Jada Pinkett Smith stars in the new female-driven comedy that’s proving to be one of the biggest hits of the year. She talks to Susan Griffin about breaking down barriers and refusing to cringe, however embarrassing the scene

JADA Pinkett Smith and husband Will Smith boycotted the Academy Awards in February last year as a stand against the lack of diversity among the nominations. Fast forward to July 2017, and Pinkett Smith is starring in Girls Trip, a female-driven movie focusing on four African American women as they embark on an outrageous reunion weekend in New Orleans.

It's already enjoyed the biggest opening weekend for any live-action comedy in the US this year and looks set to enjoy a huge reaction in the UK too.

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Maryland-born Pinkett Smith, 45, who has two children, Jaden, 19 and Willow, 16, with Smith, shares her thoughts on the movie's success, what it means for the industry and how her other half might react to her on-screen antics.

The movie has had a fantastic opening weekend in the US, how are you feeling?

It's a wonderful feeling for so many reasons - to have a movie starring four women; to have a movie starring four African American women that so many audiences of many different backgrounds came to support. It really goes to show you what women can do when we really support each other, when we flow each other power. I always say one woman is every woman so no matter what our backgrounds are we have universal stories that we share and so I feel like Girls Trip is a prime example of that.

Have you found men are enjoying it as much as women?

That's another beautiful thing about Girls Trip, it's not gender-specific. I've heard a lot of guys have gone to see this movie and not only liked it but loved it and so it goes to show girls can make movies that go beyond just "girls", you know a so-called "chick flick". Men can make moves like The Hangover and women can go and enjoy those and so this movie is definitely, in my opinion, breaking a lot of barriers in a lot of different ways and that makes me far more happy than even the box office. But then you need the box office in order for studios to even want to make movies like this again.

Money talks, so do you see this having a huge impact on the movie industry?

Money does talk and the movie also means a lot for women. The idea that just continuing to pave the way and to show improvements so that other women will be able to make movies like this as well.

There are outrageous moments in the movie, did you ever catch yourself on set and cringe?

Oh no, you read the script and know what you're in for! And for me, that was part of the draw, seeing women giving our licence to cut loose in that way, you know not having to be so freaking responsible all the time. Men are allowed to live in an autonomous fashion and I think women, we are and should be allowed to do the same as well. But we have to give ourselves that allowance.

Would your friends describe you as a party girl?

No, not anymore. I'm the complete opposite of a party girl. I've partied so much I'm partied out!

Your character Lisa seems to have lost her identity in becoming a mum and taking on all the responsibilities that life throws at you. Can you relate to her?

She didn't really lose her identity as much she's lost an aspect of herself because the Lisa that you see is part of who she is, it's just not all of who she is so it's just a matter of her going and collecting those other aspects of herself that she's kind of ignored and she just needs a minute to remember.

Was there a lot of goading between you and the other female leads, Regina Hall, Tiffany Haddish and Queen Latifah?

Oh definitely, there was a lot of ad-libbing, a lot of Regina Hall throwing lines and Tiffany and Latifah throwing lines, all of us giving each other ideas about what to say, what to do, all of those things, helping each other with our character arcs and yeah, it was definitely a beautiful group effort along with Malcolm [D Lee, the director] and the crew and everybody. It was just a beautiful collaboration as a whole.

Has Will seen it yet?

No, he still hasn't seen it but he's here so as soon as it comes out he'll see it. Will is a comedian at his heart so he understands what it takes to make people laugh. I think he's just happy that I'm doing something like this again.

What's next for you?

There are a couple of things in the pipeline that I'm looking at. I mean, right now I'm just looking forward to a vacation, honestly!

  • Girls Trip is in cinemas now.