Interview transcribed by: Albrean Wordsworth
Pam Reece (Interviewer)– Hello, thank you so much, I’m Pam Reece with K.I.S.H. magazine and before we get started on the behalf of Dr. Kishma George of K.I.S.H. magazine, we’d like to say thanks to Reagan Gomez-Preston and Anne-Marie Johnson who are starring in the upcoming movie, Dear Santa, I Need A Date which premieres on TV One on December 8th.
Pam Reece (Interviewer)– Welcome Reagan, welcome Anne-Marie, how are you today?
Anne-Marie Johnson: We’re good.
Pam Reece (Interviewer)– Awesome! So, I’ve got some questions. I’m not going to keep you very long because I know your schedules are super hectic; we’re just going to jump right into it. Is that okay with you?
Anne-Marie Johnson: Sure!
Pam Reece (Interviewer)– Okay great. Would you discuss your preparation for this role — have you ever played this type of character before?
Anne-Marie Johnson: Well I’ll start. Well, I’ve never been a mom. So, I had to go into my magic box of imagination and think of my mom. Who is — and I’m biased…I had the best mother in the world. So, what I did was — I used my mother and made her a little wackier than my mother. My mother was a very classy act. So, I whacked up my mom a little bit. Provided my role with a little broad comedy and that’s how I came into the character. I just based it on my mom and added some Lucile Ball to it.
Pam Reece (Interviewer)– So cool. I cannot wait to see this movie. I’m so excited about it.
Anne-Marie Johnson: * Laughs*
Pam Reece (Interviewer)– I’m so excited.
Anne-Marie Johnson: I can’t wait to see it either.
Pam Reece (Interviewer)– * Laughs* Is Reagan on?
Anne-Marie Johnson: I don’t think she’s on yet
Pam Reece (Interviewer)– Oh okay. Well let’s proceed.
Anne-Marie Johnson: Sure.
Pam Reece (Interviewer)– I’m particularly excited about because you know we hardly ever see Christmas movies that are geared towards the African American audience as they are few and far between. I’m a Hallmark Holiday movie fan —you know I watch the Hallmark Holiday movies and what have you.. but you know it’s nice to see our kind falling in love. I also love romantic comedies around Christmas season. So, I’m super excited about seeing this movie.
Reagan Gomez-Preston: Hello!
Pam Reece (Interviewer)– Hello Reagan, so glad to have you.
Reagan Gomez-Preston: Hi, Thank you!
Pam Reece (Interviewer)– So… Anne-Marie has already answered the first question, so I’ll ask you. In your role, preparing for this role… can you discuss a little more about it and have you ever played this type of character before?
Reagan Gomez-Preston: Well Janelle Vaughn is the younger sister, she’s a business owner, a young entrepreneur in Atlanta, Georgia…and she’s very focused on her business. She has a great life and loves her parents. Her life was pretty much fine until they start mentioning kids and babies— grandchildren. So, she and her brother make a bet, because that is what siblings do… no matter how old they are! They make a bet on who can find love and bring someone home the fastest by Christmas. I loved this character — she was a lot of fun; she was down to earth, and I really connected with her…. she’s a go getter! She knows what she wants, and she gets it!
Pam Reece (Interviewer)– Awesome. So, Anne-Marie, what drew you to the project and what was a highlight for you in making this film?
Anne-Marie Johnson – There are several highlights. I think obviously working with Terri Vaughn again – she’s just a lovely person through and through and a wonderful director. It was a very respectful set; people took their jobs seriously but there was a wonderful sense of humor. It’s always nice to be on location for a limited amount of time. It’s nice to be back in Atlanta to work there. There’s a special vibe about shooting in the South with black people, I love it. Working with the cast, I’m sure you can agree with this — that sometimes you can walk onto a cast and it’s stressful. There’s always someone who sucks the oxygen out of the room and you’re walking on eggshells. There was none of that with this cast. So, it was just comfortable because we all had to be a family and we’re actors — we’re professionals! There had to be a sense of respect, love and team spirit and it was boom! It was right there. So… it was an easy-breezy project for me. I really had a great time… it was like a vacation! I loved it.
Reagan Gomez-Preston: I feel the same way.
Pam Reece (Interviewer) Great! Reagan share your experience working with the film stars, creative team and the director Terri Vaughn who I just absolutely love and TV One on this project.
Reagan Gomez-Preston: I love Terri as well; I’ve known her forever. We both got our start on the WB Network back in the day. So — it’s been great working with her and watching her transition from actress to director, which is what I’ve done as well… transition from actress into director. I’ve never been directed by her though so that was really special. When Terri called me about this role, I was all in. I’ve worked with TV One before – I’ve worked will Swirl Films before so I was all in and I knew I would be taken care of.
Pam Reece (Interviewer) – What about you Anne-Marie? Tell the audience about your experience working with the film stars.
Anne-Marie Johnson: Well this is the first. It was the first time working with my fellow cast. I’ve worked with Terri before, but this is first time she’s directed me. So, there were a lot of firsts. First time I worked with this particular production company, but I’m telling you the minute I landed at Atlanta-Hartsfield Airport, we hit the ground running. It was just a class act from A to Z. You know a lot of times you just can’t wait to get off the show. There’s a very crude saying in the business, people will ask to get off the show. I was so sad my last day of filming — I kind of teared up a little bit. So, I was having such a lovely time. It was just one of those opportunities where everything fell into place.
Pam Reece (Interviewer)– I’m so super excited because I am a huge fan of romance movies altogether, especially around the Christmas season so I can’t wait to see the movie!
Pam Reece (Interviewer) – So a question for the both of you — and this is my last question. What other projects are you working on?
Anne-Marie Johnson: I just completed something for the OWN network called Cherish the Day, it is an anthology by Ava DuVernay and which I think airs February 2020 and right now I am working with How to Get Away with Murder and I don’t know when that airs.
Pam Reece (Interviewer)– So cool. What about you Reagan?
Reagan Gomez-Preston: Well I’ve been reoccurring on Queen Sugar since Season One; they just got picked up for their 5th season.
Pam Reece (Interviewer)– Awesome! Yeah!
Reagan Gomez-Preston: Yeah so we’ll see if I’m back. Also just talking about Terri and what she’s doing, being a black female director — I’ve been directing for about eight years in my career so I have some things in the works that I can’t really talk about yet — but you will be seeing more directing from me for sure.
Pam Reece (Interviewer)– Okay! Awesome. Hey, listen ladies I am super excited for the opportunity to talk to you and on the behalf of Dr. Kishma George of K.I.S.H magazine I’d like to thank you for your time. I’m really thankful for your publicist who stepped in to make it happen. I want to wish you both a very happy holiday season. We are certainly excited. I am going to post the announcement about the upcoming movie on Facebook and tell everybody to tune in on December 8th for Dear Santa, I Need a Date. Thank you so much!
Reagan Gomez-Preston: Thank you!
Anne-Marie Johnson: Thank you!
Pam Reece (Interviewer)– Have a great afternoon…bye!