- Category: Spotlight
- Created on 13 March 2017
- Written by Shernit Wiggins-Wynder
- Hits: 39
Denise Boutte (Meet the Browns, For the Love of Ruth) as Danielle Jones, Michael’s elegant, neglected wife.
She does the unthinkable and lands in the "dog-house"...or rather, in some hot water, too steamy to take the heat. In our interview with her, she shares how her corporate background prepared her for this film and that every journey in her life was leading her to this defining moment. This is what she had to say...
T2T: Denise, before you got into the entertainment circuit, you were quite the accomplished woman…you have a Mass Communications Degree and took the advertising world by storm as a respected Account Exec and Manager of a leading Dallas advertising agency. You had clients who are household names, like Pampers, Fossil, and Mary Kay Cosmetics, to name a few. You got your big break as “Trina” in Tyler Perry’s “Why Did I Get Married” with a character every married woman loves to hate. Then you went on to do shows like “Meet the Browns,” “For the Love of Ruth,” this year’s “The Bounce Back,” and “The Choir Director,” and now as Danielle Jones, in “MEDIA,” Brian's character, “Michael's wife.” How did your corporate background help to develop your character or inspire you to portray her? What would you say breathed life into Danielle?
DENISE: Well, I would say that so much of my business background is woven into my acting in a way that people may not imagine. I believe that people sometimes forget, that it is "show business" and you have to conduct it as such. There is a lot of energy portrayed in this character that resonates with me and who I was in Dallas, Texas. It has been inspiring surrounding myself with such strong females like Ms. Cathy, who I had the distinct pleasure of meeting for the first time this year, even though I studied her when I was looking for someone to model my career after. But, never in a million years, did I think that I would actually meet her in person and then have the privilege of breathing life into one of her characters. All of these characters possess unique traits that inspire her. One character’s role is actually taken from someone in her past. So, to be able to breathe life into Danielle, to bring my business savvy into her character...it's been honestly a surreal experience. To work with Ms. Penny, Brian, and Pooch has been a joy. I admire all of their work and to be a part of this "dynasty" of sort is uplifting. I admired the talent of Diahann Carroll, back in the day, even before I had aspirations of becoming an actress. I looked up to this woman. She had a savvy and classy way she carried herself on and off stage. Who knew, that years later, I'd be breathing life into a character that to me, is my version of the new age, Diahann Carroll. It's been such a phenomenal experience and like I said, "There are no mistakes in life." I think there is a lot of my past that I am able to put into this character. It was fun. I mean honestly, it was like getting a reunion together and just playing and sparring off of such amazing talent! So, it really didn't feel like work. It was truly an honor to do this character for Ms. Cathy and do a story that was near and dear to her. It was really a beautiful thing we had on the set. I have done other stuff before, but it was nothing like this synergy and it was more than what was on the pages for all of us.
There are no mistakes in life. There is a reason why my past is not translated into my present. There are so many avenues and places to explore in this film. So I am ready for more of a ride. I am ready to take this thing to the next level. All of these characters are so dynamic and can go into so many directions.
T2T: How did you enjoy working with this cast of such amazing talent? What are you taking away from this film?
DENISE: Like I said, before I even began to get into acting, I loved each of these people and their works. And to get to know them as people and beyond professionals, was just surreal. It was so much fun and synergy that—everybody wanted to make something great. We knew we were breaking the mold and we knew we were doing something different, and showing us in a light that has never been done before. Even days before, we were given the script and talking about our characters and what my take was, as opposed to say, Brian's take on it, what we wanted to bring into it, and how we wanted to breathe life into our characters. It was such an amazing creative experience for me. It was leverage that I had never experienced before. The creative process was really and truly fun, and Ms. Cathy was on set, every single day...and you know she would have never given her blessing had she seen us not doing our jobs. But she was also open to our creative takes on it. It was a creative process that I had never experienced before. There is a lot of technique in comedy and sometimes we don't have that same leverage to play. Because what you do, the next person plays off of it. But you really had to search and put a true level of yourself into your character. You can disagree with the character, but if you want them to be believable, there is a certain part of you that has to go into this character. Everybody's got something...everybody's got an edge, a portion of themselves that they can tap into. And for me, it was like an amazing freefall and creative process that I have never had in my career.
T2T: Why should the public watch this film?
DENISE: Family first. Each of the people you have spoken with have families. I come from very humble beginnings. I grew up on a farm in the backwoods of Louisiana. I don't compromise who I am. I very often remain true to who I am. Those values I had back then, are still the values that I have today. And this family, they don't compromise. You have to know who you are before you enter into this industry or any industry. As long as you stay true to who you are as an individual and who you are as a person you're invincible! I keep my village, very, very small, and very, very intimate. But, I also have people who will pull me to the side and tell me what I need to hear. We all have personal lives that we are bringing into this film to show that we have this in our culture and hopefully people will see that and become open and realize this is not a "Black show," this is a show for anyone. I am excited for people to see it.