July 2, 2015 / 9:29 PM / 2 years ago

Jada Pinkett Smith on being the feminist force of 'Magic Mike XXL'

Cast member Jada Pinkett Smith poses at the premiere of "Magic Mike XXL" in Hollywood, California, June 25, 2015. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - From playing the villainous, manipulative Fish Mooney on Fox’s Batman origins TV series “Gotham” to an empowering erotic club owner in “Magic Mike XXL,” Jada Pinkett Smith is no stranger to taking on strong female characters on screen.

Smith, 43, told Reuters how she helped carve her role in “XXL” - one originally intended for actor Jamie Foxx - as the film’s feminist force, and whether her husband, actor Will Smith, will see the film as it comes out in theaters this week.

Below are excerpts.

Q: How do you think “XXL” reinvents male entertainment?

A: Somebody brought up a really good point that usually male strippers would be dressed up as police officers, firemen, so [male entertainment] has this very authoritative feel, instead of getting to understand what are those desires and fantasies that women want to explore with their imagination? So you would hope that maybe strip clubs would get more on that page.

Q: How was your experience collaborating with “XXL” director Greg Jacobs and screenwriter Reid Carolin as they developed your character?

A: They were so open, that was the biggest gift. Reid and Greg, I worried them to death about all kinds of stuff.

It was just like this beautiful exchange back and forth and that happened up until the last day of shooting because Reid would come up with a basic idea for a scene and then he and I would sit down together, “This line is great, let’s try to go here.”

Q: It’s nice to see a more pro-female perspective presented here, you come out as a woman being lit up in the best way.

A: Yes, and that’s how it should be. That’s really what the energy of eroticism should offer, right? In its most authentic, pure state, so I couldn’t agree with you more, it’s such an exhilarating film in that way that can open up a lot of different channels.

Q: Have you seen the film with your family or with your husband yet?

A: No, not yet. That’s going to be fun, Will can’t wait. He can’t wait. He’s like, “Oh babe, I saw the trailer. This is so perfect for you, I cannot wait to see you in this.”

Editing by Piya Sinha-Roy; Editing by David Gregorio

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