Angela Bassett Chats ‘Olympus Has Fallen,’ More

By// Sylvia Obell

Over the last two decades the name Angela Bassett has become synonymous with one word: excellence. The Golden Globe winner and Oscar Nominated Actress became marquee worthy by portraying powerful Black women in history such as Rosa Parks and Betty Shabazz — and a fictional characters we’ll never forget… like Waiting To Exhale’s fire starter, Bernadine Harris. Bassett’s latest movie, Olympus Has Fallen (a film about a terrorist attack on the White House) hits theaters March 22nd. JET talks to the actress about the two big gigs in her life and more.

Congratulations on your new project. It’s an intense flick. That’s a good way to put it. I don’t even think I was able to stay in my seat the whole time. I never imagined it would look the way it did when it all came together.

You play a director of the Secret Service. What made you chose that role?
First and foremost, I was excited about the opportunity to work with the masterful Antoine Fuqua. He thought it would be great for me to play a role that has historically been portrayed as a male.

How did you prepare for such a role?
My character has some universal traits, such as being caring, sympathetic, level headed, sacrificial, and intuitive. In addition, we also had wonderful support from tech advisors on set everyday.

This movie was an action-thriller, but you’re also known for romantic comedies, such as Jumping The Broom and biopics like What’s Love Got To Do With It. What’s your favorite kind of role to play?
I love portraying women who have a lot of emotion, passion, vulnerability, and strength. The duality is always something I’m interested in because we’re all just human, and sometimes we have to just rise through extraordinary circumstances.

We know you’re busy working on another project. Can you tell us about that?
My next role is in a musical, so that’s a 180 degrees from this one. Black Nativity with Forest Whitaker and Jennifer Hudson, who plays our daughter. I actually have to sing a duet with her!

There’s another major role you play daily, mommy. It seems like just yesterday fans were sneaking peaks at your babies— but Browyn and Slater, are 7 now. How are they?
They are great. They’re just growing and I’m constantly impressed with their little vocabulary. When they were younger I would just throw big words that a 2 year old wouldn’t say for fun, like, “Oh I’m startled.” Then 10 minutes later they’d come back and repeat it. It’s amazing to see them grow up.

There are a lot of new schools of thoughts regarding discipline. What’s the formula in your home?
Spank that tail! — kidding. No but I spank and talk, it’s a combination of the two in my house. However, spanking is only if the offense is egregious. That’s another word lesson I’ll slip in. It’s not just bad, it’s egregious.

What are you most looking forward to doing with them when they get older?
I look forward to just going out and catch some jazz with them or something. It will be great to just hang out with them.

Olympus Has Fallen is i theaters today.