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Queen Latifah Actress Star

Queen Latifah, co-star of the "Beauty Shop" Movie!

One of the most prominent female hip-hoppers of the 1990s thanks to her soulful and uplifting rhymes, Queen Latifah has also crafted an increasingly successful screen presence. Born Dana Owens in East Orange, NJ, in March of 1970, the daughter of a police officer worked at Burger King before joining Ladies Fresh as a human beatbox. Disgusted at the misogynistic, male-dominated rap scene, Owens adapted the moniker of Queen Latifah (meaning delicate and sensitive in Arabic) and was soon on her way to changing the way many people looked at hip hop. Soon gaining a loyal following due to her unique perspective and role model-inspiring attitude, Latifah recorded the single "Wrath of My Madness" in 1988 and the following year she released her debut album, All Hail the Queen. Making her feature debut three short years later in Spike Lee's Jungle Fever, Latifah began refining a screen persona that would be equally adept in both drama and comedy. After increasingly prominent roles in Set It Off (1996), Living Out Loud (1998), and The Bone Collector(1999), the Queen was given her own personal televised outlet in the form of The Queen Latifah Show in 1999. Losing her brother in a motorcycle accident in 1995 (she still wears the motorbike's key around her neck) in addition to grieving a friend who was shot when the two were carjacked the same year, Latifah has persisted in overcoming tragedy to remain positive and creative. The talented songstress has also appeared as both the Wicked Witch of the West (1998's The Wizard of Oz) and Glenda the Good (The O.Z. in 2002), in addition to remaining an innovative and inspiring recording artist. In 2003 Latifah found herself Oscar nominated for her role in director Rob Marshall's Chicago (2002). Later that same year the multifaceted singer/actress would join Steve Martin for the odd couple /comedy Bringing Down the House, a film she also co-executive produced. The film was the #1 movie its debut weekend - bringing in over $31 million.
In 2003 Queen Latifah was nominated for a Screen Actors Guild Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role in Chicago. She won a SAG Awards as part of Best Cast Performance.
Queen Latifah was nominated for a Screen Actors Guild Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role in Chicago.
Queen Latifah was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role in Chicago. She said of the nomination: "I felt like doors opened for the future. That maybe the rappers-turned-actors who really have talent and put work into the craft, can make a serious career of it because it's been done. The precedent has been set."
Queen Latifah was hit with a $15 million lawsuit by a writer claiming the film Bringing Down The House was her idea.
In 2003 VH1: 50 Greatest Hip Hop Artists includes Queen Latifah at # 24. Queen Latifah hosted and performed on VH1's Diva Duets 2003. Queen Latifah could be seen in the film Scary Movie 3.
Queen Latifah could be heard dueting with Rod Stewart on "As Time Goes By" on Stewart's LP As Time Goes By... The Great American Songbook, Volume II.
In 2004 Queen Latifah was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Rap Solo Performance - Female ("Go Head") and could be seen in the film Barbershop 2. Queen Latifah won a NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture (Bringing Down The House). Queen Latifah released her next LP Dana Owens Album - a collection of standards and covers.
Queen Latifah could be seen in the film Taxi. She hosted and performed on Saturday Night Live. Her Dana Owens Album was certified gold. In 2005 Queen Latifah hosted the Grammy Awards and was nominated for Best Jazz Vocal Album Dana Owens Album).

Interview with Queen Latifah and Jimmy Fallon about 'Taxi'

Chicago’s Queen Latifah and Saturday Night Live’s Jimmy Fallon team up in this non-stop action-comedy.

Latifah is New York’s fastest cabbie whose skills behind the wheel and souped-up car help an overeager undercover cop (Jimmy Fallon) pursue a gang of female bank robbers.

Can you talk about rapport - you appeared to have instant chemistry, did it come naturally to you?

QL: I think so, after a while, Jimmy and I, I think we purposely tried to make each other laugh sometimes.
JF: We tried to top each other.
QL: Because we knew we would go there. Man, it was very hard to keep a straight face on that set!
JF: Because once the joke had been said many times, it wasn't funny anymore, and so we had to do something different to make it funny. Something really subtle or some little move. Just do something, whether it's putting my butt in your face (laughs), or you calling yourself Officer Goodsnatch. To try and keep a straight face, you know it, (laughs), it was all new and Queen was only doing it to make me laugh.
Did you see the original French film?

JF: No, I'm probably sure I would like it. I didn't see it because I didn't want to steal anything, or do anything from it.
QL: Same thing! (Laughs)
What do you think about being replaced by a woman playing the part of a guy? This guy has been in the trouble with the law; he's a bit of a bad dude.

QL: In real life?
Yeah, he's quite a reckless character.

QL: Sounds like me! (Laughs)
JF: You gotta meet this guy!
QL: I've gotta meet this guy. He's my buddy, we're gotta hang! I'm going to call his ass. Let's go and get bent and locked up and shit! (Laughs)
He's also French, but of course you're African American.

QL: Right, African-Frenchian - Afro-French.
JF: Their hip-hop isn't quite the same.
Are you a bit reckless like him do you think?

QL: I don't know how reckless I am but I do have that X gene. I can do some reckless things at times. Sometimes you just have to get an effing attitude and not care, because caring takes a lot of energy, time, responsibility.. I am 90 per cent of the time, but that 10 per cent is a beast. (Laughs) I thought it was a great idea to change it, you know. What we are doing gives it a whole new feel and gives it an American vibe, you know.
JF: Luc Besson was very involved too. He'd come to the set and he'd go: (speaks broken French) and English with a French accent: 'What are you doing? Oh, this is a nightmare - put this out…get me a sandwich. I want to move the car this way…' He choreographs it like it's a dance routine as opposed to a car chase.
QL: All he cares about is the action. He cared deeply for the action. He made improvements as he went along too.
JF: We had the guys from X Men 2, do the cameras - the camera unit team. They had a 360 camera that would go from one car, up in the air and over to another car in a continuous shot while the film was still rolling, going 90 mph, which has only been done in one other movie. It was crazy.
What are the dangerous things you do to let off steam?

QL: Definitely drive fast. It does give me some sort of release. I ride motorcycles. I don't do things to be dangerous. I'm more for the excitement of it all. I definitely have no plans on hurting myself. I do like the hike, I like to shoot guns, and my father's a cop. Some people were born with a silver spoon in their mouth, and I was born with a nickel plated thirty!
JF: (laughs) See I had no idea about guns at all.
QL: Jimmy is like sitting there in between takes with his gun sitting between his legs facing him! I'm like: 'Jimmy, please!' He's just so not into it. It's cool, you know.
JF: So every scene in the movie when I cock the gun, I'm like, yeah! That looks real! I was trying not to skip. One day, I had a gun and I had to run and shoot which is not easy and I was like running and shooting….and it turned into a skip… not tough at all. I'm like: 'I'm a bad ass..I'm a bad ass…' It was not tough at all!
Are you a bad ass?

