The Pride Interview with Kam Williams
(pictured with Terrence Howard)
Born in Minneapolis, Minnesota on April 17, 1967, Kimberly Elise Trammel studied acting at the University of Minnesota, where she earned her bachelor's degree in communications before continuing her studies at the American Film Institute. Though she made her screen debut in 1996 in Set It Off, Kimberly first caught the public's eye with her work in Beloved.
Subsequent appearances in films like Bait and John Q served to establish her name further until her breakout role arrived as the abuse victim in the center of Woman, Thou Art Loosed. Since that unforgettable performance, the attractive actress has appeared on the big screen in the Manchurian Candidate and Diary of a Mad Black Woman. On TV, she stars on the CBS crime drama Close to Home, where she plays prosecutor Maureen Scofield.
Here's she talks about her latest feature film, Pride, where she appears opposite Terrence Howard as Sue Davis. The inspirational bio-pic recounts the efforts of real-life role model Jim Ellis to found an African-American swimming team in a disadvantaged Philly neighborhood back in the Seventies.
Kam Williams (KW): How would you describe your character's motivation in this movie?
Kimberly Elise (KE): My character, Sue, is a councilwoman in the community, and also the older sister and guardian of one of the young swimmers. And my fight is for the community, also. I want great things to happen there, for it to turn around, so all the kids can get a good education, and come back and continue to build it up. I don't really get the swimming thing, at first. I'm much more traditional, and believe in getting a good education to be able to go out into the world and make a difference. But I come around, eventually, and see the value in it. I become one of the team's biggest supporters, and help take the team very far.
KW: What attracted you to this project?
KE: I think it's always nice to have a film where the underdog comes out on top, doing their best, and surpasses everybody's expectations. Especially when it has characters you really care about, individuals you get to know and want good things to happen for. And when they do happen, you leave the theater feeling good, and thinking about those people you met and what happened to them. And to know that Jim Ellis is a real coach and that this stuff really happened, makes those feelings even stronger.
KW: What did you think of Sue's relationship with Jim?
KE: At first, I don't really get what he's doing. I don't completely trust him. So, I'm really protective of these kids, especially my brother, and our community. And I don't want the kids to be distracted by pipe dreams. I feel that if that's what he's bringing in, that's not going to help them. That's my initial opposition to him, but eventually I see he has a great heart, that he has great intentions, that he's genuine, and that he's the real deal. He can teach these kids to swim and to blow everybody's mind.
KW: What was it like working opposite Terrence?
KE: Terrence is just such an extraordinary actor. He's multi-layered, and multi-dimensional, and never chooses the clich’d approach. I love working with him, because we dance, basically, and sort of volley back and forth, throwing new things at each other. And we always manage to catch them and to create something new and exciting. It's really fun to work with an actor like that who's really intelligent and creative. You don't often find that combination. So, he just infuses Jim with intelligence and sensitivity and strength and all of these other elements which make for a great hero.
KW: And Bernie Mac?
KE: Bernie plays Elston, lovable Elston. Bernie is very sensitive and strong, and he brings a wit and a humor and a sincerity to the film that is really valuable.
KW: What did you think about the young actors' swimming ability?
KE: Supposedly, black people can't swim. But within a matter of weeks, these boys were really swimming. Even if they don't become professional swimmers and go to the Olympics, or whatever, they exceeded everybody's expectations, including their own. And that's just the beginning of continuing to exceed expectations.
The Pride - Film Review
Terrence Howard The Pride Interview with Kam Williams
Kimberly Elise: The Great Debaters Interview
Movie Info from Rottentomatoes.com
Mar 23, 2007 Wide
Based on true events, Lionsgate's PRIDE tells the inspiring story of Jim Ellis, a charismatic schoolteacher in the 1970s who changed lives forever when he founded an African-American swim team in one of Philadelphia's roughest neighborhoods. more...
PG, for thematic material, language including some racial epithets, and violence
Lions Gate Films