In the new romantic comedy Jumping the Broom, Loretta Devine gets to flex her acting muscles and toughen her sweet-as-pie onscreen image. This time around, the 61-year-old actress plays Mrs. Taylor, the overbearing, loving single mom who is a shade of gray in the monster-in-law palette. Devine, a method actor best known for her performances in films Waiting To Exhale and Crash, rarely broke character on the set of Broom, but in real life the actress couldn’t stop applauding the work of her onscreen son, Laz Alonso.
“I worked with Laz in This Christmas, so I knew his personality. But when I saw him in Jumping The Broom, the thing that I loved about him was that he was a man’s man,” says Devine. “He was confident and there was nothing wimpy about him. Even when he’s with the other guys [in the film], he stood out as a very powerful young man. I was so proud to see his manliness in the movie.”
One of the hardest-working (and most employed) actresses of her generation, with more than 40 TV performances to her credit, Devine will next star on the small screen as the “upscale” Aunt Honey in the new Raven-Symone ABC Family sitcom Great State of Georgia. Of her latest character, she says, “Aunt Honey is independently wealthy, drinks a little and teaches her niece [played by Symone] the ropes of life.”
And with the many performances during her three decades in showbiz, including creating the role of Lorrell in the original Broadway production of Dreamgirls, the Independent Spirit award–nominated actress still has one acting wish on her bucket list. “There were things that I wanted to do when I was much younger, like romantic comedies. But as you get older, you go, ‘I don’t know if that’s so important to do anymore.’ [But] I would still like to play the lead in something,” says Devine. “I’m still hoping for that at some point.”
(Photo: Kristian Dowling/PictureGroup)