screen_shot_2013-05-09_at_4-29-21_pm_1In the Fox Searchlight film “Baggage Claim,”  out September 27, Boris Kodjoe and Taye Diggs play Paula Patton’s love interests. We sat down with Boris and Taye to discuss their roles in the film. 

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In the film, Taye Diggs plays politician Langston Jefferson Battle III. 

normal_001x001Tell me about what you loved about the script.


Taye Diggs:  What I loved about the script, it was, as far as I was concerned, kind of fresh take on the romantic comedy, because so many of these romantic comedies you see are the exactly same, and you kind of know the ending before the movie starts.  But this one, I loved the approach and the analogy between baggage at an airport and the baggage that we all carry as human beings and it was just great writing.  It was great writing, so the character was something that I have not yet had the chance to play, so that was fun. Comedy is my favorite, so there was no doubt in me being a part of this.

Tell me what you admire about Mr. Talbert as a director.

Taye Diggs: Oh man, he’s just so cool, first off, his voice is so cool and low…He was confident because he’s starting out in film and he had the confidence to let the actors kind of go off script when it was appropriate and I I commend him for that and he’s a great writer.

And can you tell me about collaborating with Paula Patton?

Taye Diggs: I was very very impressed. I had no idea she had comic chops, so there was a lot of laughing on set, during takes and in between takes, so I think people are going to be pleasantly surprised that a woman that attractive, can also be really funny.

You both brought your comedic chops. Can you speak about your love of comedy and your comedic influences?

Taye Diggs: I mean growing up, what was I allowed to watch? “Bill Cosby,” and then when I was much younger…”Bosom Buddies” and “Laverne & Shirley,” and then when I got a little bit older, it was Richard Pryor and Eddie Murphy. You grow up around all of that and it just kind of becomes you.

And we have to talk Juicy the dog. Can you tell us about working with the dog on set. Those scenes were hilarious. 

Taye Diggs: It was so fun. There were so many times, I couldn’t finish the take just because the situation was ridiculous.  So it was a cute little dog and I love the fact that I’m playing a character that has a dog like that, it made it really fun.

That dog is such a well-trained actor! 

Taye Diggs: He was great, he had his little trainers, but that’s a talented pooch.

And there’s a really funny scene about Tiger Woods, was any of that improvised?

Taye Diggs: No, see that’s good writing, that was writing.

“Baggage Claim,” is all about travel. Can you share a fun travel story?

Taye Diggs: You know what? With a three and a half year old, every airport experience is pretty crazy.  Yeah, this time having our son walk around just makes everything a little bit more lively.

Your cast mate Tia Mowry shared a funny story about a fan encounter she had with Sean Connery in an airport, do you have a fun fan encounter where maybe you fanned out or someone fanned out on you?

Taye Diggs:  I flipped out at Madonna one time. That was I think two years ago, during the Oscars, I danced with her, so I was pretty proud of myself. It was at a party, yeah that’s where I geeked out a little bit.

What are your favorite travel destinations?

Taye Diggs: I love it when there’s blue water and white sands, wherever. I just love that connection with the water and it’s healing.

You’re also a very acclaimed Broadway actor.  Can you speak about what you love about working in the three mediums: Film, TV and Broadway. What do you love about each?

Taye Diggs: With theater, I love the audience, the audience energy, with film I love the fact that you can be a little bit more real as far as the acting is concerned, and with TV I love the consistency, you know if you’re lucky enough to have a job that runs.

Any chance you will return to Broadway?

Taye Diggs:  Absolutely, absolutely. I love Broadway, and as soon as I can find some time, I need to find a project, I need to get back there.

And “Private Practice” had a great run, can you tell us the highlight of that experience?

Taye Diggs: Oh, just the cast, it had a great cast. Unbelievably talented and just really nice people, and obviously Shonda’s writing.  You know it was wonderful, wonderful experience.

And we also have to ask about “Best Man Holiday” out November 15.  What can fans expect?

Taye Diggs:  It’s going to be good. It’s going to be good, and there’s some, some salacious surprises, how about that?

Boris Kodjoe plays Paula Patton’s love interest Graham, who appears to be perfect, but nothing is what it seems…


Q:  What did you love about the “Baggage Claim” script?

Boris Kodjoe:  I loved that it was full of non stereotypical characters that it was just great writing.  It’s something that immediately caught my interest and you started routing for people and I wanted to be a part of this cast.  You know the cast was great.

Q:  David said that he met with you guys years ago.  Tell me why the project was so dear to you to revisit?

Boris Kodjoe: We read a lot of scripts, and none of them are very good, unfortunately, and so you are drawn to a script that is really good.  And his was wonderful, so when it came back around and he called me and said they’re ready to do this, then I was pretty quick to say yes.

Q:  Can you speak about collaborating with Paula Patton on screen?

Boris Kodjoe:  I always wanted to work with her, I never had a chance to do so, I’m friends with her husband, so it was familiar.  And I mean, the chemistry was there, and she’s very open and she’s friendly, she’s sweet, she’s beautiful, so it was easy to play make believe with her.

Q:  You joked in the press conference that you were getting back at your wife, is that true?

Boris Kodjoe:  Well my wife, you know she’s super accomplished in her own right, and a genius actress, so she got a chance to  work with a lot of Hollywood’s leading men – Denzel, and Djimon, and Taye, and so it was time for me to do it as well.  Not just her!

Q:  What was your favorite moment from set?

