shannyn-sossoman-sinister 2-interview

'Sinister 2' Star Shannyn Sossamon On Second Chances And The Supernatural

Shannyn Sossoman is the “it” girl of horror films. Even if she isn’t particularly a fan of them. Yet, despite her fears, she still manages to shine through the terror. From her role in Fox’s Wayward Pines to now starring in the new season of Sleepy Hollow, she boasts a long catalog of spooky films and even primetime roles in unforgettable films like A Knight’s Tale along with 40 Days and 40 Nights.

Now she’s taking on the role of Courtney, an over-protective mother battling supernatural powers and an abusive relationship in Sinister 2. The scary flick directed by Ciarán Foy debuts in theaters today (Aug. 21) and Sossoman assures you won't want to miss it. “It’s terrifyingly scary and if you were a fan of [the first[ Sinister, you’ll definitely like this one,” she said over the phone. “I think people need to know that, because I know sometimes sequels can tend to disappoint or they can be lazier. I think this director is incredible and people should see it.”

Here, Shannyn discusses bringing Courtney to life, her beliefs in supernatural powers and set life for Sinister 2.

VIBE: What drew you to Sinister 2?
Shannyn Sossoman: I like the character of Courtney, and her struggle and fight. I thought I could do something with that. I think I more specifically, though, I can do really something like that with [director] Ciarán Foy. After I met him I was really excited to team up with him.

What about Courtney’s struggle seemed so appealing to you?
I’m not a huge horror film fan because I don’t like to be scared. I am a drama queen in the theater seat with whatever is happening but I love it when they have real characters and a real story going on that everyone can relate to or feel empathetically. And then the horror happens on top of it. So to help be part of that and show that the true villain of the piece might actually be their father, that’s where real evil lies in our homes with human beings. We all have a dark side and a light side. The evil keeps happening in this world. I believe this darkness because it starts at home. I feel like Ciaran cleverly and quietly showed that he thought that too. So I liked helping tell that part of that story. And I just love second chances. I love that she had a life in which she made a lot of mistakes and obviously wasn’t the greatest mother by even choosing to be with this man for as long as she’s been but I like second chances, and that she stopped it. She wants to make a better life for her kids. I loved her for that. Obviously, it doesn’t end so great in many ways, but she tried.

Can you relate to having a second chance in your personal life?
Yes! I feel grateful that I have two healthy boys. I have a 12 year-old and a 3-year-old so with my second child, I feel grateful that I got a second healthy child and that I also get to be a better, healthier, grounded mother to my second child, in learning from the mistakes I might have made with my first child. That’s huge. I also always feel grateful anytime I get acting work because I do feel very lucky. Even though I sometimes can complain about having to sign contracts [Laughs.] I don’t like to be owned or have to sign years away of your life on a television show. Just for personal reasons, it gives me a suffocating feeling. But as an actress who always wants to be creative, I always feel grateful when I get a good job or a solid script. So I can try to dig in and be better and continue to get better.

Would you say you prefer doing more movies over TV shows?
What I do love about TV shows is that if it's just one long season 'cause then it becomes a really long movie, which is cool because you can get into the story but there is still an end. But I love movies. I hope that they continue to get made. I hope I get to do more because I love to travel and a beginning, middle and an end. I love going into something knowing what story you’re telling. I don’t know what that means [Laughs.] Because with television, anything can happen. [Shows] can throw you curveballs left and right; it depends on the mood of the writers that week. Because our job is chaotic, I need structure. Sometimes in life, you need structure so I’m always like, ‘What area in life can I grab on to [for] a little bit of structure?’ because I know I have to surrender to the unknown of this crazy job.

Circling back to Courtney, how did you tap into those emotions to play a protective mother and a victim of an abusive relationship?
That was pretty easy being a mother. I don’t want to say easy because it’s not fun to feel those feelings when they are happening even if it is pretend but I think it’s just being a mom—those are the stakes right there. It’s like, 'Don’t you hurt my kids.’ It makes you wild on the inside; there are so many emotions that can come out of a momma bear.

Were there any parts that got too emotional when filming?
[Laughs.] Yeah, I think a lot towards the end. I mean it was just too much. I don’t want to give anything away, but I remember just cracking up—because we were out in the field and we were tied up. So I said to the director, ‘You know what? I was just having a picnic. It wasn’t the greatest picnic because I’m back here with this a-hole. And I'm miserable and I’m just playing along. This is the best I can do in this moment as their mother.' I think towards the end it was like, ‘Whoa, what’s happening? This is too much.’

