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LE NEWSLETTER - May 1, 2005

Exclusive Interview with Vivica A. Fox

(May 1, 2005) Ms. Vivica A. Fox glides into Trattoria Vaticano looking fabulous.  We sat down and talked about her latest projects (including Missing currently being shot in Toronto), being an actress in Hollywood, producing, her role models and much more! 

We started instantly talking about Vivica's latest film and television projects. 


Tell me about The Salon.


Note: The Salon opened the ReelWorld Film Festival in April 2005, where I first encountered the spirited Vivica A. Fox.  It is a sassy and heart-warming film written, produced and directed by Mark Brown (ďBarbershopĒ) and also produced by Vivica A. Fox who stars as Jenny, the owner of a neighbourhood beauty salon. 


I think of The Salon as The Beauty Shop meets Soul Food.  It had a lot of messages, it had comedy, it had drama and it was an experience.  You really felt like you went on the journey with these characters and what they were going through.  I was really fortunate to work with Mark Brown that I worked with on Two Can Play that Game.  It was the second or third movie that I produced.  I think a lot of people think that when you produce, that itís just a title.  But not for me - Iím very involved with the script, with the casting, with the wardrobe, with everything.  I like it because I feel like Iím in control of the product that I present to my audience.


What's been your experience on your current series Missing?

Note: Missing stars Vivica A. Fox as Nicole Scott, an FBI agent teamed up with Jess Mastriani (Caterina Scorsone), a novice agent who has a proven track record of using her psychic abilities to solve mysteries.  Missing is on the Lifetime Network and is currently being shot in Toronto.


The show on the first season was called 1-800-MISSING and had Gloria Rubens on the show.  After the first season, she decided that she didnít want to do the show anymore.  Debra Martin Chase who is now my co-executive producing partner, said, ĎIím going to find something for us to work on together.í  When they first approached me, I said 'No' because I just didnít believe that network television supported their shows long enough.  Debra said ĎThis is on the Lifetime network - their longest show has been on for six years and they support their shows.í  Debra kept persistently calling and explained that she was also going to offer me co-executive producing. 


And it films in Toronto, which is one of my favourite places.  I love filming in Toronto.  This is my fourth project that Iíve done up here.  So, it worked out and we closed the deal! 


We took the show and added myself, Mark Consuelos and Justin Louis [Canadian]. We revamped the show and made it sexier and edgier.  Now they canít wait for us to come back - June 12th in America.  We got picked up and weíre back here for our third season.  I love it, I love it.


What do you like most about working in Toronto?


Great shopping!  Iím such a girl!  My credit card got blazed up at Holt Renfrew!  That whole strip is Gucci, Chanel, Louis Vitton and for us, you get the nice exchange on the money.  I also love the restaurants here.  And the people are really nice.  Everyone that comes and does our show, is like, ďI really like it up here.Ē 


When people ask me what I feel about Toronto, I always say itís a small, clean, friendly New York. 


And youíve got Canadian actors on your show Ö


My two co-stars, Caterina Scorsone and Justin Louis are Canadians and most of the day-players are all Canadians and Iím just really glad that the talent here is really good.  A lot of actors are from theatre and they donít disappoint. 


What have you found challenging when it comes to producing?


The most challenging thing about producing is delivering the project on time and on budget, as well as getting the talent and the quality.  Being an independent film producer, the budgetís a lot smaller. 


Tell me about your indie film ďGetting PlayedĒ and your upcoming projects?


I play the bitch this time.  I mean, I was a bitch a little bit in Two Can Play That Game but I was the bitch that you rooted for.  I wanted to play that role Ė someone else wins - and I had a great time playing her.   Iím the straight up stuck-up movie star.  Itís starring myself, Bill Bellamy, Carmen Electra, Stacey Dash.  Theyíre in negotiations right now Ė hopefully it will come up and not go straight to DVD.  For me, it was a learning experience and another film under my belt. 


And then thereís The Starlet, Iím really hoping that gets picked up for a second season.  And Iím also the voice of Cadillac for GM. 


And then thereís Missing.  So for 6-7 months of the year, I know that Iíve got a great job because I love being here.  Iím not searching, Iím not looking.  Iím very happy.


How do you feel about the recent dialogue regarding the issue of whether other nationalities are taking over the parts originally intended for Black actresses?


If you canít beat Ďem join Ďem.  Iíve got a Latin lover on my show, Mark Consuelos.  What actors have to learn is marketability.  If the film is going to be made, if youíre going to get a budget and distribution by hiring a person that is a little bit more worldwide, then Ö this is the business.  Itís not personal baby.  Embrace it, learn it and keep it moving.

