The role that Angela Bassett plays in Olympus Has Fallen was originally written for a man.
And what I find amazing is that the film’s director Antoine Fuqua simply wanted a very strong actor to fill the role.
I find this interesting because I’ve heard of people swapping races for the right actor. But until now, I see that there are chances that if you are as talented as Ms. Bassett you may be able to secure opportunities that transcend gender.
On Monday morning in Beverly Hills, Shadow and Act caught up with Angela to discuss her role in Olympus Has Fallen, her experience working with Antoine Fuqua, and her fond memories of attending the National Black Theater festival in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
Shadow and Act: Can you tell us about your role in Olympus Has Fallen?
AB: I play Secret Service Director Lynn Jacobs. In the film you will also see that I am a big supporter and advocate of Mike Banning played by Gerard Butler.
Shadow and Act: How did you prepare for the role? It’s a strong character, but how did you specifically prepare for the role?
AB: Well, I’m used to playing strong characters (laughs). Antoine guided me on what he desired for the project, and we were fortunate to have some great technical advisors on the project.
Shadow and Act: Speaking of Antoine, how was it working with him?
AB: He was amazingly prepared. He is very meticulous. He sets a very a very cool, organized, calm vibe on the set. He is very collaborative. He invites your input for the screen. It was an amazing experience. He knows exactly what he wants. When you work with him, you know that your ship will go in the right direction. With Antoine you know that you will make your destination without a doubt.
Shadow and Act: This project is filled with A List actors. It’s an amazing line up. I’m curious, how was your casting process?
AB: My role was originally written as a male. When he casted the project he said that he wanted the strongest person to inhabit the role. And when he thought of it, he thought of me.
Shadow and Act: Can you tell us about your most memorable moment on set?
AB: felt that there were many different worlds to this project. So what was memorable about shooting this project was that the set was like this different world.
SA: Where was the film shot?
AB: It was shot in Shreveport, Louisiana. The set designer built a full replica of the white house, and Camp David and more. I believe that Antoine should take a lot of credibility for having the team create a set look like the real thing.
SA: What are some pros of working on a big budget set such as this film?
AB: Craft services are the best part on large films (laughter). I feel that on large productions you don’t feel as rushed. It takes a lot of time and people to just get to the words ‘action’ on large projects.
Shadow and Act: What are your upcoming projects?
AB: Black Nativity will be out later this year, with Forest Whitaker, and Jennifer Hudson. It’s directed by Kasi Lemmons. It’s a musical. So you will get to see me singing and dancing.
Shadow and Act: Will you be attending the National Black Theater Festival this year?
AB: In North Carolina? I hadn’t planned to. When is it?
Shadow and Act: In August. I’m from NC, and a friend asked me to ask you that question.
AB: My Dad was from Winston. I love that festival, and it’s been a while since I have been there. I used to go every year with my aunt and uncle that lived there. But they have since passed away. I love that festival. I love going there and running around and checking out all of my colleagues working in and on productions.
Olympus Has Fallen will be in theaters on March 22nd. For more information go to http://olympusmovie.com