Thursday, April 17, 2014

Interview: Whoopi Goldberg on A Day Late and a Dollar Short

Academy Award-, Golden Globe-, Tony-, Grammy Award- and Emmy-winning actress Whoopi Goldberg chats it up daily with Barbara Walters, Sherri Shepherd and Jenny McCarthy on “The View.” And recently I had the chance to chat it up with this accomplished and multitalented woman about her latest project, Lifetime Television’s original movie “A Day Late and a Dollar Short,” based on the book by bestselling author Terry McMillan (of “How Stella Got Her Groove Back” fame). The movie, which also stars Ving Rhames, Mekhi Phifer, Anika Noni Rose and many more, premieres Saturday, April 19 at 8/7c. Whoopi plays matriarch Viola Price, a woman who learns that her next asthma attack likely will kill her, so she is determined to fix her fractured family before she leaves this world.

Whoopi told me they didn’t have to ask her twice to play the part of Viola, revealing: “The executive producer called me and said, ‘I have this property, and I would like you to do it.’ So I asked, ‘What is it?’ and he said, ‘It’s by Terry McMillan —’ and I said, ‘I’m in.’ He didn’t even need to tell me the name of the piece. Then I read it and I thought, ‘OK, this will be fun.’ And the caution in this tale is, ‘You’d better pay attention to your life, because you never know when it’s going to go away from you.’”

In Whoopi’s words, Viola is a bit of a “drama queen” who was a lot of fun to play: “She was fun. There were a lot of scenes where she should not have been so sassy, but she was. Oh, she was.”

For Whoopi, one of the film’s main through-lines is that when you find out you’re dying, like Viola does, you start to think about the things you haven’t had the chance to do. “There’s nothing like a time frame to make you get your crap together,” she told me. “And your dreams — everybody has dreams. Sometimes people get hardened because they don’t get to live their dream.”

While some of the movie’s subject matter may have been not so fun, the mood on the set was the opposite. And, according to Whoopi, the entire cast was a pleasure to work with. “Everyone was wonderful. You know, it’s like it was a party, the biggest party. When you have this opportunity, which you don’t get very often, you just have a good time. It was nice to spend some time with Mekhi Phifer because I love his work. It was about seeing old friends and making new ones.”

As for a cast reunion on “The View,” Whoopi is all for it, as are the producers of the hit daytime talk show. Whoopi told me: “We’re going to try to get the whole cast. This was something that ‘The View’ asked for, which I thought was kind of nifty. It’ll be a nice reunion.”

Aside from making another guest appearance on “Glee” this spring, Whoopi isn’t spending her downtime from “The View” being idle. She’s got lots of projects coming up, including feature films like “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,” “Big Stone Gap” and “Christmas Parole in August.” And, as she told me: “Hopefully I’ll get to do a horror movie this year. I’ve got a couple of things coming down the pike.”

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