An interview by Aramide Tinubu for Ebony
We’ve adored the mega-talented Garcelle Beauvais for over two decades from her roles in The Jamie Foxx Show to NYPD Blue and most recently The Magicians and the syndicated talk show Hollywood Today Live. Now, the Haitian actress is tackling one of the summer’s most highly anticipated films with a top-secret role in Spider-Man: Homecoming.
Ahead of the film’s premiere, we sat down with the actress, model and producer to chat about her exciting new project. We also discussed her new production company, Beauvais Wilson Productions, which produces a plethora of diverse stories for a multitude of platforms, and why it’s such an exciting time to be a woman in Hollywood.
EBONY.com: Congratulations on your role in Spider-Man: Homecoming. What was it like to be a part of the Marvel family in such a major film franchise?
Garcelle Beauvais: Oh, completely surreal and exciting, and I mean, just to be a part of the movie was just sort of like unbelievable, and the fact that I got offered the role and didn’t have to even audition for it. The fact that my kids can actually see something that I’m in that they’re excited about is just icing on the cake.
EBONY.com: The film is totally under wraps at the moment. We’ve heard a few things about cameos, but that’s it. Could you tell me a little bit more about your role in the film?
GB: Like you said. Everything’s been really secretive. I mean, even when I was flying out to Atlanta to shoot, I didn’t even know what my character was. We never got a script. We never got anything until we were basically on set. I’ve never been a part of something like that. I even said to my manager, “Like, how do I prepare?” And he’s like, “You just got to trust the process.” They have so much diversity in this particular franchise. There’s so many us. There’s Zendaya, there’s Laura Harrier, there’s Bokeem Woodbine. I mean it just goes on and on and on, which is really awesome.
EBONY.com: Aside from being an actress, you’re also a megastar producer. I know that you just formed a production company with producer Lisa L. Wilson. What was the inspiration behind that? What sort of projects do you really want to put out into the world?
GB: Lisa and I worked together before and we just gravitated to each other, and we love moviemaking. We love television. Even if I wasn’t an actress, I’d still love movies and TV, and I grew up watching TV. For us, we wanted to sort of put our stamp on that genre. I think, nowadays, women are more welcome in powerful positions in terms of producing, or directing and writing, so we thought this was an opportunity for us to get the stories that we want to see out there. Right now, we’re working on a short called Lalo’s House. It’s about sex trafficking. It’s a hard subject, but we felt like we need to come out of the gate with something that will get people talking, and if we can save a child our work is done. We have an amazing cast, and crew and director. We shot in Haiti for nine days, and now we’re continuing the shoot here in LA. We’re almost done.We also want to do movies and TV that are entertaining, so we have a scripted deck. We also have an unscripted deck. We really want to do things that are entertaining, but at the same time have some kind of meaning.
EBONY.com: You’ve been in this industry for many years. Have you seen a difference in what is happening now for women and for people of color in the entertainment industry?
GB: Oh, yeah. Definitely. I mean, when you have the Ava DuVernays, then you have the Shonda Rhimes who are at the top of their game. It’s inspiring, and when I started, that wasn’t happening. I mean, even when we were on NYPD Blue we would have all these men come and direct, and if you had a woman direct … I would even see the difference in the way she was treated in terms of which really didn’t have free rein like the men did. I watched that change, and in my industry, I’ve only worked with one woman DP [cinematographer], and that was for White House Down. I saw her on set, and I realized who she was I thought, “That’s incredible.” And we need to see more and more of that. So now I have Salli Richardson-Whitfield, who’s a great friend of mine, and Regina King directing. It just makes me feel so proud, and I feel like we are finally going in the right direction because we have the ideas. We’re so powerful, so why not?
EBONY.com: What’s next for you after the hoopla of Spider-Man dies down?
GB: Well, we have a couple of projects that Beauvais Wilson Productions are gearing up for to start production on. We’re on pre-production in a couple of things, so hopefully, that will continue, and I will continue working as an actress. I love the fact that nowadays we don’t have to be boxed into doing something. I am relishing in that.
EBONY.com: What’s that thing that you’ve always wanted to do as an actress or a producer that you haven’t had the opportunity to do just yet?
GB: Well, I think this producing thing, for me I’ve done, you know, here and there, but to actually be able to see a project from conception to putting it out there is something that I’ve never done, and it’s been a little scary, but at the same time revitalizing because I get to be in a different part of the acting world. Normally, I come in and the script’s already done, and the production’s already handled, people are hired. Now, for me to be in that position where I’m making that happen is kind of cool.
EBONY.com: Would you ever return to a superhero franchise after Spider-Man?
GB: Oh, my god. In a heartbeat. I think being a part of this franchise just goes to show that the industry is still going strong, and I’m still in it to win it. Yeah, I would love to be a part of it. I mean, when I got there, one of the executives came up and introduced himself, and he said, “You know, from Marvel.” I thought, “Oh my god. To be able to even say Marvel at the end of your name is just crazy.”
Spider-Man: Homecoming premieres Friday, July 7.