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August 2005
Serenity: An Interview with Gina Torres

Serenity: An Interview with Gina Torres

By Wilson Morales

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You seemed at ease handling the rifle. Have you had experience with such a weapon?

Gina: No. It was just film stuff. I am not a big lover of guns. They have their place. Certainly not in my world or in my home but in my work I've had to handle them quite a bit. It was a firearm that I spent part of the year strapped to my hip, so I'm comfortable with my sawed-off.

How often does the cast get together? Was Comic Con a reunion since the shooting the film wrapped?

Gina: No, we see each other quite a lot actually, especially now since pr is picking up. We see each other for photo shoots. We tend to be social, so we do see each otherevery now and then.

How was working with Ron Glass?

Gina: I adore Ron. I was watching Ron as most people of our generation on "Barney Miller". My earliest memories of television and when he walked on stage for the first time when we did the series, I was like, "I love you!"

His appearance on the show and film kills all those "Where are they now?" questions.

Gina: Yes. He keeps himself busy. He's one of our gifts that unfortunately I feel I don't get to see enough of him or his work and what he's capable of.

What do you think Joss (Whedon) wanted you to bring to the character when you first went out for the role of Zoe?

Gina: Well, I think he hired me because he saw a great deal of what he had written and so there was never really a whole lot of discussion. He felt confident and comfortable with what I was bringing to the table, which is a quiet authority. Zoe's presence is more often more important than anything than she can say. When she speaks, it's always for a reason; for a particular reason. She's just not talking just to be talking. I think that if Zoe is displeased or if she's happy, we want to feel like the temperature is literally changing in the room and that was my job. To make it feel that if the room was cold, a happy turn would come in and Zoe would be pleased.

Did you have to get in shape, physically, for your role?

Gina: I just had to put on my clothes.

You also have a TV show coming out called "Soccer Mom".

Gina: Nope, ABC did not pick us up.

How about the film "Five Cigarettes"? Is it still coming out?

Gina: That is actually happening. That has been shot. It's in the can and we are expecting a late 2005, early 2006 release.

The highlight of the film is the fact that you will be working with your husband, Laurence Fishburne. Did you discuss the aspects of husband-wife working together on a film?

Gina: No. The script came to Laurence and he said, "This part's perfect for you" and I read it, and I agreed, and believe it or not, I auditioned. The director had other ideas and that happens. We, as creative people, and certainly I'm not in a place that my husband is in terms of recognition and reputation and stardom and all of that, and even if I were, as creative artistic people who work with other creative artistic people, you have to respect their desires and their wishes. You can say as he did, "I think my wife is perfect for the part" but if the director says, 'I thinking of ..... because of ....", and you have to respect that, and so I had to go in and change his mind. What was so attractive about this particular part was the subject matter which is a political thriller and very timely. It was also not a relationship between my husband and I. No one is going to see this movie and feel like they are peeking through a key hole. We are autonomist of each other and it was really just about the joy of working together on a project and a project that we really believed in. It wasn't about anything other than that. The movie is first. The work is first.

What's the film about?

Gina: It's about a young idealist man, played by Ryan Philippe, who is kidnapped and then held for interrogation. He is being interrogated by Muslim fundamentalists, played by myself and Laurence Fishburne. It's very timely with what's going on in the world today.

Has "Serenity" done a lot for you in terms of getting more roles on films?

Gina: Yes, I think it's attractive to the business when you are working. It's that old saying, "Work begets work". When you are working and are visible, you become more attractive to the industry. It's still tricky. There's still not as many choices as one would like to have. I'm the first one to tell you that I'm a snob. If I'm going to spend three months of my life giving my all to something, I want to believe in what I'm doing or if it's nine months of my life doing a television series, I want to be happy when I walk on to the stage or in the studio. It is hard to find those things that you can passionate about and be joyful about.

For those who are not aware of 'Firefly", why should they go see "Serenity"?

Gina: It's a movie that's both entertaining and at times, quite funny, and that explores relationship between very different people and also makes you think about the world that we are in and where we may be going as a society.

If the film is a hit, are you signed on for a sequel?

Gina: Yes


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