Boris Kodjoe:  It was just a great set.  The atmosphere was really fun.  There were a lot of pranks and people laughing and I think that the day on the boat was fun with Paula because when you shoot a love scene, it’s really very technical, it’s not very intimate, so you end up walking around in your underwear, and there’s like 40 or 50 people around and after a while nobody really cares anymore.  So after a while, you know people would look at you and go “Hey, can you put a shirt on or something?”  Because you don’t even notice that you’ve been in your drawers this whole time.  So that’s one of the fun days that we had.  But the whole movie was a lot of fun.

Q:  You said that this was important to you because it was non-stereotypical, can you expand on that a little bit more?

Boris Kodjoe:  Well, you know we are used to the same characters over and over and to read the script where the characters are different and there’s levels to them that we haven’t explored before that shows us in our diversity that really exists, it’s always refreshing.

Q: Can you speak about “The Real Husbands” and what we can expect?

Boris Kodjoe:  Just more craziness of the same kind, just crazier.  Lots and lots of new great guest stars and the wives are coming back in and just a lot of buffoonery.  It’s just the best set to be on because we’re all friends and we all have a great time.

Q:  And Bobby Brown is coming back. Can you tell me about that and why he was chosen?

Boris Kodjoe:  Bobby Brown is coming back! He’s a legend, you know Bobby’s great, he’s really funny.  Most people don’t know that he’s really a hysterical guy and it will be fun to have him around.

Q:  You also have a film called “Addicted” coming out?  Can you tell me a little bit about that project?

Boris Kodjoe: Yeah, it’s based on a novel by Zane called “Addicted” and it’s about sexual addiction, so it’s a very dark, sort of serious movie, about the subject and I was intrigued by it, because it’s something that we don’t talk about, it’s sort of taboo, especially in our community.  And it’s a great script, and a great director, Bille Woodruff, Paul Haul produced and it’s me, Sharon Leal, William Levy, Kat Graham and Tasha Smith. It’s a great movie.

Q:  And you also recently did the cover of Ebony, can you speak about that cover and why that was important to you?

Boris Kodjoe:  It was very important because we just wanted to make sure that we keep talking about some of the issues that these sort of very, very deep emotions have evoked you know?  Trayvon has ignited this discussion about, not just racial profiling, but gun violence, gun laws in this country that have been ignored for the longest time until Newtown happened in December.  That’s when it sort of flared up again.  And it’s something that we should never let die down until it’s resolved, especially gun laws. Ever since the background check bill was shot down in April, people have been deflated, but I think it’s very important that we keep up the fight…and come up with laws that protect our kids and that don’t let just anybody running around with a gun, there’s 380,000,000 handguns in this country, held by private citizens by just regular people…30,000 people die every year, gun inflicted injuries, and so what Trayvon has done I think is he woke us up to the atrocities that are happening every day and has reminded us that we cannot sit until we have put some laws in place that protect our kids because Trayvon happened to be a case that has been wildly publicized and talked about, but there’s 3,000 other boys of color, that die every year of gunshot wounds and it’s almost like we’ve accepted that.  And so me doing this cover of my son was a sign or it was a gesture to not just Trayvon, but all these other victims and they’re not forgotten and that we are willing to do whatever it takes to take responsibility for that and to make some changes hopefully.

Q:  “Baggage Claim” is all about traveling, so one of our questions is have you ever had a funny fan encounter at the airport?

Boris Kodjoe:  Well on the plane it happens a lot…the stewardess brings me a couple of napkins with notes, and autograph requests or picture requests and stuff like that.  That happens quite frequently.  Other than that in different countries sometimes, people come up to you and they call you either Kobe Bryant or Magic Johnson, because you’re over six feet and black.  Or they actually remember you were from a specific movie and that’s always fun when they tell you about their experience watching a movie in their own language.

Q:  Can you also speak about some of your favorite places to travel?

Boris Kodjoe:  Well I love to go home, I spend a lot of time back home in Germany and with my kids and my wife.  I love to travel to the South Pacific.  I love Fiji, I spent a lot of time there recently.  I love to travel to Africa, going back next month and spend a lot of time in Ghana where my dad is from. I consider traveling the biggest luxury we have.  Every time I get on a plane and go somewhere, and I can show my kids different cultures and places, it’s always, it’s an amazing experience for me.

Q And also your character appears to be the perfect man. Can you share a fun romantic story?

Boris Kodjoe:  My wife did something for me that nobody’s ever done for me, which was the experience where I knew that I had to marry that woman. Before we married, she surprised me on my birthday and picked me up in a limo and I thought we were going to a restaurant, and we went to the airport.  And she had stolen my passport and packed and stuff and she took me to Tahiti for a week.  That was very romantic.  I loved it.

Would you do a “Soul Food” reunion show?

Boris Kodjoe:  I would do a reunion dinner!  Like pick a restaurant, we’ll all get together and have some dinner. You know a “Soul Food” reunion I think is romanticizing something that could never happen because I think we caught lightning in the bottle, and it was just the perfect timing, perfect cast, the perfect writer in Felicia Henderson who put everything together.  And it meant so much to so many people and it was what it was because of those things and it could never be again and I think that you have to leave that alone because if you temper with it, you run the risk of destroying what has been so amazing.  So I like the memories, I love that we can watch it at anytime on DVD and sort of reminisce, and I love that it still has such a presence and such an amazing effect on people when they talk about it and I want to keep it that way.