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LAST HOLIDAY

About The Characters
Queen Latifah takes on  the lead role, a part that  allows her to play  against type as a meek,  churchgoing lady who  makes an incredible  transformation that also affects everyone around her.

"Queen Latifah can convey an irresistible warmth and humanity in addition to the brash comedic persona that audiences know,” says screenwriter Jeffrey Price. "With Queen in the role, we were able to fully develop a character arc that allows us to see both sides – the introverted person she starts out as and the outgoing woman she becomes.” 

Latifah's stature as a comedic actress has grown since garnering an Academy Award® nomination for her turn as Mama Morton in "Chicago” and her starring role in the box-office hit "Bringing Down the House.” She says she was drawn to "Last Holiday” by the challenge it presented to her. 

"This was the chance to get into the bones of someone very different from me,” she notes. "Most of the characters I've played are vocal and outgoing and this was a chance to embody someone who is meek and unaccustomed to speaking her mind. Georgia became one of my favorite characters because she's so decent and inspiring.” 

Still, the actress says that she does, in fact, have a shy side. "Latifah means ‘delicate and sensitive,'” she notes. "I just indulged that side of myself a little more than I usually do.”

Latifah says that, like her character, she is thrilled when new opportunities present themselves. "I learned how to snowboard for this project, which is one of the things I love about the job – the chance to do new things,” says Latifah. "I'm an active person – I ride motorcycles, I've snowmobiled and skied… I like to embrace the adventure of life, which helps me in translating that attitude to my character.”

"At the beginning of the movie, Latifah plays a character completely different from the way I've always imagined her,” says the director, Wayne Wang. "Georgia starts out emotionally handicapped, someone who can't really speak her mind. Latifah really dug deep and came through with those scenes as the character deals with her own emotions about dying.”

LL Cool J, who has known Latifah for many years, takes on the role of Sean, Georgia's co-worker and the object of a crush. For that part of the role, Latifah was able to call back old feelings. "He's a very handsome guy and I sort of had a crush on him when I was growing up,” Latifah admits, "so I just recall how I felt when I had his poster on my wall.”

"Really? I didn't know that,” LL Cool J responds with surprise when told of Latifah's childhood infatuation. "We've known each other a long time, and playing scenes with her has been wonderful. She's such a smart young woman. She's taught me a few things.”

"We needed someone who could establish a presence and a chemistry with Queen Latifah,” says Laurence Mark. "LL Cool J fit the bill perfectly. He's known Latifah for a long time and their connection and affection for each other is apparent.”

Says Rapke, "We looked at a lot of people for that role, but loved Cool J because, like Latifah, we were casting him against type. You would never think of him as shy or lacking in confidence. His chemistry with Latifah is spectacular.”

Calling the role his "homage to the working man,” LL Cool J was indeed interested in the role because it was so unlike any other he had played.

"I met with Wayne and we had a nice conversation about where we could go with this role and what I wanted to do with it,” he says. "I was excited to play someone who isn't doing something heroic or action-oriented. He's just a regular Joe with limited life experiences. People like Sean can be overlooked because they're quiet and don't draw attention to themselves. You know, not everyone is super-confident.

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