JF: Hell yeah! I don't shoot guns. I don't know how to do that. I grew Upstate New York, so I fought with my fists (jokes).
Are you the scared type?

JF: You know what's funny, we were doing these scenes where we were supposed to be enemies and I just like her so much, the director would go: 'Cut! You're supposed to hate each other in this scene!'
QL: We were like: 'Right, yeah - getting mad. Okay. Back in the moment. Okay.'
JF: So I would get out of the car and be like: 'Hey, what's up?' Let's just call it a day, let's go and get a drink. The movie is ten minutes long. (jokes)
Can you talk about working with Gisele? Do you see the future for as her as an actress?

JF: Well, for a start, she's very ugly. Maybe if she got some plastic surgery or something like that. She'd be good in voice over work. Maybe in radio? I think she has a future in radio.
QL: She's hard on the pair of shoe, boy.
JF: Gross.

How was she on the set?

JF: So much fun. She's so excited. She comes in running and she'd floor the BMW scenes, when she was driving.
QL: She was so good!
JF: They'd say to her: 'Gisele, just drive like, maybe 60, around the corner…' And she would floor it and go like 80. They'd have to stop her. She was awesome. She was doing 360s, peeling out.
QL: They were all kind of ballsy like that. These models in this movie are not prissy at all. They were full on excited. They were looking forward to using their guns.
JF: Much better than I was. I would cock the gun and it would jam…and I'd keep doing the scene and I would just hide the gun….and wouldn't notice that there was a bullet half hanging out. Embarrassing. Cut - could someone load Jimmy's gun again? Gisele do you want to help him? It was pretty cool as this was my first big movie as well. So there was a lot of energy. Everyone was just wide eyed and brand new. It was just fun to be on the set. Gisele rocked it man.
QL: She's really down to earth and is really excited about making it happen. I think she nailed it. I think her sarcasm and her cockiness with the character would play great. When they say cut, there's none of that. She's just like, cool.
Did you learn Portuguese?

JF: Gisele tried to teach me. I have it on tape, but when she spoke, she sounded so cute, I wasn't even listening to the words.
How was she in the frisk scenes when she had to frisk you?

QL: It was pretty funny. She pumped me right on the ass one time.
JF: You should have seen these two together, frisking each other - these two gorgeous girls and everyone in New York City was just quiet. I mean, birds stopped chirping….squirrels were like putting down their nuts….there was just a moment of silence in New York city. Subways stopped running.
QL: There was just a moment of just silence! (laughs)
JF: Everyone just stopped. Time just stopped for a second…it was really unbelievable. NASDAQ was like alright- for a second. Dow Jones who gives a shit?! Dow Jones, the actual man, came out and said (puts on a Texan accent): "Usually they don't see me…but this is amazing. I've never seen this."
Everyone raves about you losing weight Queen…what was it like to work alongside these skinny girls?

JF: Erm, skinny boys. It's no big deal, people have made that mistake before. Do your research! It was such a contrast from your image in Chicago. Can you comment on that?
QL: I definitely didn't want to lose weight for Chicago. I think Mama was supposed to be big, and buxom and full of body…(laughs). I actually dropped some weight for Bringing Down the House - maybe 25 pounds before I did that. It was just a little change around this area that (points to breasts) that people might be thinking some major thing.
JF: She sold her boobs on eBay.
QL: And I got a pretty penny.
JF: My room mate bought them. They are hanging over his fireplace!
QL: It was your room mate who's got my breasts?
JF: Yeah, you've got to see them they're great.
QL: I don't know if I want to see that.
JF: Well, I like them.
QL: Have you been playing with my breasts over your fireplace? (Laughs)
Could you imagine being as skinny as the models?

QL: No way, that's just too slim Jim. I mean, they're naturally like that, I can't even imagine what it's like to be that lightweight. I can't even imagine it. I feel like I would be weak, like I wouldn't be strong anymore. I would have no muscles. Not for me. I'm used to being big, thicky icky. I like myself the way I am.
Do you feel pressure from Hollywood?

QL: I'm so glad I don't have to do that. Jez, I get to eat. I get to have a nice good Thanksgiving dinner and keep it right in there until IT is ready to go! (Laughs)
JF: That would be my point too…(pretends to puke). Good stuffing mum.
When did you find out that you could make money off of being funny?

JF: I still haven't found out! (Laughs) I'm broke. I borrowed these clothes from some dude.
QL: Me too. They gave them to me.
Were you always the funny one in family get togethers?

QL: My whole family is funny so.
JF: Her dad is hilarious. He was on set and he would have me in tears man, he's hilariously funny. He was an ex-cop and so I was asking him a lot of questions like: what would you do in this situation? It was almost like having an acting coach on set. (Laughs) He was really funny to the point when it was the first thing I'd do on set - 'Where's Paps?''

What makes you both laugh?

JF: I like comedy in general. Anything funny or anything that's trying to be funny, I always take something from it. It always makes me laugh. I do love British comedy. Derek and Clive.
You remind me of Mike Myers?

JF: Really? I take it as a compliment, thanks. Schwing…
The Oscar nomination for Chicago has brought you up there - has there been any downside?

JF: Yeah, there have been a couple for me. They cut my scenes out of Chicago! I was in the gutter. My song was cut out.
QL: Cut and print and edit! (Laughs)
JF: And leave, yeah. Cut, leave….I'm sorry go ahead. It turns out I wasn't in Chicago, I'm sorry, I interrupted.
QL: I thoroughly enjoyed it though. It's been good. It's created a lot more avenues for opportunity and I'm taking full advantage of it you know. That's pretty much the only change.
JF: It intimidated me, I'll tell you that much!
QL: A couple more of the paparazzi have been hanging out on my block. Near my home, I don't like that part.
You live in New Jersey don't you?

QL: They don't come near my house in Jersey, (puts on a cowgirl accent) I shoot them some bitch - better get off my property!
Can you talk about one funny experience you had making this movie?

QL: Jimmy farted in the car a couple of times.
JF: It never happen man! I think when I get in the cab now, I'm so used to being there because I was in there for four months, so times it's like going home. It smells nicer in our taxi.
QL: You don't worry what you're sitting on.
Do you think a sense of humour is something that you're born with or something that you learn?

JF: I think it's something that you're born with…
QL: I think you learn what you think is funny.
JF: You sand it down as you get going. I first met Queen when we worked together on Saturday Night Live and you just saw immediately that she got comedy and she understood it. It's very hard to explain to people why it's funny. Immediately she got every joke. If I ever get the opportunity to do anything with Queen Latifah, I've got to do it. Then they told me they were thinking of me to do this script Taxi and I heard she was attached and I signed up immediately. I'm like yeah, I'll do it, what is it about?
Will you be doing a sequel for Taxi?

JF: I would do anything with Queen…
Like what?

JF: How old is your magazine? Do kids read your magazine?
Are you good at drama?

JF: I'm good at comedy, but drama is like…I've got to do what I'm good at, and eventually I'll grow a beard and put out pets sounds. I'm doing this romantic comedy with Drew Barrymore and the Farrelly Brothers, it has pretty good scenes because its relationship stuff….which is acting for me! (Laughs) It's really stretching it for me! So, I'm really exhausted.

There weren't any love scenes in Taxi, but could you do a love scene?

JF: Right now? Yeah sure….(laughs) We had one scene but I don't think it made the movie.
QL: I know, man that's one of my favourite scenes.
Did you have a love scene in Taxi?

JF: No, no, but she crashes at my place and I had an idea for the scene and Tim (director) was like you could try it. She crashes at my place and we wake up in the morning and I'm spooning her! She wakes up and she sees my hands…and I'm like: 'I'm sorry….'
QL: I'm like: 'Get the hell….'
JF: I'm like we spooned, we didn't fork!
QL: I really want that scene back in. That was funny as hell.
How about you're other films Queen?

JF: Please don't call me queen……it does happen a lot by the way…
QL: I'm trying to sneak on a set of Jimmy's movies and poke my face in there. I don't know. It will be at one of the baseball games (Fever Pitch). A background light. (Laughs)
JF: She has an album out that's awesome.
QL: Yeah, I have a new album out. It really is awesome.
What kind of fans do you attract as you reach various demographics?

QL: I've got the weirdest audience on the planet. My demographics have been studied for various things and it's just so many people. It's like young people, it's old people, it's everybody in the middle, it's all kinds of races and ethnicities, it's just weird….
JF: Cartoon people. Cardboard cut out people. You'll see a storm trouper at a concert.
QL: (Laughs) I'm telling you…ghosts…are into me. They hang out.
JF: Famous ghosts.
Why do you continue using a name that isn't yours?

QL: That is my name.
But you were not born with Queen Latifah?

QL: So? You can't stop me! Don't try to take my name away.
Why do you use that name and not the name you were born with?

QL: Latifah is my nickname, everybody calls me that anyway, so it's not like it's a weird name that doesn't belong to me. I like the meaning of the word Latifah, it means delicate sensitive, kind - so that's why I chose that name, because I was always big for my age, but inside I was a pretty sensitive kid. I like that name. And the Queen just symbolized to me the strength of all women have, we are all queens and we should be treated as such, but to me, half of people call me Dana, half people call me La now..it doesn't really matter.
JF: In my next film, I'm actually going to use my real name - so you'll see Drew Barrymore and Dolph Gudenstein of Fever Pitch.
QL: You're going to give them the Dolphster?
JF: I'd like them to know who I really am.
Where is your name from?

QL: Latifah is Arabic.
JF: In my language Catalan (Spanish), it means something different. La-tifah is slang name for…. (Laughs) Get ready. It means dog crap….
QL: Shit! So, I'm the shit yo!
JF: That's what you've been saying - you are THE shit! Literally.
QL: Don't go separating my name over there…keep it together, make it all one word…Queen Latifah. You can actually call me Dana.
JF: You have permission from the man - that's cool. Damn.
You are a huge role model, do you feel a responsibility for African American women who look up to you?

QL: Yeah, I do, definitely to a certain extent. Obviously you can't live for everyone else and not for yourself sometimes. But I've tried to be myself and be proud of who I am and I try to be confident, because I know how I felt at 15, going through awkward stages and curvaceous body and all this kind of stuff. Everything that you see in the magazines, none of that looks like you..so I've had to break down a lot of walls. I'll never forget when I got nominated for that Golden Globe for Chicago, I'm sitting in this room, I'm looking around at all my favourite stars. My partner says to me: "God, everybody is so tiny." I thought to myself, so imagine how far we've come. I was able to do it my way, I don't have to drop 50 pounds to be who I am and I'm glad because that's a lot of goddam work and I'll be hungry. But you know what? I like the flavour I like all of us being different. I like to see different images of people on screen. I think it's healthy for our society.
Did you do your own stunts? You are very fit aren't you?

QL: I think I'm pretty athletic. Sometimes I'm more fit than other times, but I think I'm generally athletic, so I think I can do a whole bunch of stuff. I can kind of do a bit of everything, except for getting up in the morning.
Have you ever gotten out of a ticket?

QL: Queen Latifah has gotten me out of a lot of tickets (laughs). I'm not too good a talking my own self. If they don't recognize me, I'm kind of screwed. I'm not good at saying: 'Hey, I'm Queen Latifah, let me go.' But usually they'll just look at me and say: 'Get out of here, goodbye.' Some of that stunt stuff was too damn dangerous. My stunt guy was like this six foot six, black dude with a wig on that apparently looked like me. He looked ridiculous getting out of that car.
Do you always get this much respect from women?

JF: (Laughs) What movies have you seen? This is great by the way….I had so much good chemistry with every woman in this movie. We had Ann-Margaret in this movie, which's like a legend. We really hit it off, to the point where she kept pinching my cheeks. She just loved me. She was the cutest thing ever to play my alcoholic mum!
Who taught you how to sing?

JF: Obviously, nobody! (Laughs)
Do you sing in the shower?

JF: I never sing in the shower. It's very dangerous. I'm afraid of slipping. I don't want to be slipping after singing 'Who Let the Dogs Out.' His famous last words. I don't sing in the shower, I just try to wash myself in the shower. I sing in the car if I'm out in LA, because you're like soundproofed.
What was your most dangerous moment in NY traffic?

JF: So many. You have to get used to it. The one thing you shouldn't do is try to tell a cab driver how to get somewhere, because they will never turn around and go: 'Thankyou. That's a great idea.' They say (puts on Indian accent): 'You make a right. How am I going to make a right on Madison, it's so packed. I can't f**kin' believe. You want to drive the car. You drive the car. Fuck it, we're not going to Lowes, we're going to somewhere else, we're going to Statue of Liberty. I take out. Get out of the car.' There are so many pot holes, they're like craters on the moon. That's another traffic thing.
Where are you going to be at Christmas this year?

JF: I'm going to North Pole to help out Santa this year. He called me up and he's like: 'Dude what are you doing?'...I'm watching The Apprentice. 'I just want to know if…' I can't talk now. He's like: 'What are you doing December 25..' I'm like: 'I'll see you there.' So, I'll be in the North Pole, giving toys to kids.

QL: Hanging out with Jimmy last year to give toys to kids up in the North Pole.
JF: We have a house party out there. We hang out with Clause and do it up. (Laughs)
Are you going away?

QL: I usually go away with my family somewhere. I usually do the Christmas with the family and the New Years with the friends somewhere else.
JF: I do everything with the family.