I think the sad thing is that the bitterness that comes with that Ė what they donít realize is that being bitter is a turnoff to other nationalities.  Iím a businesswoman after Iím an actress.  The fact is that theyíre accepting different cultures loving each other.


Do you see yourself as a Black actress in Hollywood?


The wonderful thing is that I think finally Iíve become colourless to people.  But my role models were Will Smith, Whoopi Goldberg.  You donít want to be considered a Black actress Ė you want people to say I like her as an actress.  I learn from other people, Iím a sponge.  I say, what is it that theyíre doing that makes them successful?  I donít hate on them.  I donít get pissed off at their success. 


Thereís been times in my career that Iíve gotten frustrated and a friend of mine, Cassandra Mills, told me a couple of things.   Watch what the next generation is doing and stay young as long as you can.  Youíve got plenty of time to play somebodyís mama, somebodyís grandmamma.  Look at whoís hot and stay in their rear view mirror.  Look at what theyíre doing Ė stay right there with them and sooner or later youíll be beside them and then maybe youíll go in front of them.  But as long as you stay in the race, youíll be all good.  Thatís the best advice she ever gave me. 


You have to look at longevity and not just the moment.  Donít look at the small picture, look at the big picture.  Thank goodness Iíve been mature enough not to hate and to learn. 


Whatís been one of your favourite projects?


Can I name my top five?  (laughs) Iíve had some wonderful experiences.  Kill Bill was amazing.  It gave me a second energy boost for my career and provided a lot of wonderful opportunities.  I always love working with females. When an audience goes to a movie, they think the girls are attractive but theyíre not expecting acting, action and believability.  The girls were incredible.  And the opportunity to work with Quentin Tarantino -  that was a wonderful experience.


Independence Day Ė because it opened the doors to my destiny. I fought really hard to get that project.  Originally they wouldnít even audition me because I didnít have a big enough name.  I auditioned six times and I got it!  And the movie did so wonderful.  It was my first big movie Ė it grossed $800 million worldwide and led to a lot of other opportunities. 


If you could work with any artist, who would they be?


Samuel L. Jackson Ė the ultimate professional and Lena Horne, the screen goddess that radiates pure entertainment. 


As most of you already know, my newsletters do not normally contain any form of entertainment rumours or gossip.  But, I wanted to give Ms. Fox the opportunity to express anything left unsaid about her relationship with 50 Cent, especially given that he continues to bring up her name in lyrics and in the press (including a recent article in the May issue of Blender magazine)


She gave me the lowdown in no uncertain terms.  Her words of advice?  ďTake the time to know someone before you get involved.Ē  This is her story, as told to me. 


Vivica A. Fox says that peopleís fascination with the relationship between herself and 50 Cent has lasted longer than the relationship itself.  Vivica does not deny that she was in love with 50 Cent Ė but also that he was with her.  She is, however, disappointed tshat he chose to go public with their break-up without ever speaking with her about it Ė which is still the case.  The break-up was apparently based on a photo shoot for Today's Black Woman in which 50 Cent felt he had been exploited by Ms. Fox and her management - even though he had clearly posed for the photos.  A letter was immediately sent to Editor-in-Chief, Kate Ferguson stating that neither Vivica Fox nor her management had approved the photo for the cover, originally intended for Ms. Fox only.  Ms. Ferguson wrote to Violator Records, CEO Chris Lighty apologizing for not obtaining permissions for the photo. Still, the magazine chose to run the cover regardless as they were dubbed Hollywood's Hottest Couple.  To date, no response to the letter was ever received.  Days after the alleged exploitive photo shoot, they appeared as the happy couple at the 2003 MTV Awards.  Exploited?  It's your call.


Regardless, Ms. Fox  handles the situation today with humour with a dash of annoyance.  My thoughts are that while this certainly holds some sort of fascination for many, itís been almost two years since their brief encounter. 


Vivica A. Fox has been hot in Hollywood since her film debut with Will Smith in Independence Day in 1996, although she had been on television since 1988.  She strikes me as a strong and courageous woman who wants to be remembered as such.  She goes on to say that sheís sacrificed a lot for her profession and has given it her all Ė while enjoying every single step. 


I thank Vivica for taking the time she did and for being gracious enough to give me this extended interview.  Iím certain that we can look forward to many more exciting projects from her in the future.  Sheís not going anywhere!