Actress Tasha Smith has made us laugh - laugh hard - with her off-the-wall, over-the-top characters, from the opinionated 'Jennifer' in "Daddy's Little Girls" to the annoying and abrasive 'Angela,' in Tyler Perry's "Why Did I Get Married?"
In her latest film "Addicted," she is taking on a more somber role as a therapist. Gospel Herald caught up with the Christian actress to hear the details.
1. Playing Dr. Marcella, a therapist who tries to help a woman battling addiction is a very different role for you. Was that part of the attraction?
Yes. As an actress you want to do different things but people want to play that same note that they have seen work in other things and not allow you to show the other range of your instrument. I thank God and I'm grateful the director [Bille Woodruff] and producer [Paul Hall] were open to doing something opposite of what people have been used to seeing me do.
2. How pivotal is Dr. Marcella's role in the movie? We certainly see that it's through her private sessions with the main character Zoe (Sharon Leal) that audiences unravel the root of her addiction.
One of the biggest things that I feel Marcella gives Zoe is the ability to finally stop running from her past. Dr. Marcella is a great role and what I love about her is that she feels so human. She's someone who really understands the concept of hidden struggles and addiction.
3.The film deals with sexual addiction and focuses on a couple struggling to deal with infidelity. What sort of research did you endure to perfect the part?
I went through a lot of research, group therapy seasons, sex addict classes and I talked to a lot of therapists.
4. There are many types of addiction but sex addiction, which is the focus of this movie is a disease which isn't as prevalent as drug or alcohol addiction. How much did your opinion on sexual addiction change?
I heard about sex being an addiction, but I was probably judgmental about it in my perspective. Going through the group therapy sessions and listening to people share their stories, it's real and it's no different than a gambling addiction, than an alcohol addiction or a drug addiction. Addiction is addiction.
5. The idea of going to therapy is frowned upon particularly in the Black and Latino communities. Do you think this movie will change that perception?
My hope is that it will take away the stigma of the things we don't talk about. How we feel that therapy is not something good and that it makes you crazy especially in the black community. In the black community you don't talk about going to therapy. You talk about going to Church. You don't talk about mental illness and how treatment through therapy and psychotherapy can help you recover. Hopefully this movie will take away the stigma. That is why it was important for me bring reality to Marcella Spencer so that people can see a different face when it comes to therapist and they will be inspired to get help if they are dealing with any kind of addiction.
6. Aside from the research, did you do anything else to perfect the part?
No. My mother had an addiction to drugs and I went through my addiction but it never got that bad when it came to drugs. I was young and I didn't necessarily lose my job, but I did find myself losing control when it came to doing drugs. My mother's been in recovery for over 20 years and has been a part of narcotics anonymous for over 20 years and so I have dealt with my mum through addiction and so I understood it as it gave me a different kind of reference to it.
Smith is also well-known for her extensive work on the small screen; most notably, for her portrayal of the drug-addicted, 'Ronnie Boyce," in HBO's Emmy-Award wining series, "The Corner." She has also guest starred on television shows such as; "Nip/Tuck," Without A Trace," and "Strong Medicine."
"Addicted" is currently out in theaters.