COVER STORY: KIMBERLY ELISE
COVER STORY: KIMBERLY ELISE
By Teryl Warren
What do Denzel Washington, Forest Whitaker and Whoopi Goldberg all have in common? They’ve all won the Academy Award in the Best Supporting Actor/Actress category, and they’ve all shared the screen at one time or another with acclaimed actress Kimberly Elise. On April 19, Ms. Elise re-teams with Goldberg as star of the Lifetime Original Movie A Day Late and a Dollar Short.
An adaptation of the Terry McMillan novel by the same name, A Day Late and a Dollar Short chronicles the lives of the dysfunctional Price Family – led by irascible matriarch Viola Price (Goldberg) and the strained relationships between siblings, husbands and wives and parents and children that threaten to tear the family apart. Along with Goldberg and Elise, the all-star cast includes Ving Rhames, Tichina Arnold, Mekhi Phifer and Dreamgirls star Anika Noni Rose.
Working with such a talented ensemble is nothing new for Kimberly Elise. She cut her teeth on films like the ‘90’s cult crime classic Set It Off opposite Vivica Fox and future A-Listers Jada Pinkett and Queen Latifah. And audiences grieved with her as the battered wife Crystal in Tyler Perry’s For Colored Girls. So holding her own with her current cast mates presented both a fresh and familiar challenge.
“I think in any ensemble each and every character and performer brings a special and vital element and quality,” she shared. “I focus on my contribution and know that it is as collectively united our gifts that the project will be its best.”
From the onset, audiences will notice that Janelle Price is a bit of a departure from some of the roles we’ve grown accustomed to seeing Kimberly Elise play. From her perfectly coiffed hair to her beautifully landscaped suburban lawn, Janelle Price, by all appearances, is living a perfect life. And it is precisely that departure from the norm that drew her to the role to begin with.
“I found Janelle to be different than many characters I’m asked to play,” she told us. “She requires both comedy and drama. I love to play with both sides of the creative spectrum, so it was a welcome opportunity for me.”
On the surface, Janelle Price seems to be the only member of her family who has it all together. She has a wonderful husband – unlike her lonely sister Paris (Rose), she seems at peace with herself and her life, unlike her restless sister Charlotte (Arnold) and she enjoys a comfortable stable life that her brother Lewis (Phifer) can only dream of. Audiences will soon discover, though, that perfection comes with a price and Janelle will be forced to battle hideous demons lurking behind the walls of her perfect façade.
While each of the characters struggle with their own deeply personal issues, they, like most families, ultimately find a way to rally together in the face of adversity. But the journey of the Price Family begs the question of accountability and urges us all to get our priorities straight before adversity hits.
“Personally I have always put my family first. They motivate me and inspire me. Every decision I make is made in an effort to do what is best for my family. Likewise, my family is supportive of me and understands that my work is for all of our larger good. This collaboration with my family has worked for me and has allowed me to be a responsible, loving, present parent as well as fulfill my career dreams and goals.”
At the end of the day, A Day Late and a Dollar Short is about all of us, as families and as individuals – the good, the bad, the ugly and the beautiful. Like the proverbial mirror image, or, in modern terms, the selfie, what we see when we take an honest, un-edited look at ourselves isn’t always pretty. The film challenges each of us to examine ourselves and the people we love, flaws and all, through the lens of the Prices. And in the end, audiences will discover that there is honor and we find healing when we have the courage to be truthful with ourselves and with the ones we love.
“ I hope [audiences] appreciate and enjoy the journey of all the characters, perhaps see themselves or family in the characters and ultimately and perhaps consider what lessons the characters learned that they can apply to their own lives. But most of all I hope they laugh, cry and have a memorable storytelling experience.”
A Day Late and a Dollar Short premieres on Lifetime on April 19 at 8PM. Join our conversation on Facebook and let us know how you enjoyed the film!