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lime Screen Interview: Taye Diggs

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Taye Diggs

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The multi-talented actor Taye Diggs joins the stellar cast of the new comedy, BAGGAGE CLAIM, playing a highly ambitious politician, who is reunited with an old flame, played by Paula Patton.

The story revolves around Patton’s Montana Moore, a beautiful, bright flight attendant. Worried that she is still single and in her 30s, she decides to track down her exes (with the help of her friends) and find out if one of them could be the man she’s looking for. Diggs’ character Langston is eligible  and single – but is he Mr. Right?
Taye Diggs, 42, plays the ambitious and controlling Langston Jefferson Battle III in the upbeat and entertaining rom com BAGGAGE CLAIM. He’s an attractive and dynamic man, who likes to be in charge - all the time. Paula Patton is a woman who is looking for a husband. Her sister is engaged and her overbearing mother believes fulfillment for women lies in marriage and a family. Patton’s Montana Moore is under pressure to tie the knot and sets out to find Mr. Right in just 30 days, before her younger sister’s wedding. Rather than looking for new dates, she (and her two colleagues and friends, played Jill Scott and Adam Brody) decide to reconnect with her old boyfriends, find out their travel plans and arrange chance encounters with the unsuspecting men.
Langston seems like a great prospect – ostensibly at least. When he is reunited with Montana, whom he dated years ago, he’s taken by her brains and beauty, but less impressed by her independent spirit. His controlling nature makes Montana realize what she will and won’t do for love. 
Multi-talented actor Taye Diggs has starred in numerous stage productions including the hit Broadway hits RENT and CHICAGO He made his film debut in HOW STELLA GOT HER GROOVE BACK. His big screen credits also include HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL, THE WOOD, THE WAY OF THE GUN, CHICAGO (2002), BROWN SUGAR, JUST A KISS, MALIBU’S MOST WANTED, DRUM and CAKE Diggs’ next projects are THE BEST MAN HOLIDAY, a sequel to THE BEST MAN and  THE TRIALS OF CATE MCCALL. 
Diggs is the author of a children’s book:  CHOCOLATE ME! released in 2011.   
The actor, who has a four-year old son, Walker, with his wife, the actress and Broadway star, Idina Menzel, sat down in LA to discuss the film, his career and family life. 

Q: What was the appeal of the film?

A: “I like the take on it. It reminds me of the actual baggage that exists in airports and the baggage we carry around in relationships. I love that concept. My character is overly ambitious - a politician, who’s just thinking about being Number One. The interaction between my character and Paula’s character is really interesting. You see a chauvinistic side to this man; he’s very controlling, and he’s got a dog (laughs). So that shows a different side to him as well. He was a really fun character to play. The film has great writing. One of the things I like about this movie is the specificity of a lot of the characters. Obviously, as an actor, that makes it much more fun.”

Q: In real life politics, are you a fan of President Obama?

A: “I’m a strong supporter of Obama; I think he’s doing a great job.” 

Q: Do you identify with this character in any way?

A: “I’m working on being less controlling in my life (laughs), and I once had a small dog. Those are two similarities right there.”

Q: Langston Jefferson Battle is every woman’s worst nightmare because although he’s successful, he’s chauvinistic and sexist. Do you think that is still common in men?

A: “Oh absolutely, in men and in women. Sure, I do.” 

Q: Did you know when you first met your wife, Idina Menzel, that she was The One?

A: “No, no. It took us a while. We didn’t like each other at first. Then we gave each other a chance and became friends. Then after we were friends, we realised we could become something more.  It wasn’t love at first sight at all.”

Q: What makes a good relationship?

A:  “(laughs) If we all knew that, we’d be rich!”

Q: You’re both successful actors, does that make it easier?

A: “This is our tenth year of marriage. Sometimes it’s easier and sometimes it’s more difficult. I think every couple deals with the same basic issues: for us there is the travel and the work. That can vary but regardless of what you are and what you do, relationships take work.”

Q: Would you like to act with your wife again?

A: “I’d like that. I’d like to do a concert with my wife. That would be cool. I’d like to do some comedy. Doing this movie was fun and I had forgotten how much fun comedy is.” 

Q: Are you enjoying fatherhood?

A: “It’s the best.  I love my little dude (Walker, born September 2, 2009), and I’m just bowled over every day. When he wakes up and there’s that vocabulary coming at me, it’s an amazing experience. We’re right there. We have help. We need help because we’re both working and travelling, but he travels with us. He’s a great companion. He fits perfectly in my carry-on. Just kidding.”

Q: Has fatherhood changed your priorities? 

A: “Sure. Everything stops being about you, and it kind of happens naturally. At least for me it did. I’m far more vulnerable than I’ve ever felt in my life just because I can’t be looking over him 24 hours a day, and I’m worried something’s going to happen. You don’t experience love as big as this love of being a father. Your whole world and who you are as a person gets flipped all around.” 

Q: Did you know that you wanted to perform very early on?

A: “I knew that I liked performing. I didn’t know that I wanted to do what I do now as a career, until I went to college. I just kept doing what I enjoyed. Luckily, my mother put me in the right place at the right time, so I could blossom.” 

Q: Would you say success a mixture of luck and talent?

A: “Oh, of course. It’s a mixture of all of it. I tell young people, ‘do your work. Make sure you come prepared.’ The rest is luck. It’s just a numbers game.” 

Q: What inspired your great children’s book, ‘Chocolate Me!’?

A: “I wrote that book because when I was young there were issues that I had to deal with. My mother did a really great job.  Even today I think back to how she brought the idea of self-esteem, self-love and self-empowerment to my life. I grew up in a neighbourhood in which I was the only black kid. All the kids made fun of the fact my skin was dark, my hair was curly and my nose was wide. So I went in and cried to my mother, and she gave me a lesson in self-empowerment and self-love. Instead of calling us black or Negro or African American she referred to us all as ‘chocolate’. At that time in my life, chocolate was everything positive to me so it was kind of what I needed to feel better about myself. I hope kids will benefit, if they have gone through something similar to what I went through.”  

Q: What values are you imparting to your son? 

A: “Therein lies the rub. I want my child not to have to deal with any of the madness that I did, but at the same time I want him to be prepared. So we’re taking it day by day. I read him ‘Chocolate Me!’ We just try and teach him to be a good person, to not judge and to accept others.”
BAGGAGE CLAIM is released through Fox Searchlight across the UK and Ireland on 11 October 2013. 

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