple of female managers. They are committed to their girls and have a sense of integrity about how things are run and how these young girls are treated. Lisa is very comfortable in that space. Her kids are grown, she’s probably taken care of children her entire life, and now she cares for these girls. I think there’s a self-care that’s missing. I think her commitment to Double Whammies is how she’s been able to avoid things in other areas of her life.
Directed by Andrew Bujalski, “Support the Girls” also stars Haley Lu Richardson, Shayna McHayle, James LeGros, Dylan Gelula, AJ Michalka, Brooklyn Decker, Jana Kramer and John Elvis and is playing in theaters.
Check out the trailer below
Samantha Ofole-Prince is an entertainment industry specialist and contributes to Trendy Africa Magazine from Los Angeles.