The romantic comedy Baggage Claim follows Montana Moore (Paula Patton), a successful flight attendant and a devoted daughter, sister and friend, who just can’t manage to get her love life together. With the help of her two best friends, Gail (Jill Scott) and Sam (Adam Brody), they devise a plan to have Montana conveniently meet up with eligible ex-boyfriends to see if any of them have since become the perfect guy. Directed by David E. Talbert, the film also stars Derek Luke, Djimon Hounsou, Taye Diggs, Boris Kodjoe, Terrence J, Jenifer Lewis, Christina Milian, La La Anthony and Affion Crockett.
At the film’s press day, singer/actress Jill Scott spoke to Collider for this exclusive interview about how she got involved with this film, how much fun she had working with Paula Patton and Adam Brody, that she tends to use her spirit and intellect to get things, unlike the assets her character uses, which man she would have liked to have seen Gail end up with, and how she would love to make a guest appearance on True Blood. Check out what she had to say after the jump.
JILL SCOTT: You know, I don’t recall how it happened. I know that I got ahold of the script. I think that my agent sent me the script. I get a lot of scripts, but I started reading this one and couldn’t stop. I wanted to know what happened. I saw the cover and who it was written and would be directed by, but it didn’t mean anything to me until I happened to be watching BET. I saw the beginning of a play on television, which I normally don’t like, at all, but I liked this one. It didn’t have any singing. It was a real play. No dis intended to anything else, but it was official. And I thought, “These actors are great, and whoever directed this is cool. I really like this guy or girl.” And it turned out to be the same name that was on the screen. I was like, “Okay, I’m in! I don’t know what for, but I’m in!” I like when the universe conspires to ensure wherever I’m going. I think that’s always a nice sign.
You’re just so fabulous and hilarious in this movie.
When you read the script, was it apparent that this could be a real scene-stealing character, or did that develop through your performance?
SCOTT: I guess it developed throughout. I wasn’t concentrating on stealing anything. I honestly felt like Adam Brody was so damn funny that he stole the movie. I enjoyed playing with him. He’s a really smart, really cool guy who’s easy to work with. Sometimes you work with people who aren’t giving, at all. They take, and they don’t return the favor. He threw alley-oops, and I caught them. I threw alley-oops, and he sunk the ball. It worked that way. So, she evolved. We knew that she had a lot of cleavage. We knew that she was not afraid of herself, in any way. And we knew that she wasn’t the kind who would be looking for love. She’d be looking for a good time. I really enjoyed it. Any time you can be as different from yourself as possible, it’s great. I haven’t quite found that yet. There’s always some of me in the character. But, I’m excited about the day where I can lose all of me and become someone else entirely.
Did you get to do much improvisation during this shoot?
SCOTT: Our physical exchanges were improvised, but I stuck to the script. I had moments, of course, but my improv was really all physical. It was a look or a body movement. That was my stuff. Adam had a lot of one-liners and zingers that he threw out there, but I had a few.
Was it difficult to get through those moments with Adam Brody without laughing?
SCOTT: No. I haven’t come across that yet, where I can’t control myself. During those times when Adam was the funniest, it’s when the energy was the highest. Afterwards, once I hear, “Cut!,” then I’m laughing.
SCOTT: I really didn’t see all of the things that Paula did until I actually watched the movie, and I give her so much credit for being able to stay that up. That character was with so many different people, over the course of a day. That’s amazing! There’s a lot of diligence in there. I have a lot of respect for her.
Have you ever found yourself, like your character, using your assets to get things that you want in situations?
SCOTT: No, actually. Anytime I’ve ever used something, it’s been my spirit or my intellect. That’s the gist of it. I’ve never done that! I’ve never really thought about it either. I don’t know how far that would get me. If I knew it would get me somewhere, maybe, but I don’t know. I haven’t tried it. That’s the difference between Gail and I. She’s willing to just put it all out there and see if it will reel back in a big fish, and I’m not. Not in that way, physically.
Would you have liked to have seen Gail end up with any of the guys, by the end of the movie?
SCOTT: I was hoping for Djimon Hounsou’s character. I was really hoping! But, no. That’s against the rules, anyway. That’s Montana’s ex-boyfriend. That’s against the girlfriend rules. You can’t do that, anyway. But, that would have been nice.
Has the whole comedy thing come easy for you, or have you had to really work at it?
SCOTT: I really didn’t think about it, honestly. I just wanted to be that guy. Out of all the acting classes that I’ve taken, the best advice I’ve ever gotten was, “Be that guy.” So, I didn’t think about Gail being funny. David would tell me, “That was funny! That was really funny! You’re funny!” And I was like, “Okay, cool,” but I didn’t really think about it so much. I enjoy my friends. We get together and we laugh hysterically, but I’m not trying to make them laugh. I’m just being myself, and I figured that Gail would just be herself. If it was funny, so be it. I got lucky, I guess. I’m really happy that people find her funny. I’m the girl that waits for the director to say, “I like that,” or “Can you boost it up?,” or “Can you pull it down?” I’m that kind of actor. I started in theater, so that’s the feedback that I’m accustomed to. It’s the feedback that I really thrive off of. So, when David said it was funny, I just kept going where I was going. I never got a note saying, “That was whack,” or “I hate that,” so I just kept it moving.
You were great in your appearance on Fringe, and you said that you pursued getting to be a part of that show because you were such a big fan. Are there any other shows that you would love to get to do an appearance on?
SCOTT: True Blood excites me. It scares me, but it excites me. That would be great. I’m sorry that Fringe is gone. I really wanted to do more on that show. It was great! There are a lot of shows, but I’m not seeing as much television currently as I would like to. I’m literally just coming off of a tour, so I’ve gotta go through my DVR and see what’s in there. I want to do a mean role. I want to play a paraplegic or a drug addict. I just want to continue to grow, as an actor, and dig. Hopefully, one day, I’ll lose myself in a role. My only worry about that is that I just want to be able to come back home. I don’t want to get lost forever. That scares me. We’ve seen that happen, and I don’t want that. And I’m still waiting to do Saturday Night Live.
Baggage Claim opens in theaters on September 27th.