*Sanaa Lathan is a Tony Award-nominated actress (for A Raisin in the Sun) who delivers a striking presence and undeniable energy to each project she takes on. Sanaa was last seen on the big screen in the thriller The Perfect Guy, which finished first at the box office during its opening weekend.
She is currently shooting the highly anticipated Fox series “Shots Fired,” created by Love & Basketball filmmaker Gina Prince-Bythewood and produced by Academy Award-winning producer Brian Grazer. The series, which also stars Helen Hunt, Stephen Moyer and Richard Dreyfuss, examines the dangerous aftermath of racially-charged shootings in a small town in Tennessee.
Sanaa co-starred in The Best Man, one of the 10 highest-grossing African-American films in history, and its wildly popular sequel The Best Man Holiday, with Taye Diggs, Terrence Howard, Regina Hall and Morris Chestnut. She will also appear in the series’ third film, The Best Man Wedding.
Her other film credits include Contagion, opposite Matt Damon, Kate Winslet, Marion Cotillard and Lawrence Fishburne; Something New, with Simon Baker; Tyler Perry’s The Family That Preys, alongside Kathy Bates and Alfre Woodard; Wonderful World, opposite Matthew Broderick; Brown Sugar, alongside Taye Diggs, Queen Latifah and Mos Def; Love & Basketball, with Omar Epps; AVP: Alien vs. Predator; and Out of Time, opposite Denzel Washington.
In 2001, Sanaa received an NAACP Image Award for her unforgettable performance in Love & Basketball. And earlier this year, she landed another for a terrific turn in The Perfect Guy. Here, she talks about her latest outing as Natalie Austin in Now You See Me 2.
Kam Williams: Hi Sanaa, thanks for another opportunity to speak with you. .
Sanaa Lathan: Oh, it’s my pleasure, Kam.
KW: I never saw the original, but I really loved this film. It’s crazy!
SL: Good! I’m so glad. I think what makes this film so unique is that it’s not the sort of big, blockbuster adventure that we’re all used to, but it’s really well done. A lot of times there’s more pomp and circumstances surrounding the content. One of the things that attracted me to the film was not only the cast, but that it was really well-written.
KW: It’s very sophisticated with a rather intricate plotline.
SL: Yes, and the magic was so much fun. They actually had some of the world’s top real magicians on the set
KW: How did you approach your character, Natalie Austin?
SL: For me, Natalie really admires Mark Ruffalo’s character, Dylan Rhodes, looking at him as an example. she’s a woman who really takes her job seriously, and wants to bring justice to anybody who’s being wronged. But even I can get confused about who’s a bad guy and who’s a good guy. You know what I mean?
KW: Yes, when the story got too complicated for me to follow, instead of trying to figure it all out, i decided to just sit back and enjoy the film, because it’s so much fun and beautiful to watch.
SL: You’re right. What’s so great is that it’s so intricate and so layered that you can watch it over and over and find new things. You’ll be like, “Oh, I missed that the first time.”
KW: Yeah, I sensed that. How did your director, Jon Chu, and his casting crew pull together such an impressive cast? You, Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Daniel Radcliffe, Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, Mark Ruffalo, Lizzy Caplan, etcetera..
SL: I don’t know, you’d have to talk to them. [Chuckles] I wasn’t involved in the original, but I was very happy to be a part of this one.
KW: Did you get to work with all of them?
SL: My part was mostly with Mark but, yes, I did get to work with all of them briefly.
KW: Is a third installment already in the works?
SL: I read that somewhere, but I’m not sure though. It’s exciting, because there are endless possibilities in terms of what the “Four Horsemen” can do.
KW: How do you feel about magic in real life?
SL: I love it! I was at the Magic Castle in L.A. not too long ago. Somebody had a birthday surprise there. I was blown away by some of the magic I saw. You can’t believe some of the tricks. You can’t wrap your mind around it. It’s a true art, and I have so much respect for it.
KW: Tell me a little about the new TV-series you’re working on, “Shots Fired.”
SL: It’s a 10-hour special event that will air next spring. It was inspired by all the racial profiling, police brutality and loss of African-American lives due to gun violence that’s been occurring in the country. It’s a beautifully-written piece, and I’m so excited for the world to see it. It’ll be powerful, moving and enlightening.
KW: Tell me a little about your character, Ashe.
SL: I play an investigator who’s basically investigating two murders in this small town that seem to be the result of police violence. i’m trying to solve the cases and bring justice.
KW: And congrats on The Best Man Wedding!
SL: I don’t know why they announced that. It’s not real. I hope one day it can be real. But, as of now, Malcolm [director Malcolm Lee] is busy and a lot of the cast is working. But it would be amazing if it could all come together at the same time.
KW: Finally, what’s in your wallet?
SL: I have a little pin that one of my meditation teachers gave me that reminds me to be in the moment and be grateful for the now.
KW: Thanks again for the time, Sanaa, and best of luck with the film. And I look forward to speaking to you when the TV show premieres.
SL: Yes, and have a great day, Kam.
Chec k out the trailer for “Now You See Me 2”: