Kerry Washington delivers and emotes as the sexpot with a soul in Chris Rock’s new movie I Think I Love My Wife. The film follows the life of a desperately bored married man, Richard Cooper (Chris Rock), who is obsessed with his former girlfriend and official hottie Nikki Tru played by Kerry Washington. Washington opens up to MF about the new film, maintaining her healthy lifestyle and more.
MF: I want to ask you about about your character, Nikki Tru — it's a very complex character. You want the viewer to have sympathy for her in a way, but she is also a seductress and she's likely to ruin this guy's life.
Kerry Washington: It's actually really fun for me to say at the end of the movie, “Did everybody like the movie?” Everybody goes, “Yeah!” I say, “Did everybody hate Nikki?” They go, “Yeah!” And, I go “Yeah!” I just think that's a real departure from me to play a character that people feel conflicted about, so negative about. It's exciting for me as an actor to put myself in that risky position. It's neat; it's a neat step forward in my craft.
One of the reasons why I was really drawn to this character is because she had surprising depth to me on the page. For a seductress, written by two men, two comedians, to be so insightful about herself—they wrote that monologue about being the old girl at the club, but I thought in the wrong hands Nikki could totally become a stereotype. She could completely become the caricature of the other woman and I really want to honor what's here and get behind the psychological impulses, the emotional reality that creates the circumstances of her life. I knew that I could that—I wanted to be the person to bring that to her on the screen.
MF: How did you prepare physically for her because she's in lingerie for half the movie?
KW: [Laughs] She's actually only in lingerie at one point at the end of the film, but she does show a lot of skin. I wanted to work out really hard because I think for me, I feel the stronger, more toned and slender I can feel the less vulnerable I am. Unfortunately, Chris wanted me to put on a little bit of weight for the film. He really wanted the character to be feminine and voluptuous, which was very hard for me, but I feel in a lot of ways it really helped me with the character. There's that moment when she comes in at the beginning and says that she’s smoking because she’s trying to lose weight — she definitely is at that point in her life where her metabolism is changing a little bit. She's not really in control of her life so she wouldn't be perfectly toned, she can’t afford a trainer, the way that Kerry Washington can. There was a really nice vulnerability and sensitivity that came from me emotionally from putting on a little bit of weight for the character — that was really great.
MF: A little bit? Like two pounds?
KW: [Laughs] No, I did!