MOVIES

Why Going Big Was Like Going Home

According to the production notes, you’d seen “X” and “Pearl” and were interested in working with Ti. How did that develop into a role for you in “MaXXXine”?

Yeah, I had seen both of those movies. I’m a fan of genre, especially if something is slightly under the radar and cool and filmmakers are doing interesting things with the genre with not a lot of money, and “X” and “Pearl” really fit into that. I asked to meet with Ti, but I didn’t know it was a trilogy. I didn’t know that there was going to be a “MaXXXine,” and so we talked for a while, and then he said, “Well, I do have this thing I’m doing, and I’ll send it to you.”

Did he say, “I saw you play Willie O’Keefe in ‘JFK,’ and you did that New Orleans sleazy character really well, so I think I’ve got something for you”?

I don’t think he made [Labat] from New Orleans based on Willie O’Keefe, but I can tell you that interestingly, there were parallels to our conversation in that when I was doing “JFK,” Oliver [Stone] said to me, “Are you okay to be transformational in this part?” I don’t really know what exactly he meant by that, but I think it’s because that’s how I look at parts — I don’t want to be me, even in something where it seems like it’s my voice and my dialect and my look or whatever that is; still, I don’t feel like I’m me. They’re all transformational to a certain extent.

That being said, I think Oliver wanted to be sure that I wasn’t afraid of it or afraid of going for it. I think Ti also wanted to make sure that I was good with going big, with doing some stuff with the hair and makeup and wardrobe and dialect and body and all that.

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