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Women are complicated beings: Angela Bassett (IANS Interview)


IANS Paris
Don't waste education on acting -- this was the initial reaction that Angela Bassett got from her family when she announced her decision to step into showbiz. But she didn't see it as an impossible mission.
Be it "Black Panther" or the recently released "Mission: Impossible Fallout", the Oscar nominated actress is always seen in a strong position in the narrative. And Bassett says all the characters she has portrayed have been a "natural part" of her personality.
Asked whether there was a 'mission impossible' in her life, the actress laughed and took a brief pause, before admitting her initial struggle.
"I remember one of the first things that an aunt said to me was 'Don't waste an education on acting'. The whole idea of being an actress or an actor seemed impossible to someone of her generation. But to a young 19-year-old, it didn't seem impossible," Bassett told IANS in an interview during the "Mission: Impossible Fallout" global junket here.
"You are full of wonder, determination, spirit, drive and passion and with those things, nothing is impossible," she added.
Bassett has made a place for herself with projects like "The Jacksons: An American Dream", "The Rosa Parks Story", "American Horror Story", "Master of None", and earning an Oscar nomination for "What's Love Got to Do With It".
She has entered the "Mission: Impossible" universe as a no-nonsense CIA director Erica Sloan. The Paramount Pictures movie is distributed in India by Viacom18 Motion Pictures. It opened in India on July 27 in English, Hindi, Tamil and Telugu.
Talking about her roles, she said: "I think they resonate with me... Who I am and from where I come from... You know from the south, from a single parent and an African-American. There are struggles that you have to overcome.
"I think you have to have a great deal of strength and resilience to be able to take that journey and to take on some of these experiences and not be disillusioned or discouraged."
She feels she "brings a lot of that" to her work.
"The roles that I have played, they are just natural part of me. I think I have been able to use that in roles especially because it is something that I like to say in the world about what we as women are capable of."
What are women capable of?
"We are capable, we are strong, we have a voice -- and that we can be all those things and more. We can be mysterious, beguiling, brilliant, vulnerable and no-nonsense. We are complicated beings."
The 59-year-old feels that the doors leading to a shift in things for women in Hollywood and the world has opened thanks to the discussions around women empowerment and gender parity.
"I think this dialogue, this discourse upsets the status quo, and what is being going on is good. It is a wonderful thing and I think once you crack that door and once we see what we have seen, we can't unsee it and we can't close and lock that door again.
"It will just broaden and that is good news."
(The writer was in Paris at the invitation of Viacom18 Motion Pictures. She can be contacted at

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First Published: Jul 29 2018 | 4:12 PM IST

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