Jada Pinkett Smith explains why the incredible success of 'Girls Trip' brought her to tears
If you didn't see "Girls Trip" this summer, you missed out on one of the most joyous cinematic experiences of the year. The breakout R-rated comedy of 2017 starring Jada Pinkett Smith, Queen Latifah, Regina Hall and scene-stealing newcomer Tiffany Haddish was a raucous affair that shattered box office expectations to make $115 million in the US.
In honor of its home release, we caught up with Jada Pinkett Smith, who played Lisa in the film, about her latest movie's massive success, her fondest memories from filming it and the incredibly importance of a film starring four African-American women surpassing Hollywood's limiting expectations to get people of all backgrounds and genders laughing all summer.
Check out our full conversation with Jada Pinkett Smith below.
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First of all, let me tell you that I am genuinely obsessed with "Girls Trip." I saw it in theaters twice.
[Laughs] Well, we really enjoyed making it, so I’m glad people enjoyed watching it!
And it looked like you all also really enjoyed promoting the film together the summer.
We just really enjoy each other. I was just talking to Tiffany [Haddish] last night, and we’re all off doing different projects now, which is kind of a bummer because you don’t always have this much fun. We had a blast together! Every aspect of making this movie and selling this movie together was fun. One of the biggest parts is that we just really love spending time together, and we have fun together. We also happened to make a project that we were really proud of. It’s just easy. It’s natural. It’s not work, in all honesty. You’re getting to do something that you just love to do, so to have the opportunity to do it together was just the icing on the cake.
The film also probably wouldn't have worked nearly as well if that wasn't the case. Your chemistry took it to another level.
I do think that the chemistry that we all had together was a big component of why people enjoyed watching it so much. It genuinely gave off the energy that we have when we’re kicking it with our group of friends.
Something that I loved seeing while tracking the film's success this summer was the endless support that you got from your peers in Hollywood on social media, who were constantly giving the film shoutouts. What did that support from the rest of the industry mean to you?
It felt really good. The fact that this was a movie starring African-American women -- of course with the brilliant Kate Walsh, too, who is so genius -- I feel like it was the first movie of its kind in a long time, so it was beautiful to see that people were ready [for it] and so deeply supportive. To me, it’s always about the next one, though. It needs to create opportunities for more movies like "Girls Trip" to be made.
Exactly, and there was a lot of conversation around the fact that Hollywood could finally recognize that movies starring women or women of color aren't just for women or women of color after seeing the success of "Girls Trip." They're for everyone; this movie was for anyone that just wanted to laugh!
I was just telling someone else that, to me, the fact that the movie was starring African-American women, yet women from all backgrounds enjoyed this movie was so important. For once, we felt validated that it was okay to be black and female. Because it’s such a personal experience, people don’t recognize how often we as black women are told that being black is not the thing to be. "We want you to be anything else other than black." We were able able to have a movie starring African-American women who are unapologetically black and, yet, people could see that our stories are still as universal.
We don’t get to talk about prejudice between women a lot, because it tends to not end in life-or-death like it does with men. It tends to be this non-issue that we don’t have to talk about, but that's a false idea -- that because we are women we don’t have prejudices. To me, this movie kind of created a camaraderie and hope to heal those gaps between us that we rarely talk about.
At times, it really brought me to tears, in all honesty, because it’s such a painful place that sits in the souls of black women and me specifically. One of the most joyous components of this movie is that all women felt celebrated and appreciated and heard, despite their backgrounds. Being black isn’t an isolated experience from all women.
It was a celebration of women and female friendship, and there were so many themes that people could latch onto regardless of their skin color.
And regardless of gender! That was another beautiful aspect, as well, is that the message could reach men, too. Men who went to see the movie and really enjoyed it just like you did. That fills me heart, because it wasn’t gender-specific either, to be honest.
What are you going to look back on when you think about "Girls Trip" in the future? What will stick out to you about this experience?
I’m going to remember how much fun I had making this movie with these women, and I’m going to also remember how it really did create this beautiful, fun movement amongst women. Women felt like it was a movie about female bonding. And, once again, the most powerful message will be the healing for me on a personal level to see all women come together in a joyous space and appreciate one another.
That's a really special thing to be a part of.
It makes me so proud. It’s the only movie that I’m even willing to watch of myself, to be honest. Once I make a movie, I usually just go to the premiere and then I never see it again. But with this movie, I actually went and saw it over and over again, and I actually ordered it when I was at a hotel recently. I never do that!
"Girls Trip" is available to own on DVD, Digital and Blu-ray here.
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