Oscar-nominated actress Angela Bassett is back on the big screen in the political thriller London Has Fallen. In it, she reprises her Olympus Has Fallen character Lynne Jacobs, the no-nonsense head of the Secret Service.
Bassett opened up about her role in London Has Fallen during an interview with theGrio.com, and later weighed in on the Oscars diversity discussion and revealed who she is endorsing for president.
“As I look at the candidates before us, It would be Hillary. I’m supporting her,” Bassett said. “As a candidate, she’s qualified for this moment in history… for this opportunity. I think she can be trusted.”
Checkout theGrio’s full interview with Angela Bassett below:
theGrio.com: You’re playing Lynne Jacobs again in London Has Fallen. How has this role changed since you first played her in Olympus Has Fallen?
Bassett: She’s head of the Secret Service. So we still see her in the position that we can to know her for in Olympus Has Fallen. Her relationship with Mike is continued and has deepened. She’s been a steady influence in his life and for him. I don’t think there are many people that he opens up and trusts. He’s that guy that can be stone cold killer but he’s also that guy thats in your corner and that will honor the bond he has with you.
A lot of folks know you as a leading lady of drama. How do you go about approaching an action role? Is there any part of your process that changes?
As an actor, I don’t find myself in these type of movies every other year. It’s a real thrill ride to be in this type of a movie with phenomenal actors. So it’s just not blow up blow up. That type of movie doesn’t appeal to me. I want to feel something too. I want to feel for the characters … the relationships. That’s what I try to bring to Lynn.
With this one, I appreciate the deepening of the relationship between her and Mike and Mike and the president. Where I can find emotion, that’s my go-to switch. I like to bring that. You have to maintain this poise and hold yourself in a particular way when you are in these positions, but at the same time, you have to be human.
Lynne Jacobs is the steely, strict and tough director of the Secret Service. Did you get a chance to observe any members of the Secret Service firsthand while preparing for this role?
I didn’t personally while filming London Has Fallen. Not in the field. We did in Olympus Has Fallen have retired Secret Service on the set in a consultant capacity. They could tell you stories, but I really didn’t want to hear the stories, because I’m a scaredy cat.
You make history on-screen in this film as the first black women to head up the Secret Service. Do you think there will be a black woman to head up the Secret Service in real life anytime soon?
The first woman was put in that position after Olympus Has Fallen. I just thank Antoine Fuqua for having that vision. We have wanted to work together for a very long time. It ended up being the first. It was a look that had never been real or imagined.
I was reading about your career on Biography.com, and the writer of the biography said, “Bassett had to work hard to break through the stereotypical roles usually assigned to African-American women on screen.” Do you personally feel as though you have broken through?”
I just think the way people respond and have responded to the characters or to the work… I feel my community feels a scene of pride, and they believe me and they know me. Some of the characters that I have played have been real heroines that are beloved, whether it’s Coretta Scott King, Tina Turner, Katherine Jackson, entertainers, political figures… I just find the grace, humanity, strength and passion in all of these women. They just remind us of our best self, of our mothers, grandmothers, our sisters, and who we are on our best days. I approach these roles and every role with a determination to be as human, vulnerable, strong and steadfast as I can.
I think all of that has come through.
A lot of folks to this day feel like you were snubbed by not winning an Academy Award in 1994. What makes now, 2016, any different from the lack of credit black actresses were getting 20 years ago in the mid 90’s?
As long as I’ve been in Hollywood, I would be like, ‘Oh lord here comes February.’ It was always, ‘how have things changed for black people in Hollywood?’ It was like I had to make you well with how things are going and not be as truthful about the lack of opportunities. Finally, there’s some real, some sort of real dialogue and ownership that can take place. If I could make my own roles, I would have so many opportunities. I would never stop working. I would be some of the greatest characters you have ever seen.
It goes back to who’s green-lighting the projects. Who’s directing the projects? Of course, some things are inspired by life. Then we have Joseph Fiennes playing Michael Jackson. That’s how deep and cold it can be in this business.
I’m glad that it feels that we are having more in-your-face conversation this year about the lack of diversity. As difficult as it can be for African-American women, I’ve always seen how more so it can be for my Latina sisters or my best friend who’s Asian and an actor. In that way, I’ve counted my blessings too.
Thankfully, there’s a million channels on TV, so there is more opportunity.
Do you feel as though this proposed Oscar’s boycott will be effective?
The Oscars I think is different than the movie that goes into production on Monday. I don’t think those two are connected. Can you legislate the heart? It’s the director, and the writer and casting… People cast what they are comfortable with, who they know and who they want to work with. That’s the thing about acting; it’s so subjective sometimes. We are still going to have to break through, I think. I don’t think that will mean next year you will see more people up for awards.
I see that you were at an event speaking for Hillary Clinton. Have you decided to endorse Hillary Clinton for president?
Yes, I have. As I look at the candidates before us, It would be Hillary. I’m supporting her. I’ve spent some time a couple of weeks ago in South Carolina going to some of the historically black colleges and some of the universities there and speaking to the students about the importance of voting and also just looking at the candidate and their work.
[Hillary] has history and presence in that state. The advocate that she’s been for black people for many, many years… for decades. Her first job out of law school working with Marian Wright Edelman and the Children’s Defense Fund. As a candidate, she’s qualified for this moment in history… for this opportunity. I think she can be trusted. Others seem like such a long shot or such a frightening concept.
London Has Fallen hits theaters nationwide March 4.