Hollywood royalty Loretta Devine shines among the star-studded cast of her latest film, Queen Bees, which is set to hit theaters and on-demand this Friday, June 11.
“Queen Bees” is a story about the senior community of Pine Grove and the “mean girl” clique that governs it, the “Queen Bees”. Behind that retirement home door hides a rarely mentioned world of fierce bridge tournaments, lewd widows and high school-style drama.
Devine plays Sally Hanson, the sweetest “Queen Bee”, whose girlish demeanor suggests something deeper. Sally is a complete character and that was important to me, the actress explained. She lost her husband and is battling a second cancer. Staying active and engaged is what keeps her going.
In playing this role, Devine felt strongly responsible for debunking stereotypes of the older black woman. Sally was generous, kind, empathetic and caring, she said. Devine shared that she felt warm knowing that she could portray Sally in this way, as opposed to the angry narrative that is often associated with black women in this particular demographic.
With quite a track record to shed light on female-centric narratives of friendship and vulnerability, Devine has starred in DreamGirls on Broadway, Waiting to Exhale, and For Colored Girls. While she doesn’t necessarily attribute this model to an intentional mission, she certainly values the true meaning of friendship.
Both on and off camera, the friendship and chemistry between Devine and her castmates came naturally. The characters in the film, just like the actresses who play them, became friends and learned to lean on each other.
“Eventually they became a saving grace,” Devine said of her character with the other ladies.
Devine shared an endearing story about herself and her co-star Ann-Margret shopping at a nearby Ross in Atlanta, where the filming took place. Devine said: She didn’t even realize Ross was wearing pants for $ 14.99!
Like kids in a candy store, the actors pored over their childish tendencies with comedic timing and improvisation and it created some unexpected moments. Spoiler alert: The scene with Helen and Sally in bed, which was improvised, Devine explained.
While the script for “Queen Bees” seems hyper-centered on a particular age group, the message transcends ages. It’s never too late for new experiences.
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