Vivica A. Fox Interview: On Reuniting with "Y&R" Star Kristoff St. John in "A Christmas Cruise"
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Vivica A. Fox began her career with roles on the daytime dramas Days of Our Lives and Generations and is known for her breakthrough role as Jasmine Dubrow in the 1996 science fiction action film Independence Day. Other film appearances include Booty Call, Soul Food, Why Do Fools Fall in Love, and she portrayed Vernita Green in Kill Bill.
From 2003 to 2006, Fox co-starred and produced the Lifetime crime drama series Missing, for which she received the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series. In 2015, she was cast as Cookie Lyon’s sister Candace Mason for the second season of the Fox prime time soap opera Empire, and in 2016, she reprised her Independence Day role in Roland Emmerich’s Independence Day: Resurgence.
“Diana Ross and Michael Jackson were the main reasons that I moved to California. I remember going to see them when I was in high school and going, ‘Oh, my God! I have never seen such amazing black people in my life! Where do they live?’ They were my motivations for moving to California.”
In A Christmas Cruise, also starring Kristoff St. John, Jessica Morris, Rib Hillis, Nick Viall and Jason Cook, Fox portrays “Pam,” an aspiring novelist who is invited along for a holiday-themed cruise by her best friend and unexpectedly finds true love. The movie premieres December 16, 2017, on ION Television.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Tis the season for holiday movies, Vivica!
Vivica A. Fox: (singing) It’s the most wonderful time …
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): How did A Christmas Cruise come about for you?
Vivica A. Fox: Well, David DeCoteau was the director. He and I did A Husband for Christmas last year for the ION network, and they were so thrilled with the results, they asked us to do another one. David and I kind of come as a package deal. He’s the director, and I’m the co-producer and normally the star or co-star in our films.
We’ve done a lot of films in “The Wrong” franchise. We’ve done The Wrong Man, The Wrong Husband, The Wrong Roommate and The Wrong Child. We’ve done a bunch of these “Wrong” movies that end up on Lifetime, and people love them. This is our sixth film together, and it came about because we did A Husband for Christmas last season. But this year, we got to take a Christmas cruise, which is a different type of Christmas movie.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Other than the plot revolving around a cruise, how is it different from other Christmas movies?
Vivica A. Fox: This Christmas film is integrated. We’ve got an amazing, beautiful cast. We’ve got Kristoff St. John who is playing my love interest, and it’s also a wonderful reunion for me and Kristoff because he was my very first love interest on Generations, which is a soap opera that I did years ago. We’ve got Corin (Nemec) who is so funny. The cast is integrated. We’ve got Nick Viall from The Bachelor. We’ve got Jessica (Morris). She and I have also worked on a lot of “The Wrong” franchise movies.
We shot this film in less than two weeks, and we shot it on the Queen Mary in Los Angeles, so there are a lot of wonderful elements different from being set in middle America and being homogenized like guy goes after girl, they break up and get back together. This one is a really fun adventure of a New Yorker girl who is just a workaholic. It takes a lot of different twists and turns that surprises people, and it has a ton of comedy in it.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Was it difficult to film the majority of the scenes on a ship?
Vivica A. Fox: It was actually lovely and made you get into it a little bit more. I say that because some have a pretend ship, and you’re like, “Eh.” But to go there and be by the water was great. A lot of the scenes we filmed were out on the ledge of the ship, so it just made it a little bit easier for us to get into it. They had certain parts of the ship blocked off for us, and we thank the Queen Mary so much for their generosity. Just a little sidebar – they serve the best lunches. But it really made filming a lot easier, and I really enjoyed filming the movie.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): You and Kristoff St. John definitely have some great chemistry together!
Vivica A. Fox: Thank you!
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): My thought is that you should return to The Young and the Restless because Kristoff’s character could really use some romance!
Vivica A. Fox: (laughs) Well, you know, I actually got Independence Day because of The Young and the Restless. Years ago, I was wanting to go up for Independence Day, and they were like, “Oh, no, honey. You don’t have a big enough name.” It was a 60 or 70 million dollar budget for that film. The wife of the film’s producer was at home pregnant at the time and saw me on The Young and the Restless. She asked him, “Have you found Jasmine yet?” He was like, “No. We’re having a hard time.” She said, “I saw this really cute girl today on The Young and the Restless. You guys should go get her.” They called me in, and six auditions later, I got the part.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): How fantastic was that?
Vivica A. Fox: How fantastic was that! Yeah! Like I said, Kristoff and I haven’t worked together in 20-something years, but he was my first love interest on Generations, so it’s great that we are still here and got to work together. It made my life a lot easier. Kristoff’s tall, he’s good looking, a great kisser, and I didn’t have to worry about chemistry.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): How do you spend Christmas, Vivica?
