I love your work and admire all that you’veaccomplished, which always makes me wonder how your brain worksdifferently from the rest of ours.
You know what I think it is? I just may be a little bit moreinquisitive. For example, when someone tells me “No,” I ask “Why?” LikeI did with “House of Payne,” which will be going into syndication onthe 22nd of September. Originally, they told me that I had to shoot oneshow a week, because that’s how it’s done in Hollywood. But when Iquestioned that, nobody could tell me why. The same thing happened whenthey told me you could only shoot one movie per year. When I asked“Why?” nobody could give me an answer. So, I believe it’s theinquisitiveness, which breeds everything else that comes along with it.I just ask a lot of questions.
Do you see “The Family That Preys” as beingmore of a mainstream movie, or do you see it as appealing to yourregular demographic?
I think it’s definitely going to appeal to my same audience. But do youknow what I was doing? I was just telling a story. When I imagined thefirst two characters, I saw Alfre Woodard and Kathy Bates. And thenwhen I started developing their relationships, all these kids came outof it. So I didn’t set out to go mainstream with this film. That wasn’tmy intention. This is just me telling a story.
We recently passed the third anniversary ofHurricane Katrina. Have you had an opportunity to go back to yourhometown, New Orleans, lately to check on the progress of the recovery?
I have, and nothing’s changed. Nothing’s changed. The only thingdifferent is that people are being evicted from those FEMA trailers.
Is there any question that no one ever asks you that you wish someone would?
Yeah. “Can I pay for dinner?” Nobody ever asks me that.
Are you ever afraid?
Certainly, there are times when I feel fear, but I don’t live in it. Ithink as human beings we all feel fear, but I refuse to live in it. Soit doesn’t last very long.
Have you ever been disappointed?
Certainly, I’ve been disappointed a lot. But you take yourdisappointments and you learn from them. If you learn a lesson fromthem, then you’re OK, because as long as you’re human there will bedisappointments.
Are you happy?
Yeah, I can honestly say I’m truly, truly, dancing and living my life. And I think this film was my catharsis to getting there.
What was the last book you read?
I haven’t read a book in a very, very long time, because when I’mwriting I don’t like to see other people’s work. I don’t want to seesomething great and not be able to use it, and I don’t want to have anysubconscious influences. So it’s been an extremely long time. I thinkthe last book I read might have been Maya Angelou’s “Hallelujah!”
What are you listening to nowadays?
Everything from Lee Ann Womack to Jay-Z’s [“30 Something”]. Thirty’s the new 20.
Who are you supporting for president?
Barack [Obama]. Absolutely Barack!
How do you want to be remembered?
As a person who made people laugh, but inspired us all to be better.
What message do you want people to get from “The Family That Preys”?
That every day is a gift. Life is short, so live [every day] like it’s your last.
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