What was the experience filming Sinister 2 like in general? Did anything weird happen on set?
Yes, I was hit by a flying prop. It was kind of creepy in the sense that it was very, very strange how it happened. It was in a scene where objects and unseen objects were flying across the room. They really were flying around the room but the objects obviously were made out of very safe material because they were made out of foam. One of the items was a trophy, which strangely came apart. The screw of the bottom of the trophy top hit me in the head but it was coming at me so fast and was being propelled by something behind it that made it hit into my head further. And I got a concussion. I think that was kind of eerie but everything is fine obviously. That ended good but mostly, you keep the horrifying aspects of the story at bay as much as possible when you’re not shooting and in between set-ups. Everyone just tries to make themselves laugh as much as they can because it is a very scary movie, and there is a lot of scary things going on in the movie both super natural and very real so you do have to keep it light. I was knitting a lot; I think I knitted a whole scarf. I just tried to keep myself in a nice, fun, light space in between.

Do you believe in the supernatural?
Yeah, little things that I won’t go into, but absolutely. I'm very comfortable with the unknown, and don’t question it. I don’t need a lot of answers. I don’t need proof. I’m not digging through the depths of Google for weird ghost stories to prove the supernatural. I am just completely comfortable with the idea that anything can happen. It’s a strange universe that we are all in and anything can happen.

Sinister 2 spooks theaters on Friday, Aug. 21.

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‘Bad Boys 4’ Is Reportedly In The Works

Martin Lawrence and Will Smith are reportedly returning for another installment of the Bad Boys franchise. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Bad Boy’s 4 is already in the works.

Bad Boys for Life script writer Chris Bremner will return for Bad Boy’s 4, the outlet reported on Friday (Jan. 17). No word yet on when the film will be released, but fans can expect a much shorter wait than the 17-year gap between Bad Boy’s 2 and Bad Boys for Life. The film was delayed due to script issues.

“I just didn’t want to wreck the franchise,” Smith told Elliott Wilson during a CRWN interview last month. Lawrence echoed his words in an interview with GQ magazine.

“The script wasn’t right. And Will, to his credit, refused to do the movie until the script was right. It wouldn’t have been a good movie. We dint’ want that. We wanted to do a sequel where people would go, ‘Oh man, that’s what I’m talking about. It just get better.’”

Bad Boy’s for Life opened on Friday and is expected to bring in more than $67 million in its debut weekend.

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Review: 'Bad Boys For Life' Proves To Be A Promising Crowd-Pleasing Throwback

“We ride together, we die together” never really made that much sense as a slogan, did it? Regardless, the line that epitomized the appeal of Bad Boys, the uber-violent action buddy cop franchise that turned Martin Lawrence and Will Smith into movie stars back in the mid-90s. Smith and Lawrence– now fiftysomethings– are back for a third go-round with surprising and enjoyable new tricks.

In 2003, the eight years between Bad Boys seemed like an eternity. But there’s been seventeen years between Bad Boys II and Bad Boys For Life—the former hit theaters before an iPhone ever existed, just as the so-called War On Terror was hitting full swing and a wide-eyed Beyonce embarked on a nascent solo career. If the buddy cop genre was on life support in the early 2000s, the formula is almost completely post-mortem in 2020; most buddy cop flicks in more recent times have been subversive spoofs (like 2010s The Other Guys) or unfunny one-offs (like the forgettable CHiPs).

This time around, Mike Lowry (Smith) and Marcus Burnett (Lawrence) face the realities of middle age. Burnett is happy to waltz into retirement and into “Papa” territory, exhausted from chasing kingpins. Lowry, on the other hand, is ever more of an adrenaline junkie than in the past; addicted to the thrill and holding on to a “bulletproof” playboy image that’s getting sadder and sadder—particularly when he’s forced to admit he wrecked a promising relationship with fellow officer Rita (Paola Nunez) and every time he peppers his bravado with Millennial-speak like “Turn up” and “One Hunnid.”

Lowry’s disappointment in Burnett’s desire to leave the force turns into something harsher after a shooting forces Mike to take stock and Marcus distances himself from his old partner. Of course, this is all just a set up for the duo to reconnect in the face of tragedy—along with a gaggle of new recruits led by Rita; including a computer geek who may or may not be a killing machine, a young tough guy who hates Lowry for apparently no reason, and Vanessa Hudgens.

Bad Boys For Life has more heart than the lunkheaded Bad Boys II, directors Adil El Arbi and Bilall Ballah don’t forego the departed Michael Bay’s formula for punchlines and hyperkinetic violence; there’s an opening knife sequence that’s almost gratuitously graphic, and an action set-piece on a bridge that may be the most ambitious in the series. There’s only a passing mention of Burnett’s sister (played by Gabrielle Union in the previous film) and an obligatory callback to II’s funniest moment involving his daughter, but a lot of the movie’s emotional core sits with Smith’s Mike Lowry. Smith plays his first action star with an almost meta-level of intensity.

He’s the sum of all Will Smith’s Will Smithiness in one character and gets to play with the idea of Lowry’s machismo persona. Together with the recognition that Lawrence isn’t really an action star (the film smartly turns his affinity for sitting and watching as Smith jumps headfirst into heroics into a running gag), it’s a good turn for the characters and helps elevate the second half of the movie after a somewhat rote first half.

