The Source Magazine recently sat down with Singer, Writer, Poet, Actress and renaissance woman Jill Scott to discuss her latest film “Baggage Claim,” out September 27, in which she plays, Gail, Paula Patton’s foxy best friend and fellow flight attendant. Scott alongside Adam Brody do everything they can to help Patton’s character Montana More get married in 30 days. Jill Scott is a scene stealer in the film!
How did you get involved with “Baggage Claim”?
Scott: I got sent the script, like most actors here get set a script, I read it, normally I don’t read the whole thing, sometimes, if it’s not moving me, then I stop, but this one I just read right through it and loved it and I ended up catching one of David Talbert’s plays on television and I never watch plays on television. I’m a theater girl, I think that’s wack. But I watched this and it was so good. There was no singing in it and it was so good that I thought whoever did this, they’ve got a future. And at the end it was like, ‘Hi, my name is David Talbert,’ and I was like, ‘Damn that’s the dude who wrote this!’, so I was absolutely in at that point.
Q: Tell me, what did you love about Gail?
Scott: I just thought she was spiriting. I thought that was uncompromising, fearless. I liked the fact that she wasn’t one of those women who was all about love. She’s like, ‘Girl please, get it. Go out and have a good time and call it what it is.’ And I liked her for that.
Q: You were spot on with your comedic timing!
Scott: I didn’t know that I was and you guys are telling me something that I didn’t know. David was saying, ‘You are funny! You’re funny!’ And I’m like, ‘Okay, cool. Isn’t that why you hired me to be funny?’ But I didn’t really think about it. I’m glad everybody likes it. See the thing, what I think is you can’t go into anything to be something, like I’m gonna go in here and be funny. Maybe somebody more talented than I can do that, but I like to be that guy. That’s the best acting advice I’ve ever had…was be that guy. If it happens to be funny, then great.
Q: What was it like working with Paula Patton as your friend?
Scott: Paula was pretty cool; I really respect her work ethic. She put in some crazy hours; I don’t think I’ve ever seen that before. I’ve been the lead of a television show, but to be the lead of a movie where you’re in literally every frame…I gotta give it up to her, she put in the work.
Q: Can you tell me about where your passion for acting came from and how you made the transition?
Scott:Scott: I’m a writer first. I’m a poet, I’ve written for all kinds of periodicals, New York Times, O Magazine. I’m a writer first but I happen to sing. I’m an artist but it happens to be entertaining, you know what I mean?
It started with poetry; I had a director come see me read. I didn’t expect that, but he came and he said, ‘You’re an actor.’ I said, ‘Oh okay.’ He got an internship for me, an apprenticeship at a theater company. I hung lights, built sets, sewed costumes, mopped floors, cleaned toilets. Anything you can think of to get free acting classes. I got plenty of free acting classes, I enjoyed that. Although, I slept through a lot of them because I was working 16 hours a day. But that’s where it started. Being an understudy, doing Sondheim and Shakespeare and that’s where the bug hit me, even if I wasn’t acting, watching it happen and seeing the work that it takes to get there really inspired me.
Q: Do you have any upcoming music projects you can share with us?
Scott: There is a lullaby album for adults and infants…it’s for people that sleep, or don’t sleep rather with Robert Glasper, Lil John Roberts, and Derek Hodge. It’s insanely beautiful.
Q: When can we expect it?
Scott: I have no idea. I’m working on that right now.
Q: Are there any scenes in the film that didn’t make the cut that you were like, ‘Man that was so fun, I wish I made it’?
Scott: Well there was more of a physical altercation between Gail and Sam and there was more of a battle between Sam, Gail, and Montana when she was trying to get her hands on William’s girlfriend. That was hilarious. That was really hilarious, but it didn’t make it. And the masseuse too. When the masseuse for Gail was naked initially and that was fun all over. That was fun for everyone; I was like, ‘Really homie? Really? I can’t not look at you…there it is!’ That was fun. I enjoyed that. It was a great day at work.
Q: Obviously like you said you’re a writer, a poet. How have all of these things in your life prepared you to this next phase of acting?
Scott: Wow…all of it has prepared me, being on the road has prepared me, connecting with an audience, working in a theater company…Shooting videos has prepared me. Directing videos has prepared me. Reading a lot has definitely prepared me. My mother’s appreciation for art and creativity has prepared me. Everything has lead me here.
Q: Can you speak about how your mother inspires you?
Scott: My mom is a renaissance woman…she literally can do anything from putting up drywall to laying down hardwood floor to making you a pair of pants, doing your hair, cleaning your teeth…she was a dental hygienist…acupuncture, acupressure…I’ve never seen anyone who can do that much so well. And she’s a healer by spirit…she’s amazing.
Q: Do you have any aspirations to do Broadway?
Scott: I’ve been there…I don’t know. It would take a very specific time of my life to lead me back to Broadway.