In a recent interview with Wonderland Magazine, the petite singer, producer, and actress expressed her desire to do more movies, but not your typical pretty teacher or poetic girl next door. From the interview:
Would you like to do more serious acting?
I do. Because that's my first job and love. But I really want to do some action stuff. I want to kick somebody's ass.
Anybody's. Anybody's as long as I get to kick somebody's ass. Kick a new hole in their butt. Rip them a new butt hole. I'd love to do that... Growing up I was such a tomboy and very active with my brothers. I'd also love to do a real independent film.
She also stated in the interview she missed out on a prime role in "Matrix" due to scheduling conflicts. So I'm willing to bet Janet's not alone in wanting to open a can of "whup-ass" in a film. There are very few African-American actresses that get to star in action movies--by "star" I mean has more than a few scant scenes in the flick, isn't so disguised we don't recognize her, and she gets to have her face on all marketing materials.
And how do I define action movie? Any film that involves not only fighting and other stunts, but pyrotechnics, green screen special effects, and some sort of physical training is an action film. We see the actress do everything the boys do even better if their ego can stand it!
However, for the purposes of this list I may have to stretch the definition seeing as how Hollywood is selectively color-conscious when it comes to this genre of filmmaking. So let's go back! When you think of action flicks what black actresses or even Latino come to mind?
1. Pam Grier as Foxy Brown, may qualify! She got to kick some ass in the 70s black exploitation flicks.
2. Angela Basset in "Strange Days". Her role as "Mace" definitely qualifies.
3. Jada Pinkett in Matrix Reloaded as Niobe. Sci-fi is where it's at!
4. Alicia Keys possibly in "Smokin' Aces" as the assassin. Add Taraji P. too 'cause I'm sure both of them had to do some gun training.
5. Halle Berry as "Catwoman". You may not consider this feline friendly flick as an action movie but her role did require training, fighting, and other stunts.
6. Zoe Saldana, the new kid on the block, in "Avatar" as Neytiri. She was no "bad ass" but the role did require lots of green screen action sequences and maybe some training. The closer she sticks to director, James Cameron, publicly hopefully the more it will get her more action roles where actually get to see her real face.
7. Vivica A. Fox, short lived as it was, Viv's role in Kill Bill definitely required some kick ass action!
Who have I missed? Shouldn't there be more considering the number of action films that exist and are in production right now. I think Janet and a number of other actresses would be great--Regina King, Gabrielle Union, Kerry Washington, Paula Patton, Thandie Newton, Nia Long, Queen Latifah, Rosario Dawson--just to name a few.
So Hollywood what's the deal? What's a sista got to do to get a couple of those action packed, sci-fi, take no prisoners, hand-your-ass-to-you lead roles in a major studio film? Audition! They can't do that unless you ask them!