Scary Movie 3: Q&A with Queen Latifah

On the heels of her blockbuster film, Bringing Down the House and an Oscar nomination for her role in Chicago, Queen Latifah has just been added to the cast of Scary Movie 3. Since the Scary Movie franchise began, they have gone onto spoof many films and this time it will spoof The Matrix Reloaded. Her character’s name is LaQuisha and she will be teaching The One (played by Anna Faris) how to fight and control her strength. Eddie Griffin will be playing her husband Orpheus. Also featured in the film are Charlie Sheen, Anthony Anderson, Pamela Anderson, George Carlin, Fat Joe, Macy Gray, Regina Hall, Ja Rule, Jenny McCarthy, Denise Richards, Simon Rex, and Camryn Manheim. Dimension Films will release Scary Movie 3 nationwide on Oct.3, 2003. From the set of the film, Queen Latifah spoke briefly about her role in the film.

WM: What drew you to do this film?

QL: I’m a big fan of spoof movies, and this is the third installment, and as long as it’s funny, then I’m with it. If you’re not going to be in the Matrix, then spoof the hell out them. I still get the Neo coat, and that’s what it’s all about for me. It’s all about the Neo coat. That’s the only reason I’m doing this. It’s not for the money, the accolades or the humor, it’s just for the coat. I get to do a cool fight scene and stuff. It’s going to be fantastic.

WM: What will your character do in the film?

QL: Well, I’m trying to teach “The One” how to fight. She has to realize that she’s the One and all the things she can do being the One. So I use my husband Orpheus as a demonstration tool. Eddie Griffin plays my often cheating husband.

WM: What can you say about Eddie Griffin?

QL: Eddie is Eddie and he’s so freaking funny. He’s just quick. He’ll come up with something so quick to add to the scene it that makes it even funnier. It’s fun. It’s getting to play with him cause we’ll just keep thinking of things and adding to it.

WM: Is Anna Faris funny as well?

QL: Anna makes me want to laugh all the time with everything and she’s just a funny person in real life that sometimes she runs in (the scenes) with these lines, and I’m like, “Hold it, hold it. Cut.” And then you get to laugh.

WM: What more can you say about your character LaQuisha?

QL: LaQuisha is quite a number. LaQuisha is a combination of all these different characters. As you will see, she gets to play the sexy woman from the Matrix, and she gets to play Neo and she also gets to play a girl from around the way, almost like a spoof from “Bringing Down the House, but it’s that girl ain’t trying to hear anything. Don’t even try it. You can’t get over on her and if you try to, she’s going to scream on you and blow your spot up. She’s quick to open her mouth when it comes to Orpheus cause he a very badly behaving husband, but he loves her. He just likes to cheat too much. So she goes crazy a lot.

WM: Do you think Jada (Pinkett-Smith) will see the film?

I know that Jada is going to laugh at it. She’ll probably go take the kids to go see it. I would think that Lawrence Fishburne would laugh at it too. Keanu I’ve met, but I don’t know him well enough to say he would laugh, but if he would do “Bill & Ted’s Bogus Adventure”, I would think he has a sense of humor. I think they would probably get a kick out of it and really feel good about it that their movie was so large, it was worthy of being spoof in another movie.

Queen Latifah: Bringing Down the House

"The Queen", as her fans know her, went from flipping beef patties at Burger King, to a huge career in hip-hop music. She tried her hand at acting in movies like "Set It Off", "Living Out Loud", "The Bone Collector", and this year hit a peak with an Oscar nod for her role in "Chicago". She continues on the ascent in wacky comedy "Bringing Down the House".

What was it like working with Steve Martin?

He's actually not as crazy as he seems on screen. He's a really funny guy but he's also kind of reserved, if you know what I mean. He saves the humour and craziness for the screen and, wow, just explodes. In rehearsals he's a lot of fun. He just cracks up and has a great smile. I just love that smile.

Steve Martin fans know that he loves the banjo. Did he play a lot on the set?

Oh yeah, he whipped it out on a regular basis. Actually, the night I met him at a dinner at his house he played some stuff for me on the banjo. He can really play well. I like music, so I was happy to hear him anytime when we were filming.

What was it like being executive producer and star?

It was easy. I was brought on to get the script in shape and come up with ideas and cast it and have an influence on the music. So by the time we started, I was just an actor. I didn't have to wear more than one hat.

Did you have to spend a lot of time teaching Eugene Levy [who plays strait-laced Howie Rottman] street lingo?

Every line I gave him he would just kick it up. He got it right away. Just like that. I would only have to tell him one time. I'd tell him, "You got me straight tripping Boo", then I would explain what it meant [I'm crazy about you] so he could play the subtext behind it. And he would just deliver the line perfectly.

You've been acting since Spike Lee's "Jungle Fever". When did you realise you had a real future in film?

In the early films I was just Queen Latifah. I had to start looking for parts that went against the grain because the movies I was offered were offshoots of Queen Latifah - strong sister, cursin'. I got an acting coach and decided to take it seriously because I wanted to get better. But I'll never forget those directors who took a chance on me before I was trained because they saw some natural talent.

How excited were you to be nominated for an Oscar for "Chicago"?

I was geeked. Shocked! I couldn't believe it. My partner called me and said we got nominated and I'm like, "What? What nomination? The Oscar?" I'm like, "Oh my God!" I just freaked out - I was excited, happy, screaming. I was also half naked, running around the house saying, "Do you know what this means for hip-hop?" It's a barrier breaker. It means people after me can come and do the same thing.

Queen Latifah: Chicago

Many rap stars have attempted the transition from music to acting, but few have been as successful as Queen Latifah. With roles in films as varied as "Jungle Fever", "Living Out Loud", and "The Bone Collector", she's combined a love of movies and music. Now she gets to do both, playing Mama Morton in "Chicago"...

Did you always plan to play your character, Mama Morton, so sexily?

Yeah! It was written that way. She has a little sexy number and Rob Marshall is the kind of guy to bring that out of you. He's like: "Come on baby, sell it, you got this!" He's got a way of gassing you up. When it was time to shoot it all, the rehearsal was done and we just went out there and had fun. It didn't hurt that we had all the dancers and actors from the stage show standing on the sideline saying, "You did it girl!"

There are interesting differences in the casting of Catherine Zeta-Jones, Renée Zellweger, and yourself...

There are different flavours of sexiness, you can have choices in this movie. Whatever your thing is, you got at least one to choose from with this film. I think it was a good way to go, casting wise. To me, though, all women are beautiful. Every woman is a queen and we all have different things to offer. Doesn't it look good to see all these different kinds of women up there?

How do you find time to do everything from rap and TV shows to movies? You seem to do everything except a newspaper delivery...

I used to want to do that. They make good money those newspaper boys. I have a great team, I don't do anything by myself. I have different agents who want me for five different things. We try to map out what's coming up for at least the next six months. Then we try and fill up the other spaces. Meantime I'm saying "Hit the brakes! Give me two weeks' vacation! Don't call me unless it's an emergency." My mother is the only one who gets the number.

