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May 2004
Set Visit: Beauty Shop

By Monikka Stallworth

Set Visit: Beauty Shop

Distributor: MGM  
Director: Bille Woodruff
Executive Producer: Matt Alvarez, Ice Cube, Todd Lieberman
Producer: Erik Baiers, Elizabeth Cantillon, Shakim Compere, David Hoberman, Queen Latifah, Robert Teitel, George Tillman Jr.
Screenwriters: Kate Lanier, Norman Vance, Audrey Wells
Cinematographer: Brandon Trost
Production Designer: Dina Lipton
Casting Director: Kim Coleman, Victoria Thomas

Cast: Queen Latifah, Djimon Hounsou, Kevin Bacon, Alicia Silverstone, Alfre Woodard, Andie MacDowell, Mena Suvari, Keshia Knight Pulliam, Bryce Wilson, Golden Brooks, Little JJ, Wilmer Valderrama

After the success of Barbershop a few years ago, and with the release of the sequel Barbershop 2: Back in Business, a spin-off was inevitable. Heading up the cast is Queen Latifah as Gina, her character from the Barbershop films. Blackfilm.com was recently on the set visiting the cast and getting an inside look at what to expect when the film drops this fall. While the entire cast wasn’t present at the time, we did get to talk to Queen Latifah and Andie MacDowell on their parts in the film.

Queen Latifah:

What were your beauty shop memories?

QL: Oh yeah, I go back to the press and curls. I remember my first perm. I was 11 years old and I hated the hair style because it was a bouffant. I went home and I combed all the curls out. I couldn't believe how long my hair was. I was like oh my god. My mother was really pissed off that week, combing out the whole style, wasting the money, yeah.

Could there be Barbershop cast cameos?

QL: Yeah, actually there is a possibility. We're trying to work something out but I'm not sure if it's going to happen right now.

What was the decision to move away from Chicago?

QL: We didn't wanna be in no cold weather. No, I mean, Chicago's a great town but we just wanted to kind of take it in a different direction, give it its own life so to speak so Atlanta seemed like a good place to start.

Are you the same character from Bshop 2?

QL: Yes.

What's your backstory?

QL: Well, Gina's sister actually owned that beauty shop next door to the barber shop, and Gina's daughter is accepted to a performing arts school in Atlanta, so that's why she moves down there. For her daughter.

The girl from Bshop 2?

QL: No, that's my neice. That's my sister's badass daughter. My sister who owned that shop with her boyfriend that don't ever be there and pay the rent on time, yeah, that's my sister.

Are you getting good at doing hair?

QL: Well, my skills is up.

What do you think of the copycat Beauty Shop movies?

QL: I don't think it's a bad thing in the sense that we can all relate to what goes on in a beauty shop, and there are some great actors in the other movies so I can't knock the movies. I don't know, I haven't seen any of them so I don't know what they're really about, but sometimes great minds think alike, so everybody wanted to go there, but this is the official Beauty Shop. The one and only official Beauty Shop.

How has the shoot been so far?

QL: It's been cool.

Laughing a lot?

QL: Yeah, for sure. And the more comedians walk through here, just everybody's really good at bringing it with their characters, so they give us something to laugh at every day. And it's been a work in progress so you kind of let it live on its feet and people come up with ideas, you let them make it happen. So it's getting better and better and better.

When did you know you were funny?

QL: I don't know. I'm not always funny. There are people who are funnier than me, way funnier. I think I'm aight. I think I have a great sense of humor, so I can be silly and I'm not afraid to make fun of myself or be ugly in a movie. I'm willing to put myself out there where some people aren't.

Does this run in your family?

QL: For sure. My brother, my older brother, extremely funny. My mom, my father, they're all- - I mean, comedy was a big part of my growing up years and my parents have great senses of humor. They love to crackjokes, so yeah, it runs in the family.

It's playoff time- -

QL: New Jersey.

Will you see the Lakers?

QL: I don't know. If I get a chance, I would love to go watch them play. I like the Lakers, so, but I don't think I'm going to have any time. I'm in most of these scenes so it's not going to happen.

Does Jersey have a chance?

QL: Oh, for sure. We've gotta step it up, you know, but I mean, the Pistons are looking real good this year. We'll see who's got the Cinderella magic on them.

