‘Here Today’ helped Tiffany Haddish understand her grandmother’s battle with dementia
The actress says the movie helped her see what people who are struggling with memory loss have to contend with
Tiffany Haddish is starring alongside Billy Crystal in his latest film, Here Today and theGrio caught up with the actress to find out why this role hit close to home.
The film follows veteran comedy writer Charlie Burnz (Crystal) who meets New York singer Emma Payge (Haddish), and forms an unlikely yet hilarious and touching friendship that kicks the generation gap aside and redefines the meaning of love and trust.
In it, we see Crystal’s character battling rare form of dementia and Haddish is there to help show him some much-needed love and support while his family remains in the dark about his condition.
“Working with Billy is like a big factor but the the subject matter of the movie was really important to me, because my grandmother’s going through it. I’m doing everything I can to keep her comfortable and keep her here on this planet for as long as possible. So this was a way to pay homage to her and just to all our elders that are going through this thing,” Haddish told theGrio during an exclusive interview.
“It’s a serious disease, but at the same time, finding the the humor in it and finding the way to cope with it and deal with it is, I think, beautiful to share that story. And I never see movies about that.”
While Haddish tends to find the laughter in any situation she faces, she admits that watching her grandmother struggle with dementia has been tough at times.
“I remember at first it was so hard because she couldn’t remember so many things. She loves to tell a good story like, you know, just like me. I love telling a good story. I just couldn’t imagine not being able to remember some of these really powerful moments of my existence,” she explains.
“She’s trying to tell a story and seeing her get frustrated and upset about it because she can’t remember somebody’s name or she can’t remember exactly how this thing happened; it’s like watching her turn into a kid, like a baby. Her memory is slowly going away and then she thinks she’s young again.”
Haddish says shooting the film helped her put herself into her grandmother’s shoes and see things from her perspective.
“There’s funny moments in it, but, you know, it’s hard to deal with. And I definitely have put myself in her shoes,” she continues. “I write down everything now. I write down everything so if if ever that what’s to happen to me, at least I’ll have some really funny notebooks to read.”
According to Crystal, who also directed the film, Haddish was the perfect person to play the part.
“She has the perfect combination of of humor and compassion. Her personality is astounding and she has this natural thing I’ve seen very rarely where people want to be near her. You know, they love being around her and are drawn to her,” he says of his costar.
“When we met, I was just blown away by her heart and her intelligence and about her instinct about how she could be in this part. So to me, we wrote something without knowing her or meeting her. And then when you meet her, you go, well, this was meant to be. This is the character. And then we just we just hit it off and both knew what we wanted to make out of this movie.”
Here Today is in theaters now.
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