Do you want to do more musicals?

I heard my favourite musical, "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory", is being made, and I don't know if there is a role for me. I love Willy Wonka, maybe it's the little kid in me, but I just hope they make more musicals period. When I was growing up, there were so many musicals you could watch. I like the fantasy of musicals and I love music. So to hear music in a scene is just as strong as seeing that scene being acted out. It takes you further into the mind of that character.

I would love to do the story of Bessie Smith because she had such an interesting story. I'm not a big blues singer, so that would be a real challenge for me. But you know, I would love to play Sarah Vaughan and bring her story to life. And people keep coming up to me and saying I look like a young Pearl Bailey, so maybe her story would be interesting for me to take part in. But I also like fantasies like "The Wiz" - I would play the hell out of a big bad witch. Or the good witch. I think I should play them both! It just opens up the world a little bit more for me. I hope they keep making musicals.

In "Chicago" you say that after a little success you forget the people who put you there. Do you think that's true?

Some people do, I don't. A lot of people think they did it all on their own. In films there were some directors who took a chance on me, even though I hadn't been trained. They just saw some natural talent in me and gave me a shot. Then someone else gave me a shot. Then I hired an acting coach because I wanted to get better.

There are a lot of people who helped make Queen Latifah who she is today. I don't forget, but a lot of people do and get big heads. My mom will make me walk the dogs or take out the trash when I go home. I'm not allowed to get a big head, I've still got to do the simple things in life.

On the Set of "Beauty Shop" with Queen Latifah

Queen Latifah headlines the MGM comedy "Beauty Shop," a female version of the hit "Barbershop" franchise. Catching up with the busy actress/producer on the "Beauty Shop" set, we got the inside scoop on how the movie shoot's going and how "Beauty Shop" will differ from the its male counterparts.

How does the conversation in “Beauty Shop” differ from the conversations in “Barbershop?”
Oh, it's a chick thing, first of all. We're talking about things women would talk about. Men, for instance. And I don't think men are talking about mostly men in a barber shop. They talk sports, they talk about women. We talk about men, we talk about issues, we talk about everything. And everything has got a feminine touch to it. It can get raw, but it's from a woman's point of view so the whole conversation tends to differ. We tend to talk more about men and families and our kids and what so and so did and where so and so's been. We kind of get into some of those issues. We get into political issues, of course.

I think a lot of our conversations are the same when it comes to things that we all care about, politics or who said what on “Jay Leno” last night. That kind of thing. Well, maybe not “Jay Leno,” maybe on “106 and Park,” but we kind of get up into the same conversations, but then some things that are basically women's things.

Are beauty shops still the cultural centerpieces of the community?
Absolutely. I mean, beauty shops, 96% of them are individually owned for that matter, too, so not only are they a cultural home base, but they're also an economic base in the black community for sure. So yeah, I think that is the spot. We all catch up at the beauty shop and the barber shop.

What are your beauty shop memories?
Oh yeah, I go back to the press and curls. I remember my first perm. I was 11 years old and I hated the hair style because it was a bouffant. I went home and I combed all the curls out. I couldn't believe how long my hair was. I was like, “Oh my God.” My mother was really pissed off that week, combing out the whole style, wasting the money…

Could there be “Barbershop” cast cameos in “Beauty Shop”?
Yeah, actually there is a possibility. We're trying to work something out but I'm not sure if it's going to happen right now.

Why was the decision made to move away from Chicago?
We didn't [want to] be in cold weather. No, I mean, Chicago's a great town but we just wanted to kind of take it in a different direction, give it its own life, so to speak, so Atlanta seemed like a good place to start.

Are you the same character from “Barbershop 2?”

What's your character’s backstory?

Well, Gina's sister actually owned that beauty shop next door to the barber shop, and Gina's daughter is accepted to a performing arts school in Atlanta, so that's why she moves down there - for her daughter.

The girl that was in “Barbershop 2?“
No, that's my niece. That's my sister's badass daughter. My sister who owned that shop with her boyfriend.

Are you getting good at doing hair?
Well, my skill's up.

What do you think of the copycat “Beauty Shop” movies?
I don't think it's a bad thing in the sense that we can all relate to what goes on in a beauty shop, and there are some great actors in the other movies so I can't knock the movies. I don't know, I haven't seen any of them so I don't know what they're really about, but sometimes great minds think alike, so everybody wanted to go there. But this is the official “Beauty Shop.” The one and only official “Beauty Shop.”

How has the shoot been so far?
It's been cool.

A lot of laughing going on?
Yeah, for sure. And the more comedians walk through here, just everybody's really good at bringing it with their characters, so they give us something to laugh at every day. And it's been a work in progress so you kind of let it live on its feet and people come up with ideas, you let them make it happen. So it's getting better and better and better.

When did you know you were funny?
I don't know. I'm not always funny. There are people who are funnier than me, way funnier. I think I'm aight. I think I have a great sense of humor, so I can be silly and I'm not afraid to make fun of myself or be ugly in a movie. I'm willing to put myself out there where some people aren't.

Does being funny run in your family?
For sure. My brother, my older brother, is extremely funny. My mom, my father, they're all [funny]. I mean, comedy was a big part of my growing up years and my parents have great senses of humor. They love to crack jokes, so yeah, it runs in the family.

Queen Latifah: One on One

Her royal highness on ghetto fab, going A-list and grabbing the swag
She can get down wit' ya or get downright elegant. Rappin' Queen Latifah's music has been upstaged lately by her acting, thanks to her Academy Award-nominated performance as Mama Morton in Chicago.

Now, the onetime Dana Owens pushes the envelope even further in Bringing Down the House, an Internet dating farce with Steve Martin, a film she also exec produced through her own company. In House, uptight lawyer Martin thinks he's courting a slim, brainy barrister online, but Latifah turns out to be a hip-hoppin', slang-slingin' prison escapee.

Clearly taking Hollywood by storm, Queen Latifah takes a moment to riff on boob grabbing, chick fighting and the joy of getting stuff free.

Well, your character in Bringing Down the House is sure one sexy and cheeky lady.
It was a dream role, 'cause Charlene was just so ghetto fabulous. How often do you get to go to work and just have fun and dress cute and wear pads that fill out your backside in a black-girl kind of way? And then you've got Steve Martin grabbing your breasts all day. That's some good livin'.

What was he doing besides grabbing your breasts?
Man, you never knew. I mean, he'd, like, whip out a banjo on you at any given moment and just start strumming away. Steve is just so damn talented. One of the things that surprised me was the way he would do a scene differently with each take. But everybody in the cast came to the table willing to be like little kids--forget their inhibitions and just be innocent.

Did it take some work to get Steve to sound like he was in the 'hood?
Actually, he's not as square as you might think. He knows what's goin' on. But to have Steve saying things you don't normally hear him say was the fun part. To hear words coming out of his mouth like, Where's Tyrese at? I was walking around the house after work just repeating some of the stuff he said, because it's just so damn funny.

