“Precious” actress also talks to TheWrap about Lee Daniels‘ accusation that she’s demanding, as well as her new film “Blackbird”
Mo'Nique is going on the record once again, to explain why she hasn’t appeared in a major motion picture since winning a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for the 2009 film “Precious.”
“When you win an Academy Award, what do you believe that the award is supposed to do?” the actress asked TheWrap rhetorically Tuesday during a wide-ranging interview. “Should it elevate your career financially?” she said, explaining how she wanted to make sure everyone “understands” the situation.
“So, when we get offers that appear as if I just got off the Greyhound bus and just got to Hollywood and we say, ‘Well, can we get what’s fair?’ That’s gonna appear overly aggressive if they [studios and production companies] are not used to people saying, ‘Can you just give us what’s fair.'”
After several years out of the spotlight, the Oscar winner will next appear in the independent drama “Blackbird.” The film centers on a high school student who struggles with the fact that he may be gay, while coming of age in a small Mississippi town. It stars newcomer Julian Walker as church singer Randy Rousseau, and Mo'Nique plays his troubled mother, Claire. Isaiah Washington, Terrell Tilford and Kevin Allesee co-star, while the actress and her husband Sydney Hicks executive produced the film.
“When my husband and I got this script, and Sydney and I got through the first page, I looked at him and said, ‘You know daddy if we tell this story on screen, it’s gonna save a lot of lives and we’ll be part of that,'” she said.
Hicks has previously been described as Mo'Nique‘s talent manager, though she prefers the term “business partner.”
“People want to put the title of manager on, but that means that I’m unable to manage myself as well,” the actress explained.
When asked to address reports that Hicks has rubbed some in Hollywood the wrong way by being overly aggressive in negotiations, Mo'Nique insisted those assessments were incorrect.
“We’re not asking for any more, but we’re not asking for any less. We’re just asking for what’s fair. When you hear my sisters Gwyneth Paltrow and Patricia Arquette, who happen to be white women, and they say, ‘Can we have wage equality in Hollywood?’ Well, if there are white women saying that, what do you think we’re getting?” she said.
“So, it makes us smile to the universe when we hear, ‘He’s overly aggressive,’ because we’re asking for fair. That’s the same thing some people said about Dr. Martin Luther King. He was ‘overly aggressive’ because he was simply asking to be treated fairly,” she explained. “Some people said the same thing about Muhammad Ali because he said, ‘I will not go fight in the war when those people have done nothing to me.’ Now, by no means am I comparing myself to those amazing people,” she insisted.
“It’s easy to say those things and our great journalists that we have today often times are too fearful to say, ‘Well, can you please explain what you’re saying?’ And we often times just take the word of what they are saying.”
Asked if she had spoken to Daniels since the issue made headlines, Mo'Nique admitted, “No, I haven’t talked to Lee.” But she added, “If my brother Lee calls me up, I would most definitely accept that call.”
She also said she is proud of Daniels and his hit Fox series “Empire.”
“I want the world to continue to support my brother Lee, my brother Terrence [Howard], Taraji [P. Henson] and that whole cast. They are breaking record numbers,” she said, before admitting that she has not seen the series.
“I have young babies and if it ain’t happening on Nickelodeon and if it ain’t happening with SpongeBob and all of them, I’m a little behind the times right now. But I say to the world, please continue to support those brilliant, amazing people that are doing that show. There’s not one actress on the face of this Earth, in my humble opinion, that could be Cookie like Taraji P. Henson.”
Mo'Nique‘s film “Blackbird” will arrive in theaters on April 24, 2015.