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Angela Bassett: Don’t call her a diva

Angela Bassett discusses her new family comedy, ‘Jumping the Broom,’ as well as ‘Green Lantern’ and plans for a ‘Waiting to Exhale’ sequel.

There are a lot of words that could describe Angela Bassett’s character in “Jumping the Broom,” a family comedy about two worlds colliding during an elaborate wedding on Martha’s Vineyard. Bassett plays the mother of the bride, a well-heeled, impeccably styled woman of means. Just don’t call her a diva. “She’s born into money, well-bred, she has a standard,” Bassett says. “Someone else might call her a diva, but I don’t think she characterizes herself as that.”

One of the draws of “Jumping the Broom” for Bassett was the chance to show a part of the African-American experience not often portrayed on film. “My kids’ godparents, they and their family have been to Martha’s Vineyard at least one week every summer for the past 18 years,” she says. “There’s a rich history of African-Americans in Martha’s Vineyard, working there and living there.” (The Martha’s Vineyard in the film is actually Nova Scotia.)

Bassett doesn’t downplay another reason she signed onto “Jumping the Broom” — the chance to go head to head with Loretta Devine, a longtime friend she shared the screen with 16 years ago in “Waiting to Exhale.” “I know what she’s going to bring to the table,” Bassett says of Devine with a smile. “I know it’s going to be delicious, what she brings to the table.”

And the two might be re-teaming again sooner rather than later, as talk of a “Waiting to Exhale” sequel has gone beyond just talk, according to the actress. “It’s not in the beginning stages. Probably near the middle, in that there is a script, they’re very happy with it, and there needs to be a little bit more tweaking of it. You know, little things,” Bassett explains. “Forest [Whitaker] is on board to direct it, and it could go ... I’d say within a year. And that’s about all I can tell you. We haven’t read the script because they’re getting it together. I mean, we could read it now but there are going to be changes. So we’ll read it in six weeks.”

On going ‘Green’ this summer

She might not even get to that “Waiting to Exhale” script before her next big film, “Green Lantern,” comes out in June. “It’s exciting being able to show up in different kinds of movies,” she says of jumping genres. “I play one of the characters that comic-book aficionados know, Dr. Amanda Waller. It’s one of those big tent-pole franchises — hopefully.”

The experiences of making “Green Lantern” and “Jumping the Broom” really couldn’t have been more different, Bassett says, thanks to all of the computer effects in the action movie. “You do what you do humanly, but there’s a lot of other stuff that they do elsewhere — CGI or with your stunt double,” she explains. “When you fall and almost die, it’s like, ‘OK, bye! I’ll see it on the screen.’”

 
 
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