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Interview: Chatting w/ Paula Patton & Derek Luke About 'Baggage Claim'

by Masha Dowell
September 30, 2013 3:14 PM
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In David E. Talbert’s, “Baggage Claim”, Derek Luke offers us a character that's grounded, charismatic, and thoughtful. He give us a noble man.

Unlike his previous roles, in this film, you will get to see his amazing on screen chemistry with Paula Patton. In my humble opinion, and to my surprise, the chemistry between the two was way better than Paula and Laz Alonso in “Jumping The Broom”. I hate to compare, but I did, and those are my thoughts.

Maybe it's the scientist in me, but I am deeply interested in why some actors have on screen chemistry that melts our hearts, and then some just don’t do it.

In  “Baggage Claim,” Derek takes on the role of William Wright. He is gentle, kind, moves slow, and is deeply loyal. His character is the guy that you do not pay attention to if you are in pursuit of love. If you are chasing love, you will race right past him, because his movement in life is slow and relaxed. His character thinks before he acts.

Shadow and Act was able to catch up with Derek to talk "Baggage Claim," his role selection, and more.

Shadow and Act: Is it fair to say that you’ve been very selective in the roles that you have taken? The roles are noble. Is this by design or strategy?

Derek Luke: My Dad was not there when I was growing up, and I always had this longing for him. So as an actor I would tell myself stories about where he was. So as an actor now, I’m getting to tell the other side of that coin. So, the nobility, is more so by design on how God made me, rather than strategy.

Shadow and Act: Can you tell us about your character in the film?

DL: I play a character by the name is William Wright. He is a combination of a guy that I’ve been, and a man that I remember hearing my mom and her girlfriends talk about when I was a kid. The guy that wanted a commitment, that’s the character of the man that I play in this film. I was initially submitted to play Damon Diesel. And I really wanted to play that role. But when I read the script, in my heart, I knew that was not the role for me. But I wanted to show my comedic chops. For me, that would've been a more of a career risk.

Shadow and Act: How did you prepare for the role?

DL: I prepared for the role through the audition.

Shadow and Act: How so?

DL: I really did not want to go into the audition. Sometimes my faith becomes more sensitive to how people feel, as opposed to what needs to be. So if David was looking at another actor for this role, I would have been like oh cool. That’s great, but David was looking to me to bring life into this character.

SA: You’ve been in Hollywood for more than a decade now. Has it been everything that you’ve thought it would be?

DL: Hollywood is a place where if you abide by the rules and laws, you can get depressed. That’s why faith and spirituality is a higher law. In saying all of that, I feel that personally, when people feel like I have done my best, I now know its time for me to move into developing my own ideas. What I’ve done to date has just been school and training. But who I am, is a whole different cat. I’m from Jersey, I have another story. Its not what Hollywood can do for you, its what you bring to Hollywood. That’s a quote, and its a quote that I have to actually develop. Its one thing to bring to Hollywood what they are hiring, but what about what you are adding?

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More: Paula Patton, Derek Luke

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  • Alias | September 30, 2013 7:14 PMReply

    @Sarah and @scripttease ... Derek Luke is another actor who doesn't have any on-screen chemistry with his leading ladies, either. ... some people just have a certain mystic, charisma and je ne sais quoi while others don't.

  • Sarah | September 30, 2013 6:35 PMReply

    Laz Alonso is a poor example. He lacks chemistry with everyone. Not just Paula. He had no chemistry with Meagan Good either. As for the film, I hated it. I hated the book so I already knew I would hate the adaptation. As for chemistry between Paula & Derek, it was based in friendship, all they had to do was like each other as human beings and they would generate chemistry onscreen IMO. As for a love connection, I didn't feel it between them or any of the characters in the film. I left the film empty. I believe she settled for what's was convenient.

  • Donella | October 1, 2013 12:08 PM

    "I left the film empty." Likewise.

  • scriptTease | September 30, 2013 3:33 PMReply

    "Maybe it's the scientist in me, but I am deeply interested in why some actors have on screen chemistry that melts our hearts, and then some just don’t do it."
    IMO, some characters just do not match in appearance/looks; they're off balance. And maybe they feel the chemistry, but the audience doesn't. Again, my opinion.

  • Rane | September 30, 2013 7:37 PM

    Ah...chemistry! The one thing that can never be predicted or force if it's just not there. Off screen as well... it's hot or it's not. Although I directed a couple who didn't have any chemistry the first days of rehearsal until they both let themselves go completely- which proves it was there along.

  • THE PRESENCE | September 30, 2013 3:19 PMReply

    Why Paula Patton is a terrible actress: "I don't try to intellectualize characters too much. But I always think of the audience. I always make sure that my characters are likeable." And scene.

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