There's some pretty pushed-to-the-edge racial jokes in the film. Were you worried about going too far?
We actually removed a whole bunch of jokes we thought were just too much. People still might get offended, there's always that possibility. But some of the jokes had to be there, because they illuminate the ignorance of the characters. Plus, they're funny. Maybe the humor is not PC, but just because a person is PC doesn't mean they're not racist.

Your costumes are pretty out there as well.
As I said, Charlene likes to show it off a little bit. But we worked hard to get the right look. I'm not a little girl, you know. I'm a big, sexy woman. So, that all had to work in sort of an urban hip-hop style. There was a lot of tying, cutting up and jazzing with rhinestones.
You also have a knock-down, drag-out catfight with a white girl, played by Missi Pyle, in, of all places, a ladies' restroom. What a battle!
I thought it was fun, because it's not typical. In most movies, the black girl always kicks the white girl's butt. Well, not this time. This white girl can hold her own. I know street fighting, but Missi studied tae-bo, and it shows.

Did either of you get hurt?
Me and Missi were pretty tight on our choreography, because we actually wanted to walk away at the end of a take. The stuntwomen shot for three days without us. We'd be somewhere else on the set and just kept hearing, Uhhh, ahh, awww. I was like, "Who's having rough sex over there?" But it was them doing their part of the fight scene. I think we should get one of those MTV fight-scene awards. We were going for that--we want to take home the popcorn.

Well, you're already in the running for something bigger than that--an Oscar nomination for Chicago. What did you think when you heard the news?
It was a pretty intense high. I wasn't expecting that call. I wasn't sitting in front of the TV waiting for the announcements or anything like that. I was coming off a helluva weekend at the all-star basketball game in Atlanta. We had driven back on my tour bus. I had been up all night watching the first season of Good Times on the bus, because I couldn't sleep.

I had just gotten home and was under my covers when the phone rang. It was my partner Shakim Compere going, "Yo, we got the nomination." And I was like, "What nomination? No way. No way!" My assistant was downstairs sleeping, and I dived on top of her and woke her up. Let's just say I was pleasingly shocked.

Are you getting a deluge of offers from designers who want to dress you on the big night?
I can wear whatever I want. If I see something fly enough that's not a dress, I will wear it. But there is definitely an avalanche of offers. Everybody's calling to dress the girl, which is a good thing. Some are calling just because I'm full figured and they want to show what they can do in my size range. But that is an important part of it--you got to know how to make a girl look good. So, I'm cool with it.

What are you looking forward to most--besides winning?
I'm just looking forward to that gift basket, man. Free stuff is fun. I don't care how much money you got, it's always a good thing.

Even though you get all the goodies that go with fame, you don't seem to crave media attention.

I'm not into all the star stuff. I'm not good at peddling myself, if that makes any sense. Some people are great at it. I'm maybe a little too humble for that, but I enjoy my success. I feel like it's a blessing.

It's a one-in-a-million shot, and I feel like you've got to pay respect to it, because there are actors out there who really are dying for jobs. So, I'm just having fun working. I tend to seek the fortune more than the fame--make a buck and take care of everybody in your family and all that kind of stuff.

Unfortunately, you can't escape the glare when you stray, as in when you made headlines after your arrest for drunken driving.
That's when I tend to think about what you give up to be famous. When there's an embarrassing incident, you realize you can't make a mistake like normal people do. You make a mistake, and it's all over every freakin' channel. I usually just try to sleep through it. Take a nap, hopefully wake up and it's gone.

Do you feel pressure to be a role model?
If a role model is somebody you want to be like, that's wrong. I'll never raise my kids to be like anyone. Famous people have problems just like everybody else.

Is it important for you to stay close to your roots?
Absolutely. I'll give you an example--I shoveled the driveway at my mama's house when it snowed last week. That's how you stay grounded. She makes me walk the dog and take out the trash. So, how can I get a big head? I'm not buying mansions or yachts. I want to be as real as I can. That's all anyone can expect from me. They'll never know what's coming next from Queen Latifah.

Multitalented Queen Latifah

She's a television and a film actress. A soon-to-be talk show host. A label president. An artist manager. An author and an entrepreneur. Blessed with style, substance and mad skills, Queen Latifah has blossomed into a one-woman entertainment conglomerate, heralded by the press and the industry as a force to be reckoned with and a talent to be watched. She has, quite simply, done it all and shows no sign of slowing down. Yet with all of her accomplishments and all of her acclaim, it has been a long, long time since Queen Latifah has made an album.

After more than four years the wait is over. ORDER IN THE COURT marks the return of the premiere female microphone artist and the maiden release on Queen Latifah's own Flavor Unit Records, a label deal recently inked with Motown Records.

As far as Queen Latifah is concerned, though she's about stepping back into the arena after a lengthy hiatus, she is typically confident and self-assured. "It's not like I haven't been highly visible since BLACK REIGN (which went gold) came out. My name and image have certainly been out there, but when it comes to being back in the rap game, well," Queen Latifah smiles, "I just gotta go get them. That's my attitude. The main thing is that the music is right. And you know I made sure of that!"

And then some. Helping Latifah make it right, make it funky and make it sound so good are an elite crew of hip hop and R&B artists, among them Dru Hill, Faith Evans, Pras (of the Fugees) and Apache, who guests on the explosive first single "Bananas." With production from Kay Gee, Diamond D, DJ Clark Kent and Queen Latifah herself, ORDER IN THE COURT is more than just another hip hop album: it is the strongest album of Queen Latifah's already impressive career. "I'm really pleased with this CD because it really reflects 100 percent of Queen Latifah. I have a lot of different qualities on various levels and I hope that people hearing ORDER IN THE COURT will pick up on that."

The first peek at one of Queen Latifah's different qualities is "Bananas." Ask Latifah to describe the track, which she co-wrote, and she says, "It's the professional side of the somewhat hard-core MC that's in me. It's an in-your-face kind of record. I knew that I didn't want my first single in all these years to be some sappy kind of song. Or something that would just go straight pop. I want to represent for the hip hop community, first and foremost. So, 'Bananas' is for them first, and whatever audiences wanna come and join in on the party ... great! But that track is dedicated to those who truly love hip hop." Latifah smiles "As we go along with other singles, it will give me a chance to display my versatility."

Such versatility is evident on songs like "Paper," which boasts edgy grooves and sultry singing from the Queen; the lip smacking "Turn U On", produced by Chad "Dr. Cuess" Elliot & Al West; the emotionally direct "Life," which deals with the frustrations of day-to-day life and the need not to give up hope. "I mean, Tupac and me were close and his death and Biggie's really affected me. I truly believe that there's something in life worth going after, even if it's just being on the mike, making a record."