As the film’s “big bad,” Telenovela action star Kate del Castillo isn’t given a whole lot to do, nor is Jacob Scipio as Armas, as her son and steely hitman, who is on the hunt for Lowry. Reliably familiar support from Theresa Randle as Burnett’s long-suffering wife and Joe Pantoliano as the perpetually-flustered police captain Conrad Howard reminds everyone that this is a Bad Boys flick, and the actors clearly relish jumping back into their long-standing roles.

But these films always work best when Smith and Lawrence get to quip lines back-and-forth while dodging bullets, and the easy partnership between the two remains intact, even when the film lags under its own clichés or the sentiment borders on silly. There’s a twist that feels especially contrived and so many self-referential moments where Marcus and Mike seem to almost know that they’re in a movie about Marcus and Mike (who say “Bad boys for life” as a wedding toast, really?), but there’s a breeziness to the proceedings that feels more in line with the easy fun of the 1995 original—as opposed to the frenetically hyperactive feel of its sequel.

Anyone who is excited to see Bad Boys For Life wants to go into it for what these movies have always managed to give their fans; just enough comedy sprinkled with just enough to story to justify eye-popping action sequences and RoboCop-levels of bloodshed. The buddy cop genre was always predictable, but the best of it—classics like Lethal Weapon, Beverly Hills Cop and, yes, the first Bad Boys film—has always been a fun night at the movies.

In that regard, Bad Boys For Life doesn’t disappoint. It’s coasting on the easygoing partnership of Smith and Lawrence, as it always has. 25 years ago, they were two of the biggest stars on television, making a somewhat unlikely leap to action stardom in a movie initially written for then-Saturday Night Live comedians Dana Carvey and Jon Lovitz that was being directed by a guy most people had never heard of. We may be a vastly different audience today than we were in the 1990s or 2000s, but there’s some fun in watching how different Mike and Marcus are too.

Franchises like Rush Hour and Lethal Weapon seem like big blockbuster brands of yesteryear, as a whole generation of moviegoers have grown up with vast comic book spectacles or rapid-chase car flicks overpopulated with musclebound tough guys. As such, Bad Boys For Life stands as a sort of throwback in popcorn entertainment; that reliable action-comedy that coasts on the chemistry and charisma of its leads—more so than otherworldly special effects or universe-building.

The constant mentions of “One last time” statements remind the audience that this could be the final go-round for Mike and Marcus. Big box office returns can reroute retirements, but if this is indeed the grand finale for Bad Boys, there are worse ways to go out. In a world where Lethal Weapon 4 and Rush Hour 3 exist (with talk of another in the Chris Tucker/Jackie Chan series coming down the pike), Bad Boys For Life should be praised for what it does manage to do so well. It’s fun, violent escapism that doesn’t ask too much of anyone. And sometimes that’s really all we need these movies to be.

Bad Boys For Life opens in theaters Friday, January 17.

Director(s): Adil El Arbi, Bilall Fallah Starring: Will Smith, Martin Lawrence, Vanessa Hudgens, Jacob Scipio, Alexander Ludwig, Kate del Castillo, Joe Pantoliano, Charles Melton, Paola Núñez, Nicky Jam, DJ Khaled.

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Tyler Perry's 'A Fall From Grace' Cast Talks The Film's Lessons In Life And Love

Love can truly be an emotional rollercoaster. When it's high, it feels beautifully warm. But when it's low, it can become really cold and dark. The enactment of the latter can be seen in Tyler Perry's upcoming Netflix film, A Fall From Grace.

While feeling disheartened after discovering her ex-husband's affair, new divorcee Grace Waters played by Crystal Fox (The Haves and Have Nots) finds herself alone and lonely. With encouragement from her best friend Sarah Miller (Phylicia Rashad), she goes out to an event where she meets what she thought to be the love of her life which she soon finds to be her biggest nightmare.

Perry plays an obnoxious defense lawyer (Rory) with no intention of doing much defending and instead adamantly insists that his prodigy Jasmine (Bresha Webb) push for a plea deal. But after meeting Waters, Jasmine isn’t so sure about her guilty admission and suspects foul play. When curiosity meets persistence, the film takes you on a journey of unveiling plot twists that will have you on the edge of your seat guessing hard about how the story will end.

VIBE chatted with the actors behind these characters to talk about love and relationships and the importance of being aware.

"Keep your heart open but keep your eyes open, too; Watch out for red flags," said the film's writer, director, and producer. "Keep your heart open. Love yourself before you look for somebody else to love you, and remember that grace is over you and in you," added leading lady Fox.

When asked what they hope viewers walk away with after watching the crime drama film, Webb pointed out: "I feel like as well as being on the edge of your seat and [while] you're watching it and you're being lost in the drama, also leave with a knowledge of knowing what this movie encompasses together."

Legendary actress Rashad concluded, "I think it's always great for me as an artist when an audience can walk away feeling satisfied, yes? But also reflective of what they've experienced and continue to reflect on the experience."

Ultimately, this movie is a must-see and what is said to be Tyler Perry's best work. A Fall From Grace hits streaming platforms Friday, January 17 on Netflix.

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