Why Vivica A Fox is so right for the 'Wrong' movie franchise
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During our Zoom video chat last week, I could have sworn that I was chatting with Vivica A Fox’s younger self from like 30 years back.
With her unmistakable exuberance, sylphlike form and fresh face, she belied her 57 years. I guess it’s true what they say: “Black don’t crack!”
Don’t take my word for it – go and check out the social media pictures of her recent birthday pool bash.
The interview started on a zestful note.
She said: “Hello there, darling. It’s top of the day from LA and I’m awake for ya’ll.”
With only 10-minutes on the clock, I wasted no time in diving right in and asked the actress-turned-producer about finding her niche with the Wrong movie franchise.
“The franchise literally kind of fell in my lap,” Fox said. “I worked with director David DeCoteau when we first started on it five years ago.
“He kept giving me a call, saying, ‘I want you to come and do another one, I absolutely love working with you’.
“So me, being the businesswoman I am, said, ‘Looks like we got us a franchise here and I need to produce these as well with you”.
“And he said, ‘Absolutely. I trust your judgement, I love your acting, I love your presence, let’s go for it’.”
The fact that it was for Lifetime was the cherry on the top.
“And Lifetime, I gotta tell you, I love the Lifetime network,” said Fox. “I have a history with the network.
“They were the first network to give me a starring role in my own series called ’Missing’. So that’s where the relationship started, like 10 years ago.”
She added: “What you love about Lifetime is that they give their audience what they want to see.
“So I had ’Missing’, and from there I had another series called ’Vivica’s Black Magic’, where every Wednesday we made it rain a little bit with some fun for the girls, and now we have the Wrong franchise.”
Fox described the movies as “sexy thrillers with excellent acting”.
“And with Vivica playing all these different kinds of roles that Hollywood doesn’t normally let me play!” she laughed.
When asked whether her responsibility as a producer ever clashed with her passion as an actress, she said: “I never feel like there is a conflict at all because I am trusted by Lifetime, my director David and our producing partners, Hybrid Films.
|We discuss everything before we start filming, from wardrobe to the script to the cast.
“They turned me into a filmmaker, what an honour that is that they trust me as an actress and, now as a producer, to deliver quality projects. We are on film 25, we got a formula that’s working.”
Although she isn’t in every movie, the ones that viewers will get to see her in is “The Wrong Mr Right” and “The Wrong Real Estate Agent”.
“I got to put on my thinking cap,” she laughed in trying to recall her characters.
“Oh my goodness, I think that one (‘The Wrong Mr Right’) was Jessica and myself. That was about how, as females, we have a tendency to trust too soon. There is a wonderful message with all of the films that we do. That is for women to not be so ready to jump headfirst into a relationship and trust way too first. You got to take your time and get to know someone.
“But also, listen to your friends because sometimes you think, ‘Oh you are just jealous cos I got a boyfriend and you don’t’.”
As for the second movie, she admitted: “‘The Wrong Real Estate Agent’ is absolutely one of my favourites.
“I got to work with Andres Londono. We first started working with him on a Christmas movie and he just jumped off the screen. He was very sexy, a good actor. In a lot of films, we use our actors a couple of times and allow them the opportunity to play other roles.
“In ‘The Wrong Real Estate Agent’, he was this quirky guy who stuttered a bit when he got nervous. He played a character named Charles and I played a mother who had just gotten recently divorced and I was moving into a new home with my daughter.”
She added that the feedback from the audience when she was live-tweeting was phenomenal as they clearly loved the thrills.
Fox is excited for the return of “Keeping Up With The Joneses”, which, due to its popularity as a mini-series, will be returning.
And she was pretty chuffed to have directed her first short film.
“It was 17 minutes and it was called ‘Through Her Eyes’ and it was on BET Her, which deals with African American women initiatives, things that we don’t like to talk about: homelessness, mental illness, breast cancer awareness and domestic violence.
My short film was about mental illness and homelessness and it was my baby. I cast it, directed, it, chose the colours, got the script together.”
In her over two decades in the industry, making inroads on the small and big screen, she’s also witnessed the transformation and been a part of it.
On having more women take up seats in male-dominated spaces, she said: “Gosh, first of all, thank you for the wonderful compliment.
“Those were beautiful words that you said to me, I’m just trying to keep on these lashes on (laughs).
“But you are right that I have. I mean some of the roles that I play were originally written for men that they then turned into Ms into Mr.
“I’m grateful, like I said, to Lifetime that they let me play strong characters. That they trust me as a producer to keep delivering these stories that the audience can literally sit and binge watch for the entire day, which is what you guys over there in Africa are going to get a chance to do.
“When I sit and the movie comes on and it says executive produced by, it always warms my heart because I love what I do.
“And I’m very grateful at this time of my career that I’ve been given a huge amount of responsibility that I enjoy doing because, at this time, usually in your career in Hollywood, they would put you out to pasture as you’ve done your due. But this time that has changed!”
The “Wrong” movies air on Lifetime (DStv channel 131) on Saturdays and Sundays from 7.20pm.