Vivica A. Fox: I start my holiday on Christmas morning with my godson. We go over to see his grandparents because they live close to my home, and we have Christmas breakfast and open up presents. From there I go to my business partner’s house, hang out and have lunch with her and her family and watch some basketball games. In the evening, I go to my executive assistant’s house, and we usually have a fish fry and play UNO. That’s normally my Christmas.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Do you watch any Christmas movies?
Vivica A. Fox: Oh, yeah, of course, mine! Put it this way. We’re definitely going to be watching A Christmas Cruise. I’m so glad you brought that up (laughs).
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): (laughs) What’s Candace up to this season on Empire?
Vivica A. Fox: I’m going to find out because believe it or not, after Christmas, I’m going to Arizona to host a New Year’s Eve party, then I’m going to Vegas and take my godson to see the Michael Jackson One show, and then I’m headed back to Chicago to do some episodes of Empire. So I’ll find out.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): You’ve been in show business for about 30 years now. That’s definitely a wow moment.
Vivica A. Fox: It is, and I’ve been so blessed.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Does it feel like 30 years?
Vivica A. Fox: No. Oh, my gosh, no. It has been an amazing journey, to be very honest with you, and I’m just so glad I’m going to be able to share a little bit of my journey with everyone. I have an upcoming book to be released on April 3 for St. Martin’s Press called Every Day I’m Hustling, to show everybody or to inform everybody. It’s kind of like a motivational memoir where I take everyone on the journey of me being in Hollywood, starting from a girl that was 17 years old graduating from high school in search of a dream I’ve been able to live out beyond my wildest expectations. I’m just glad that now I can add author to my roster, and I’ve got more living and more of a journey to do. That’s for sure.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Who were your mentors along that journey?
Vivica A. Fox: Diana Ross and Michael Jackson were the main reasons that I moved to California. I remember going to see them when I was in high school and going, “Oh, my God! I have never seen such amazing black people in my life! Where do they live?” They were my motivations for moving to California.
One of my early mentors was my acting coach whom I met on Generations. That was Sheila Wills, and I am the godmother to her children. Pam Grier was also a mentor of mine, and I got to interview her once for a special on BET. I cried during the whole damn interview. I really did. I was like, “I can’t believe I’m sitting here with you. I love you so much.”
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): What other projects are coming up?
Vivica A. Fox: I’m headed to Toronto to do A Christmas Carol for Hallmark where I’m going to play a mom in that movie. Then I’m doing a Netflix project called A Beautiful Distraction, and then I’m headed to do some more Empire. My hair line’s been renewed, and my book is coming out. I think that’s enough jobs for me (laughs).
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Have you ever thought about taking a Christmas cruise to find that special person?
Vivica A. Fox: To find that guy? Uh, no. I haven’t. But I am headed to Cancun for a girlfriend’s wedding when I get back from Toronto, so we’ll see what happens. Wish me luck.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Of course! Good luck in finding love at the wedding.
Vivica A. Fox: Fingers crossed! Everyone says, “On A Christmas Cruise, no wonder you could play that Pam so easily. You’re a workaholic, and your love life sucks!” So, yeah, that’s me.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): I know you’re a lifelong Democrat. How do you stay positive during these turbulent times with a sitting president under investigation by a special counsel?
Vivica A. Fox: I’ve always been heavily involved with politics from back in the day with Bill Clinton to Al Gore to Barack. I’ve always been very involved with the Democratic Party. So it has been interesting to watch how this year, politics basically turned into a reality show. But what it teaches me is to stay positive and stay involved and to motivate Generation Next. Especially with this past election, by not paying attention, by not showing up and by not voting is why we’re in the predicament we’re in today. So I tell all of them, “Stay awake! Pay attention! Stay positive so you don’t have to sit around and complain.”
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Some predict the presidency might end in impeachment or resignation.
Vivica A. Fox: I know! Prayers up, honey!
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): As always, enjoyed the chat, Vivica!
Vivica A. Fox: No doubt, and please let everyone know that A Christmas Cruise is coming out December 16 at 9:00 PM on ION Television and to put on their ugly sweater or onesie, grab some hot chocolate and hang out with us on Christmas because it’ll be coming on again.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Hot chocolate ready and perhaps some wine here …
Vivica A. Fox: (laughs) I love that! You’re like, “Forget hot chocolate, honey. I’ve got my wine.” I love it. I’ll be joining you in that drink, too, so you send me a Christmas greeting, honey, and we’ll toast to that on Twitter!
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