An Interview with Nia Long, star of “Premonition”
BY KEVIN CARR
On March 16, “Premonition” will open. The film stars Sandra Bullock as a woman whose humdrum existence is thrown into an uproar when she has premonitions of her husband’s death. Nia Long plays her best friend, Annie, who tries to be understanding in the face of fantastic claims. Excepts from the interview follow.
Hear the entire interview…
KC: TELL US ABOUT “PREMONITION.”
NL: It’s kind of a mind twister for the audience because the film goes from reality to Sandra Bullock’s premonition of her husband being killed in a car accident. The interesting thing as you watch the film is it’s sort f this journey between did this happen in real time or is it the premonition that it’s going to happen some time in the future.
KC: WHAT PART DO YOU PLAY IN THE FILM?
NL: I play Annie, which is Sandra’s best friend in the film. I kind of made a backstory for her because on the page, the character isn’t fully fleshed out. But you do get the sense that these two girls have been friends for a long time, that they went to college together. Annie’s still single. She’s still in search of the husband, the kid and the white picket fence, and Sandy’s character kinda has all that on lock-down. What connects them is that their lives are totally different, but they have that core friendship in common.
KC: WHAT WAS YOUR LIFE LIKE GROWING UP INTO THE ARTS?
NL: Being born in Brooklyn and spending time in Iowa where MY mom was in college as a single mother raising a four year old on her own, money was very tight. We always had the support of my grandmother who lives in St. Petersburg, Florida, and she’s truly the backbone of this family. The one thing my grandmother instilled in me as her granddaughter as well as the rest of the children in her family that we could be and do whatever we wanted to do. When you talk about children growing up in urban neighborhoods, one of the things that’s missing is the idea that there are choices and options out there. If you expose your children to choices and options, they can discover their own true talents. As a single mother now, I do the same thing with my son.
KC: HOW DO YOU SELECT YOUR ROLES?
NL: I first take a look at the script because if the story is great, that means there’s a character on the page that’s developed and has some sort of message. It just has to hit me. I can’t really explain what makes me like a project, but it’s really an instinct. In some sort of way, the story has to touch me. All of my characters have a little bit of me in there, and I think that’s difficult for an actor to avoid because there’s gotta be something there that you can connect with, whether it be a spiritual thing or an emotional thing. When you look at my role in “Premonition,” it’s fantastic to be the supporting character of the star because you kinda get to take what’s on the page and have fun with it.
KC: DO YOU HAVE PREMONITIONS OF YOUR OWN?
NL: I have them all the time, and I get so excited when I get them. I wake up, and I’m in the best mood. I really pray, and when I pray I ask for obvious signals, signs, people, messages to help me continue on my path. And often times the messages will come to me in my dreams. I think it’’ a generational thing because my grandmother has the same gift. I totally believe in the spiritual realm and that we aren’t in total control of our lives, and God has his hand in everything we do. The more open we are to it, the more blessed our lives become.
KC: WHAT WAS IT LIKE TO FILM IN LOUISIANA
NL: Just being there and talking to some of the survivors of Katrina and realizing that most of the crew members were from New Orleans, these are the most gracious, humble, hard-working, prideful people that I’ve ever worked with. I think a lot of it comes from the sense of spirituality and the sense of belonging that black people have in Louisiana just in terms of the heritage of Mardi Gras and the music and the voodoo and all of the other things that give Louisiana this mythical quality.