Your husband comes forward and tells you he has been having an affair. As you try to put your life back together, you discover that the new man with whom you just fell in love has some secrets, too. What do you do? That’s the situation for Natalie in “And Then There Was You,” which releases to DVD on Feb. 11.
The Chico Movie Examiner recently conducted an over-the-phone interview with actress Garcelle Beauvais, who plays Natalie in the film. Many may know Beauvais from TNT’s “Franklin & Bash,” and she also had roles in Robert Zemeckis’ “Flight” and Roland Emmerich’s “White House Down.”
Beauvais, a divorcee herself, discusses how her real experiences helped her understand Natalie’s emotions; the balance she has between her career and spending time with her children; and one role she had in an episode of “Arrested Development.” Check out the full interview below.
David Wangberg: When we first meet your character, Natalie, she seems like kind of a perfectionist. She cleans up the little spot on the table and picks up her husband’s clothing. In real life, do you consider yourself to be a perfectionist?
Garcelle Beauvais: Oh, hell no. First of all, I’m a mother. [laughs]
I would have to be crazy if I was a perfectionist, because with two little ones, it’s crazy. I wouldn’t say I’m a perfectionist, but I’m slowly but surely feeling like, maybe, a little bit of a control freak. [laughs]
But I’m working on that. I think [I’m] not a perfectionist, but I like things done my way.
DW: I was looking up your profile, and I saw that you have gone through divorces in the past. Having gone through those, do you think that helped you better understand Natalie with the emotions of going through it?
GB: Oh, absolutely. I think that’s what makes you an actor. It’s pulling from your life – your strengths [and] your weaknesses and putting them into a character. I think it definitely added to the emotions, for sure, because you kind of have to pull from what you know. Anybody who has had any heartbreak can understand what Natalie is going through.
DW: There’s a moment in the film where Joshua, when he first introduces the kids, they’re in photos in his wallet. When it comes to you, do you prefer to have photos of your kids in your wallet or purse, or do you prefer to have them on a cell phone like a lot of other people do?
GB: Definitely cell phone, because I have so many pictures of them, it would be a suitcase if I was carrying [pictures] in my bag. That’s what phones are great for now. You can have a camera on you at anytime and take any photos from anywhere.
DW: If they had written Natalie to where she could have had kids, do you think she would have had them on a cell phone, or do you think she would have had them in her wallet like Josh did?
GB: I think she probably would have had them in her wallet. What I like to think about the movie, to a certain extent, it’s kind of old school in a way. It’s not about the texting or finding out through a text that her husband was [cheating]. He reveals himself to her, so I like to think that she would have them in her bag.
DW: There’s a moment where Darrell tells Sophia: “All the money in the world could not buy you any amount of class.” I know it’s kind of a harsh quote, but I wanted to twist it a little bit. If you had all the money in the world, what is the one thing of which you don’t think you could buy enough or any amount?
GB: Wow! That’s good. The first thing that came to me was shoes. But I’m not going to go there; I’m going to try to go a little deeper than that. [laughs]
I would say, probably, more time with my kids while they’re little, and that’s something money can’t buy. Now, I’m able to have that freedom and [I’m] not feeling like I’m taking more work that I can handle, but probably [spend] more time with them while they’re little, because it changes so quickly.
DW: Do you only do a few projects here and there, so you can spend time with your kids, or do you try to work more so you can provide for them?
GB: No, I try to do a balance. I have joint custody with my ex-husband, so it’s half the time. I try to do things that move me; that I like to do; [where] I want to work with the cast or the director – whoever it is. But I try to do things that don’t take me away for too long. I was recently in Mississippi recently doing a film, and I was there for almost two and a half weeks, and that was enough time for me. Like any parent, you try to balance and prioritize everything – a little bit of work; a little bit of family; [and] a little bit of me time. We’re all multi-tasking our lives away.
DW: With the surge of the Internet, as it is now with social media like Facebook; Twitter; and all that, do you think affairs have increased, or do you think it’s the same since before all of this happened?
GB: I don’t know; I’m not an expert on that. But I would probably say it’s putting it more out there, but I think it’s going on just as much as before. I think, nowadays, we’re just finding out more because we have social media and all those gadgets.
DW: You’ve played a few other roles where you’re the ex-wife or you’re someone going through a complicated relationship. Do you think that playing those roles have become a coping method for you in real life?
GB: I don’t know about coping. I’ve done a lot of work in terms of being aware and self-help books to help me be a better person in general, but I think any time you’re an artist, you tend to use your life and sometimes [the] roles we get help us in life, too. I think they kind of help each other. The more you’re experienced, the more you can portray on film and the more you can get that character out there. So, I think it helps both ways. I’ve also played a lot of lawyers, and I don’t know really anything about the law. [laughs] I think you play different roles that intrigue you. That’s how I go by it.
DW: When Natalie first discovers her husband is having an affair, she just tries to rush everything – to get the house sold; to get out of the house; and all that. As someone who’s been through divorce before, what’s the number one advice you can give to someone who’s going through one or going through a complicated relationship, in general?
GB: They say you shouldn’t do anything drastic in the first six months. So, I would say that’s a good rule to go by. I think you have to breathe and heal and take everything in, and then really come from a place where you can make irrational decision. Affairs are hard; people react in all kinds of ways. Some people snap, some people go out and do good – it just depends. But, definitely, sit with it for a while and go through all the things. You gotta grieve; it’s almost like a death in the family when going through something like that – or a death in your life.
DW: Are you currently still on “Franklin & Bash?”
GB: No, I’m not. I’ve been doing a lot of movies, and I have my second children’s book coming out this year, and I’m producing stuff. No, I’m not on “Franklin & Bash” at the moment.
DW: OK. I haven’t seen the show, so I can’t really ask you anything about it. But I wanted to ask you about another show you just did. You were in an episode of “Arrested Development,” where you played Ophelia Love.
DW: That was toward the end of the season. And I don’t want to give too much of it away, but do you think she might come back for the next season?
GB: Oh, I hope so. I had so much fun with those guys; it was a blast. I’ve been a fan a show, so when I was asked to do it, it was definitely a no-brainer. I loved it. Tony Hale and I had a great time, and Terry Crews. It was really one of those things that I was happy that I got a chance to be part of that show’s history, because I think it’s a great show. I got to play in “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” as well. [With] certain shows, you just want to sort of leave your mark or at least be a part of for a little bit – as a fan and as an actor.
DW: With “Arrested Development,” they had it to where it was canceled at first and then resurrected on Netflix. Do you think that Netflix might be the new way for television, and cable and network television might die out or fade away?
GB: Yeah, I don’t know about dying out, but definitely, it’s the new way of the future. There are so many ways to have programming these days [with] YouTube and Netflix and all these different networks. I think it’s definitely the way, for sure. Why not have access to all kinds of different places to put your shows? I think it’s great. Otherwise, a show like “Arrested Development” wouldn’t be here anymore.
DW: That’s all the questions I have for you, unless you wanted to add anything else about “And Then There Was You” or any of your other work.
GB: No, I just hope people go out and watch it. I really feel like it’s a journey of a woman putting her life back together. Everybody can relate to it, so hopefully people will go and check it out.
This concludes the interview, but the Chico Movie Examiner would like to thank Garcelle Beauvais for taking the time to talk about “And Then There Was You.”