Perhaps the most personal track is "What You Gonna Do," one of several that Latifah co-wrote and co-produced. "What You Gonna Do" deals, as did 1994's "Winkie's Theme," with the tragic death of Latifah's beloved brother, Lance. "I think it will become a trademark for me to include a song about my brother on every album. This song brings it all back to God, which is where I think it should all end up. I think things like this are what make me different from other rappers. It's not about me trying to make records that I know are gonna hit. I kinda like to push the envelop and be more creative and bring something new to listen to."

That dedication to both her craft and her audience shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone who has been even a casual observer of Queen Latifah's spectacular reign. From her ground-breaking 1989 debut ALL HAIL THE QUEEN, which all but set the visual and contextual standard for female rappers; to her bold foray into R&B on hit albums like 1991's NATURE OF A SISTA and 1994's BLACK REIGN, which became the very first CD from a female rap artist to go Gold; to her best rap solo Grammy in 1994 for the anthemic U.N.I.T.Y., Latifah has been redefining what a woman in the hip hop game can and should say and be.

And as anyone who owns a TV set or goes to movies can attest to, Latifah's refusal to play by some pre-conceived rules has helped make her one of Hollywood's fastest rising young stars. Her first TV series, Fox's "Living Single" was a huge success and is currently in syndication. From the small screen Latifah made the leap to film. After a few years of bit parts, Latifah's star turn in Set It Off created an audible critical buzz. Fans of sci-fi thrilled to Latifah's performance in the recent Warner Brothers' film Sphere, co-starring Sharon Stone and Dustin Hoffman, and later this year, Latifah will heat up the screen in Living Out Loud, with Danny DeVito and Holly Hunter.

In addition to acting, Latifah recently inked a deal to host her own talk show in the fall of 1999. She's also in the midst of writing a book on self-esteem, tentatively entitled "From the Heart of a Queen" for William Morrow Publishing.

Then, there's Flavor Unit Entertainment, the 8-year-old company owned and operated by Latifah and her partner Sha-kim Compere. The company, based in New Jersey, manages some of the biggest names in music like LL Cool J, Outkast and the hot new singing group N.E.X.T. Flavor Unit Entertainment is also the home of Flavor Unit Records.

Actor. Host. Manager. Executive. Entrepreneur. Lable owner. Author. Rapper. All rise. Court's in session and the honorable and inimitable Queen Latifah is ready to state her case.

More fun facts about Queen Latifah

Arrested for assaulting a photographer. [6 February 1996]

Arrested for carrying a loaded pistol & marijuana. [3 February 1996]

Carjacked and a friend was shot. [July 1995]

Older brother Lance Owens, who was a police officer, died in an accident on the motorcycle Latifah bought for him as a present. She still wears the motorcycle key around her neck.

Co-CEO of Flavor Unit Entertainment

Had to coach her "Bringing Down The House" co-stars Steve Martin and Eugene Levy in hip-hop slang.

First female rapper to be nominated for an Academy Award.

Ranked #72 on VH1's 100 Greatest Women of Rock N Roll

Was set to star in Monster's Ball (2001) with Robert DeNiro and Sean Penn. Unfortunately, producers could not set up the film in time and it was delayed and recast. Her role went to Halle Berry, DeNiro's to Billy Bob Thorton, and Penn's to Heath Ledger.

Her Salary
Bringing Down the House (2003) "roughly" $1,000,000
Chicago (2002) $325,000

Queen Latifah Shrinks Her Breasts

Queen Latifah is delighted to be carrying a lighter load on her chest - now she's had breast reduction surgery. The voluptuous rapper-turned-actress, who most recently unveiled her ample cleavage during her Oscar-nominated turn in hit musical Chicago, has cut her bust size down from an attention-grabbing DD cup to a more manageable C. Her spokesperson Amanda Silverman says, "Queen Latifah did have breast reduction surgery. It was mainly for her health. Queen works with a trainer and does a lot of kickboxing, and working out was difficult for her. She was suffering from back pain and felt this was the best solution. She's absolutely thrilled with the results." The New Jersey native's personal trainer Jeanette Solamos adds, "She's dropped about 40 pounds, but there was nothing she could do to reduce her breast size naturally." Latifah's bounteous bosom made its last appearance at the March 23 Academy Awards, where she graced the red carpet in a form-fitting blue Escada gown.

Queen Latifah Lands 'Barbershop' Spin-Off

Rapper-turned actress Queen Latifah has been tipped to star in a spin-off of hit comedy Barbershop - but with a more feminine twist. Movie studio Mgm is in talks with the Oscar-nominated Chicago star to produce and appear in Beauty Shop. Latifah will reportedly receive a healthy eight-figure paycheck against the flick's gross income for her efforts in the proposed film - a huge jump from the $1 million she was paid for starring alongside Steve Martin in her latest movie Bringing Down The House. Latifah - real name Dana Owens - will launch her movie franchise with a cameo in the Barbershop sequel, expected to hit screens in the winter, with her shop located next door to fellow rapper-turned-actor Ice Cube's Chicago, Illinois, parlor. Her cameo's main purpose is to establish the new character for the spin-off.

Shame On You: Queen Latifah's Entertainment Company

She's one of the biggest stars in the galaxy, but now, Queen Latifah has Arnold Diaz to worry about.

Arnold and the Shame on You team has found that Latifah's New Jersey-based company, Flavor Unit, has left a number of it's bills unpaid. They come in the form of court judgements and tax liens.

Arnold spoke with Arthur Steuer, a freelance sound engineer who says in 2000, he worked a four-day recording session at Kampo Studios in Lower Manhattan. He was hired by a producer working for Flavor Unit.

He didn't get paid, so he took them to court. Steuer was awarded the money he was owed, $3,920, plus interest and court costs.

That was four years ago, and he says he still hasn't seen a penny.

Arnold Diaz found that's just the tip of the iceberg in this Shame On You investigation.

Queen Latifah Petitions Over Film Rating

Rapper-turned-actress QUEEN LATIFAH has successfully charmed the MOTION PICTURE ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA (MPAA) ratings board into changing her upcoming film BEAUTY SHOP's rating from R to PG-13.

The OSCAR-nominated CHICAGO star was furious when her latest film received an R rating - meaning under 17-year-olds require a guardian, so she flew to Los Angeles and successfully petitioned the board herself, reports website PAGESIX.COM.

Latifah co-produced the comedy and is urging fans 13 and over to go and see it when it hits cinemas in March (05).

Queen Latifah: Taxi

Having just come out of "The Cookout" junket a few weeks ago, Queen Latifah was back in New York City to promote "Taxi," the comedy remake of the Luc Besson French film. She co-stars with Jimmy Fallon, who plays a bumbling NYPD cop who can do everything but drive.

Here is what she had to tell Cinema Confidential about her new film.

Q: Do you like car racing?

