“Oh he’s a theater guy”, was the response that my ultra actress friend made when I told her that I was interviewing Taye Diggs. I love getting solid and honest feedback from my friends. If I were to dissect what she meant by her comment; I’m confident in saying that she meant that he’s a real thespian.
In David E. Talbert’s, “Baggage Claim”, Taye portrays Langston Jefferson Battle III; a potential love interest for Montana (played by Paula Patton). The character will make many of us reminisce and laugh; especially those of us that have dated type-A personality men.
His performance in this film was spot on, and proves that he, as my friend calls it, “is a theater guy”.
I sat down with Taye recently to discuss "Baggage Claim," "Private Practice," and more.
Shadow and Act: How does your character in the film play well with the films overall narrative?
Taye Diggs: It played well. By design you have Paula Patton’s character in search of love. And my character fits in there with the other gentlemen that she searches through. I think it’s cool that the films title is in comparison to bags and different suitcases or what not; and finding love. I thought that was very smart.
SA: How did the casting process work out? Did you accept your role after reading the script, were you selected before the official casting took place?
TD: We never know what goes on behind closed doors. I don’t know how many people got the offer before me. But the script has actually been knocking around for quite some time. I remember a few years ago, when it first arrived at my door, and then the project just kind of disappeared. So I was very thankful that it came back around.
SA: Your character in the film is very eccentric, yet, it’s a very strong role. How did you prepare for the role?
TD: I just tried to create some kind of realness for the character. Comedy, I love doing comedy. That is one thing that really compelled me to this project. In this role, I was able to work those comedic muscles. And I really had a good time.
SA: This is your first of two romantic comedies of this year. You have this film, and The Best Man Holiday. So, how does it feel?
TD: It feels good! We’re going to be busy promoting. But it feels really good to me because I’ll be working, and it’s been a while since I’ve been on the big screen. I think back to back romantic comedies are good for black film.
SA: On our site we had a recent discussion about, “Daybreak”. Our readers were so enthused about the show, however, as you know, the show ended. What do you know about the shows demise?
TD: We didn’t get enough viewers. The network gave us a shot, and that’s what happened. I had a really great time on the show. It was one of the best scripts out there. It was the timing. Who knows why people tune in to what they do, but apparently they were not watching us.
SA: Will we see you on Broadway soon?
TD: Yes, of course. But I don’t know when. Theater is my first love. I just need a good block of time to work a project in. I’m jealous of my wife because she gets to go back and do this really cool musical. So I’ll live vicariously through her role.
SA: Private Practice. Although the show has ended, was that a role that you were very proud of? Can you talk about that experience?
TD: I was very proud of that role and that show. I’ve never played a doctor before. I’d never been in an assemble cast that was that strong. I’m very thankful for that opportunity. I was also given a chance to work with Shonda Rhimes too. She’s the best at what she does.
SA: Going back to Baggage Claim, how was it working with the large cast?
TD: Oh, it was great. Most of my scenes were with Paula. But there were a couple of scenes were everyone shows up. I had that one scene during the sisters wedding.
SA: What do you think people will enjoy about your character?
TD: I’m hoping that they will enjoy his humor.
SA: Upcoming projects?
TD: I have Baggage Claim, Best man, and I’m waiting on a show for TNT to get picked up. If that gets picked up we start shooting in December.
Fox Searchlight will release Baggage Claim in theaters on September 27th. But a week before that, it'll be the Opening Night film at the 2013 Urbanworld Film Festival on September 19.