Jada Pinkett-Smith and Debra Messing have a unique yin and yang quality onscreen. Their chemistry in The Women, is inescapable. When SheKnows spent the day with the cast, imagine our thrill when Pinkett-Smith and Messing were paired together.
An eloquent ensemble
SheKnows: First of all, such a pleasure to speak to the both you. I wanted to ask the two of you because you have anchored films and your own projects, how the process is different when you’re preparing for a movie when it’s an ensemble piece like The Women? If it even is different.
Debra Messing: I don’t think it is very different. For me, it’s responding to a script. If the script is spectacular as an ensemble, you just want to contribute and create that character. And being an important peg in the wheel to make the whole work.
SheKnows: Regardless of how many characters are in the story…
Jada Pinkett-Smith: Absolutely…
SheKnows: It’s the same mission every time. That’s interesting, I’ve always been curious. For you two, being part of this particular picture, I heard about the rehearsals and how much fun you had bonding. You all stayed at Diane’s house. For you as actresses, how much did that contribute to what we see onscreen?
Debra Messing: Huge.
Jada Pinkett-Smith: Absolutely, that time is a time when we can bond and get to know each other. We establish a foundation of being able to identify with one another as friends and trust each other.
Debra Messing: We spent hours and hours just talking about what it is to be a woman in 2008. What it is to be a mother and a friend. We’re very different women and we’ve had different experiences and different perspectives. It was fascinating. It was also, just in terms of going into shooting, I think it put us all on the same page in terms the world of the movie, totally understanding, what are we making? It was fantastic.
SheKnows: Did it ever feel like you were working on a project that was 14 years in the making?
Debra Messing: I don’t know what that would feel like.
SheKnows: There was a feel of a longstanding effort to get it done. It just feels so fresh. It doesn’t seem like that at all.
Jada Pinkett-Smith: Yeah, no, never once.
Debra Messing: I think it’s a testament to Diane’s writing. It’s a modern adaptation. She has made it fresh and relevant. We all knew how long it took. I think put a fire all of us one way or another knowing that this great writer-director, this great script, has been sitting. She’s been trying to get this made and people were saying, ‘It’s women. No.’ ‘It’s women. No.’ Well, now it’s like, OK, we’re here. We’re going to do it. Guess what?
Jada and Debra both laugh.
SheKnows: Was it inspiring in a sense to you, too, that she was so persistent and got it done?
Jada Pinkett-Smith: Oh, absolutely. That’s what it takes when you have a passion for anything. Diane, she was like ‘this movie will get done.’ Because that was her mission, it happened.
Debra Messing: She’s a role model.
Women of many lives
SheKnows: She is something else. When I was speaking to Eva (Mendes), she was saying how many of you were bonding about children and how she felt a little out of that.
Debra Messing: Ahh….
SheKnows: Other than that, she said it was such an experience. As a group, what was it like working with her — someone who’s not a mom — when you’re talking about women in 2008. Is it just another spoke in the wheel?
Jada Pinkett-Smith: Yeah, you know. For me, it was refreshing. Eva’s…she kind of has this free kind of attitude…
Debra Messing: Yeah…
Jada Pinkett-Smith: Just her perspective on things, it was refreshing.
Debra Messing: And also, I think it ties into the way Diane approached the film in terms of all of our characters. Each one of us has made a different choice, whether we’re going to be a mother or be a wife or be a career person. All of them are great choices.
The Debra Messing and Jada Pinkett-Smith interview
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