QUEEN: I do. I actually have loved car racing all my life. Like I’ll watch Nascar and stuff regularly. Drag racing, because you know we have a raceway park in New Jersey, so I’m like cool. My father was a cop and he just drove real fast, bottom line. He had an XKE Jaguar that flew like 160, you know. He took us on the highway called 78, in New Jersey, before it opened up and took us up to about a buck 25, I was like 5 or so. So I think he focused in on the ‘need for speed’ pretty early in life. So yea, this kind of stuff is natural for me, all in good fun.

Q: Have you seen the original film versions of "Taxi"?

QUEEN: No. I will see it now, but I purposely didn’t watch it, because I didn’t want to take anything from it. We wanted to bang out the American version. So I figured, first of all, it’s a guy. Second of all, it’s France. It’s Luc Besson, and it’s probably going to be completely different. So there may be some similarities and I don’t want to kind of take from the character, I’d rather us start new here. So now that I’ve done it all, I can watch the first couple runs of it, and see what it’s like.

Q: When you saw the film, were you satisfied with the chemistry between you and Jimmy Fallon?

QUEEN: I actually loved our chemistry together. I loved the way it came out, I loved the pacing. I felt really good about my performance in it, and I don’t always sit back and say “hmm, I really liked it.” You know, it’s weird because I don’t watch dailies and so I don’t really know what it looks like until it’s done. So to get to see it all cut together, it was like, hahaha, it was really good, it was funny, it was like good turns of seriousness and sarcasm and humor and action, so I thought it was pretty good. There were a little continuity things that I was cool with.

Q: And how was working with him?

QUEEN: Jimmy is impossible, you just can’t...Dude is crazy. You can’t keep a straight face all the time.

Q: Was it tough shooting a car movie in Manhattan?

QUEEN: It was extremely difficult shooting in Manhattan. I don’t think it would normally be that difficult, but we had like a perfect storm problems at the time. The first day of rehearsal there was a blackout, of course, a fantastic blackout, just for us, to welcome us to Manhattan. When we were shooting the film, it was practically like the Republican National Convention or something. Everything was blocked off, shut down, it was hard to get anywhere. And mind you, we were moving a crew of like 150 people at least , so it was difficult but it was fun. It was definitely fun shooting here. It gave us a whole vibe of New York, shooting here in NY, when we’re shooting a movie that’s about NY. Our pace and energy out here is just totally different from the rest of the country. Maybe cities like San Francisco can come close. But NY with all the buildings, all the people, all different kinds of people, we just move to a totally different pace and beat than everyone else in the country, so we missed it when we had to go to LA, but we had to do what we had to do.

Q: Is there anything about working with Jimmy that annoys you?

QUEEN: It annoys me that I can’t get a scene done! (laughs) We were here for hours and hours and hours, it’s like, do you want to go home? Then stop making me laugh, stop making me laugh Jimmy. So, is there anything that completely annoys me about Jimmy? No. No nothing. It’s hard to annoy me. You got to be really annoying to annoy me, I give people a lot of leeway.

Q: What do you admire about him?

QUEEN: I got to say I admire his work ethic. He really is a hard worker. He was doing Saturday Night Live at the same time as he was doing Taxi, so he was going to SNL in LA for at least 2 months, shooting the rest of the movie, and he was flying back and forth, he’d be finishing on Friday, and then work on skits and then shoot on Saturday, and be right back on a plane working on Sunday. So he was doing a good Saturday a week schedule for like a couple months. And I’ve done that before, when I did Set If Off I did the same thing, having Living Single and an album out, so I know how grueling that can be and taxing on a person. So for me, seeing him really just work that hard and having that much on his plate, and still deliver on everything, I was proud of him. That’s the way you got to get down sometimes in this business, and I was happy that he made that adjustment.

Q: Are you making Bad Girls?

QUEEN: Well, the script is written, we’re working on it, we’re trying to make it happen. Hopefully if Jada and my schedules pull together, we’ll be shooting that early Spring of next year.

Q: Is it Bad Boys except with girls?

QUEEN: No.It will be in terms of the action, and the chemistry. Bad Girls is a good excuse for me and Jada to make a movie. (laughs) We just had such a good time on Set It Off. We’ve been friends before that movie, we’ve been friends after that movie. It’s just a good reason for us to get together on film. As far as I’m concerned, I’d just love to make a movie with her. She feels the same, so we’re just trying to make sure the script is right so we can go ahead and do it.

Latifah's Movie Role Motivates Health Drive

Rapper-turned-actress QUEEN LATIFAH was so moved playing a terminally ill woman in her upcoming movie LAST HOLIDAY, she decided to give up smoking.

In the movie, a remake of the 1950 ALEC GUINNESS classic, Latifah plays a shy woman who decides to take a European vacation after she's diagnosed with a terminal illness.

And the OSCAR-nominated CHICAGO star admits her role made her think more seriously about her health.

She says, "It's made me search my own life. I quit smoking, I started working out a lot more.

"I feel more in shape and more in touch with my emotions."

Queen Latifah To Host Grammy Awards

Rapper-turned-actress QUEEN LATIFAH has been confirmed as the host of this year's (05) GRAMMY AWARDS ceremony.

The TAXI star is nominated for an award in the Best Jazz Vocal Album category and she will also perform a song from THE DANA OWENS ALBUM at the prestigious American music industry event which takes place next month (13FEB05).

NEIL PORTNOW, president of the Recording Academy, says, "Queen Latifah is an extraordinary Renaissance artist with unparalleled style and substance, and her passion, talent and personality make her an excellent choice as host for our show."

Latifah won a Best Rap Solo Performance Grammy Award for her single U.N.I.T.Y. in 1994.

Queen Latifah and Emma Thompson Pick 'Fiction'

Queen Latifah and Emma Thompson are joining Will Ferrell in "Stranger Than Fiction," director Marc Forster's follow-up to "Finding Neverland."

Ferrell plays an obsessive/compulsive IRS auditor who begins to hear a voice that turns out to be an author who is writing a novel in which Ferrell is the ill-fated protagonist. The auditor heeds the narrator's advice and turns his life around.

Thompson is in final negotiations to play the author suffering from writer's block, while Latifah would play a book-company employee whose job is to unblock writers.

Maggie Gyllenhaal, star of the Sundance opener "Happy Endings," signed on this week to play Ferrell's unlikely love interest, a baker with anarchist leanings.

Production is slated to begin in April.

Lindsay Doran, the producer of the independently financed films, described it as a "funny romantic drama."

"It has genres stacked up like airplanes over Chicago," Doran said. "It's fun to watch people's reactions when the cast is coming together. When you get Will Ferrell, then you add Emma Thompson, then Queen Latifah on top of that and Maggie Gyllenhaal on top of that ... you can see even from the cast how diverse the elements are in this movie. And then you add Marc Forster."

Latifah, who next appears in "Beauty Shop," earned an Oscar nomination for "Chicago." Thompson was last in theaters with "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban."



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