I remember when I first met Paula Patton for Idlewild. She was so happy to be costarring in a big movie. Five years later she’s still excitably happy, maybe even happier. She’s the bride to be in the summer wedding comedy Jumping the Broom, and I got to jump in with a few questions during her love fest with the press.
CraveOnline: Paula, did you jump a broom when you got married?
Paula Patton: I did not. Honestly, I’ve got to be really real with you. I did not know of the tradition of jumping the broom until I read the script and that’s the truth. A lot of my friends who have gotten married, they didn’t do it. When I read the script and I started talking to people, I realized it was a tradition. It’s not something that’s done all the time but it is something that’s done. I was fascinated by it and I would have because I love that idea. I think the idea that you’re sweeping the past away and you’re forming a union, you’re jumping into the future to become a family, is a beautiful idea.
CraveOnline: Can’t you still do it retroactively?
Paula Patton: Absolutely. Listen, you can get married as many times as you want to to whoever you want to and to the same person if you want to. What woman doesn’t love to put on that big dress and have a party? So yes, I would.
CraveOnline: Does the director tell you how happy to make your character in each scene?
Paula Patton: I don't know if he says how happy to make it but Salim is a brilliant director. Honestly, when you see the film and you see what he’s done and the way that all the characters come full circle and you feel very satisfied in the movie, that’s a credit to him as a director. He does see the full picture so happy might not be the problem but him understanding that you need to save some emotion because we’ve got this scene coming up and maybe do a little more, do a little less. He’s just really a quiet brilliant man that, as Laz always says, never lost his cool. We just all trusted in him so whatever he said, we basically did. And I have to say, I’ve got to give Laz some credit because I knew when I was working with Laz how incredible he was, but then when I saw the film, what I think is really brilliant about his role and that people need to know is that while he’s a man and in many ways has to play the straight man, his ability to allow his vulnerability to show was what was so beautiful and believable and subtle and so difficult to play, that he really deserves so much credit for being able to be a man and a man that women will fantasize about as saying, “I would love that kind of husband.” And then have a heart that’s open enough and sensitive enough to make you really believe it when his girl leaves and that he really wants her back and that he’ll humble himself. Or when all his boys are saying, “Hey, you better go after her” and he doesn’t but then you see him later at the end of the night trying to be like, “Sabrina, Sabrina!” To be able to be a really cool guy and be a very masculine man, then be able to play the great lover and companion to a woman was so well done.
CraveOnline: Paula, how happy and excited were you to be part of the team on Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol?
Paula Patton: I mean, it was the surprise of a lifetime. I was meant to go on and do 10 episodes for Law & Order. I had just finished Jumping the Broom and I had one week at home and they asked me if I’d come in and read for the director. I did and then a couple days later, they asked me to do a chemistry screen test with Tom Cruise. Then I did and a few days later I found out I got it. Really I thank the grace and the good will of Dick Wolf for allowing me to leave Law & Order. I did one episode in good faith to them and then they said, “You know what? This is a life changing opportunity. We don’t want to hold you back. Go ahead and do this film.” It was a dream come true in many ways.
CraveOnline: Was action heroine always a fantasy of yours?
Paula Patton: Absolutely. I am a very athletic woman and my mom had to teach me how to walk like a lady. She was like, “Don’t walk like a duck. What are you doing?” With all those soccer practices and track practice, she was like, “Put your feet together and get it together, lady.” So I have a very aggressive sort of masculine personality inside of myself and it was wonderful to be able to let that go forth and especially after being pregnant, they asked me to do all my own stunts which I embraced right away. So it was a very empowering role to play. I had a blast.