How does the conversation in Beauty Shop differ than the ones in Barber shop?

QL: Oh, it's a chick thing, first of all. We're talking about things women would talk about. Men, for instance. And I don't think men are talking about mostly men in a barber shop. Yeah, they do. They talk sports, they talk about women. We talk about men, we talk about issues, we talk about everything. And everything has got a feminine touch to it. It can get raw, but it's from a woman's point of view so the whole conversation tends to differ. We tend to talk more about men and families and our kids and what so and so did and where so and so's been. We kind of get into some of those issues. We get into political issues of course. I think a lot of our conversations are the same when it comes to things that we all care about, politics or who said what on Jay Leno last night. No, he didn't. That kind of thing. Well, maybe not Jay Leno, maybe on BET 106 and Park, but we kind of get up into the same conversations but then some things that are basically women's things.

Are beauty shops still the cultural centerpieces of the community?

QL: Absolutely! I mean, beauty shops, 96% of them are individually owned for that matter too, so not only are they a cultural home base, but they're also an economic base in the black community for sure. So yeah, I think that is the spot. We all catch up at the beauty shop and the barber shop.

Are there any romance scenes?

QL: Yes, there will be a slight romantic scene.

Is this neighborhood Leimert Park?

QL: Yeah, you will see this outside, but we won't be in Leimert Park.
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Andie Macdowell:

Tell us about your character?

AM: I play a very small character but I'm having a great time being here and just- - it's a good chance for me to come out here and have a good time. I was kind of brought in at the last minute and I play a character who- - I'm having fun with my small character though.

Beauty shop memories?

AM: Oh, I do, as an adult, yeah. I live in a small town now so beauty salons are sort of like where all the gossip ruminates where I live. I don't know.

How does the movie shop compare to real ones?

AM: It's similar. I mean, what happens with my character is that everyone knows that my husband's cheating on me but I don't know it. Which is sort of, that's what I'm talking about happens in small towns. They kind of already know everything before you know it. And so that's what happens for my character and I'm having fun with, like I was saying, trying to find some humor and bring humor to the character. I don't wanna say everything we're gonna do because there's something that I'm hoping will be quite funny as she evolves.

What controversial topics come up?

AM: None that I have come across, but this is my fourth day, so I don't know. That's not my- - I haven't been exposed to that part of the film if there is such a part.

Why were you brought in last minute?

AM: I was taking my daughter to buy her prom dress and I got a telephone call and my agent said, 'Would you like to go do this movie?' It was right over Easter. I was going to miss Easter with my kids and I asked my kids, I said, 'I've been offered this job with Queen Latifah' and they started screaming and said, 'Go, go, go.' And I said that I won't be here for Easter, and particularly my 15-year-old daughter is very- - she's become very conscious of how hard it is in life to make your dreams come true. She has dreams of her own that she aspires and she is really proud of me. When opportunities come like this, she wants me to take them because she realizes that not everybody gets to go off and do things like this. She's at an age where she's very secure with herself. My nine-year-old is a little bit harder. I think she'd rather me be there, doesn't care as much, but it does help having them be together and it's a short job for me.

Working with Queen?

AM: I'm having fun with everybody. Everybody's very nice. The set is very energetic. They play music in between scenes. There's a nice comfortable feel with everybody, a very pleasant experience so I'm really happy to be here. Everybody's been very kind to me and attentive.

How do you stay beautiful?

AM: Try to get a good night's sleep, you know. It's the same old boring thing and I honestly think it's the truth - wearing sunblock, drinking water, getting good sleep and being at peace with yourself. Whenever I am tormented inside, whenever there's something going on that makes her hurt or painful, that's when I'll look my worst. And I think it's for everybody.

Picked up any tips from the movie?

AM: In four days? I've actually learned some great hair styles. I've learned some really interesting hair styles in there that I'm thinking about going home and giving it a shot. Might as well have some fun, especially the dual colored hair. I like that. That's happening. I thought there's one hairpiece in there, there's a picture of this woman who's got every different color hair. I thought that would be really interesting to pick up my kids looking like that.

Get dreadlocks.

AM: Why not? I want colored dreadlocks, rainbow dreadlocks.

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