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Washington Informer: “Preying on Sanaa”

By Kam Williams – Special to the Informer   
Thursday, 11 September 2008

Born in New York City on Sept. 19, 1971, Sanaa McCoy Lathan is a Tony-nominated actress who has been the recipient of accolades for her work on Broadway and her performances in movies and on television. She landed an NAACP Image Award nomination for the romantic comedy “Something New” last year and screen credits include roles in “Love & Basketball,” “Brown Sugar,” “The Best Man,” “Life” and “Alien vs. Predator.” 

Sanaa received another Image Award nomination for the critically-acclaimed FX Network series “Nip/Tuck.” This past February, she reprised her role as Beneatha Younger opposite Sean “Diddy” Combs for the ABC-TV adaptation of “A Raisin in the Sun.”

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Here, she talks about her new movie, “The Family That Preys,” a dysfunctional family drama co-starring Taraji P. Henson, Alfre Woodard, Kathy Bates, Robin Givens and the film’s director, Tyler Perry.

KW: How did you like working with Tyler Perry?SL: Tyler’s great. I love how he’s constantly working on a scene, adding lines. You never know what the scene’s going to turn out to be because he does it so many ways. He encourages [improvisation] and does lots of takes, so it was great. He’s such a professional, and he has an amazing situation down in Atlanta with the studio and with the crew.

KW: Was that your first time shooting a film there?

SL: It was! I really kind of fell in love with the city. And this cast, we really hit it off, so I’m actually friends with a lot of them now.

KW: How did you like playing Andrea? 
SL: I enjoyed it because the role is such a departure from everything I’ve done. She’s kind of like the villain. Another thing I love about this movie is that it’s not about race. It happens to be about a White family and a Black family, but it could just as easily be any family. We’re not dealing with the race issue. We’re just dealing with family relationships, friend relationships, marital relationships and infidelity.

KW: This picture pairs you with Taraji P. Henson again. 
SL: Yeah, but we only had a couple scenes together in “Something New,” and there were always about three other people in each scene as well. This was fun, because we really got to play and got a chance to get to know each other very well.

KW: The Columbus Short question: Are you happy?
SL: I’m super-happy! Of course I have my days, but overall, I feel very blessed, like I’m in a good place in life. I want to continue growing as a person and as an actress, and at the same time I feel very good about where I am. So, yes, I’m happy.

KW: The Tasha Smith question: Are you ever afraid?
SL: Of course, absolutely. Just being a free-lance artist, where you go from job to job, there are times in between where you don’t know how you’re going to pay your bills. Even at my level, you don’t know what’s coming next sometimes, and you just have to have faith.

KW: Have you ever been disappointed?
SL: Yeah, I get disappointed, because whenever you’re an ambitious person, you have to dream big and then let God take care of it. The truth is, you’re not the one in control. You gotta let it go. So, of course there are disappointments. But you have to get up, dust yourself off, and keep it moving.

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