Vivica A. Fox Interview: Famed Actress Talks "The Wrong Cruise" and Dr. Phil-Produced CBS Talk Show
Image attributed to Lifetime
Vivica A. Fox is known for her role as Vernita Green in Kill Bill and appeared in the films Booty Call, Soul Food, Why Do Fools Fall in Love, Kingdom Come and Ella Enchanted. She began her career with roles on the daytime dramas Days of Our Lives and Generations, and her breakthrough came in 1996 with roles in two box office hit films, Independence Day and Set It Off. From 2003 to 2006, Fox co-starred in and produced the Lifetime crime drama series Missing, for which she received NAACP Award for Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series.
In 2015, Fox was cast as Candace Mason, Cookie Lyon’s sister, in the primetime hit series Empire. Her recently released Every Day I’m Hustling is a part memoir, part inspirational book that focuses on her career and relationships. In The Wrong Cruise, which premieres on Lifetime on July 28, 2018, Fox stars alongside William McNamara, Andres Londono, Dominique Swain and Sidney Nicole Rogers in a thriller centered on a mother who takes her teenage daughter on a cruise for some much needed bonding.
"We went to New York and showed them the presentation reel. Two weeks later, they picked it up. We’ve been picked up for a year, so I’m thrilled that I’m going to be on TV Monday through Friday, the hostess with the mostest, with Face the Truth."
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Vivica, how are you today?
Vivica A. Fox: Awesome sauce. Awesome sauce.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): The last time we spoke you were on A Christmas Cruise.
Vivica A. Fox: (laughs) I do remember your voice. Absolutely. Good to talk to you again!
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Likewise. Tell me about The Wrong Cruise.
Vivica A. Fox: I play Claire who is a successful businesswoman who unfortunately lost her husband. She has a young daughter that’s played by an amazing actress by the name of Sidney Nicole Rogers. I’m so happy for this girl because a year ago she decided to quit her nine to five job and decided she wanted to become an actress. I’m so proud of her that she did her homework, knocked on doors and landed one of her biggest acting roles opposite Vivica Fox. She did so well.
Anyway, she plays my daughter Sky, and Claire knows that the relationship has been a little broken and that she’s missing her dad, so she takes her daughter on a cruise to have a little bit of mommy and me time and to re-bond. Well, honey, they get distracted by these two handsome men, and drama unfolds.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): As well as danger?
Vivica A. Fox: Oh, yes. He’s definitely a swindler. What we’re loving about the messages with The Wrong Cruise is for mothers and daughters to go and have fun together, have some mommy and me time, but also when you travel abroad to proceed with caution with who you meet and what you expose yourself to.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): This is part of the “Wrong” movie franchise. Do you produce as well as star in them?
Vivica A. Fox: Yes, I do! This is my eighth film with director David DeCoteau. What I love about my Lifetime family who’s been so supportive from back in the day when I had my series Missing and Vivica’s Black Magic, is that they always pick up these independent movies that I executive produce and star in. After The Wrong Cruise, we have a new one called The Wrong Student. Okay? (laughs)
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): (laughs) Sounds like romance and/or danger in the classroom.
Vivica A. Fox: Yes.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Is it difficult producing and starring?
Vivica A. Fox: Not at all, to be honest with you. I love it because I get to play different characters that normally I don’t always get to play. In The Wrong Student, I’m going to be the principal. In The Wrong Cruise, I’m a mom. So it’s good I get to play different characters that normally I don’t get cast playing.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): I’m excited also about your new talk show Face the Truth. How did that come together?
Vivica A. Fox: It is produced by Dr. Phil and his son Jay McGraw. I’m so thrilled. I actually shot a pilot with Dr. Phil before, and at that time, people just really weren’t interested in buying the talk show. He said. “We’re not done with you yet. We’re going to go back to the drawing board and figure out a way how to get you on daytime TV.” He kept his word. He gave me a buzz and said, “Hey Vivica, I need to have lunch with you.” We had lunch, and he said, “CBS wants the show, and it’s almost exactly like the pilot that we shot.”
We went to New York and showed them the presentation reel. Two weeks later, they picked it up. We’ve been picked up for a year, so I’m thrilled that I’m going to be on TV Monday through Friday, the hostess with the mostest, with Face the Truth. It’s a panel style talk show. Our panel is legal adviser Areva Martin, psychiatrist Dr. Judy Ho, motivational life coach Rosie Mercado and Judge Scary Mary. Our guests come on, and we have them face the truth. We give it to them straight up with no chaser.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): What types of people?
Vivica A. Fox: They’re from all different walks of life, to be honest with you, from hoarding to relationships to fun ones where the husband thinks he’s handy dandy and can fix everything in the house and starts messing up things. So it’s a lot of different walks of life. We even have some emotional ones where a mother is starting to be the caregiver for her mother, and she’s forgotten about her young daughter. So there’s a lot of wonderful messages and help that we’re offering on the show. We don’t just have people come on the show and make fools of themselves. We give them help and counseling if they want it.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Is there a premiere date yet for Face the Truth?
Vivica A. Fox: Not a premiere date, but I do know it’s end of September or beginning of October.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Why did you decide to write a book called Every Day I’m Hustling?
Vivica A. Fox: I’m going to be very honest with you. My publicist said, “Vivica, I really feel like it’s time for you to do a book.” I was like, “Wow! You’re going to give me another job? And wait a minute! I have a little more living to do.” He was like, “You should share with people. You’re having an amazing resurgence in your career, and you should share the secrets of your successes, how you take care of yourself, how it’s hard to achieve success as a woman in your 50s and how it’s even harder to maintain success. So just share those secrets.” Now we have a motivational memoir out called Every Day I’m Hustling because, as you can see, I’ve got about six jobs right now!
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): I can definitely see that! Are you an only child, Vivica?
Vivica A. Fox: (laughs) Interesting question. No, I’m not. I’m actually the baby girl of four siblings. I have a big sister and two brothers.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): I asked because they say only children are very creative self-starters, and you certainly fit that description.
Vivica A. Fox: That’s because I have an excellent team. I really do. I share that as well in my book, too, that if you want to be successful, build yourself a dream team, people that get you and want to see you continue to grow and go forward and create opportunities for yourself that you didn’t even see. Like now, I’m an author, you know?
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Yes. You’re an author, actor, producer, entrepreneur and talk show host. What’s next in Vivica’s world?
Vivica A. Fox: Probably the next chapter for me is becoming a director. I’d love to do that with a couple of passion projects. More importantly, I’m going to get a little bit of rest in Jamaica celebrating my birthday on July 30.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): That sounds amazing! Looking back at the beginning on that first day on the set of Days of Our Lives, did you ever think your career would encompass so much?
Vivica A. Fox: Wow! That’s a great question. Did I ever see all of this when I started Days of Our Lives? A great question. I think back then I was so happy to get a job as an actress that, at that point, I wasn’t thinking about the business aspect of show business. I used to model, and then acting just kind of fell in my lap. And as I started this journey, I just got a wonderful group of people that work for me that really have helped me to shape my career. A great group of people. So, no. I was happy to have a job. Are you kidding me? I remember going up for that part against a whole bunch of girls! So I was just grateful to get the job.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Will we see Candace Mason on season five of Empire?
Vivica A. Fox: Yes! Candace is coming back for more on Empire. I’m so excited!
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Anything you can share?
Vivica A. Fox: Well, you know, at the end of last season, we got a wonderful opportunity to finally meet our mother who is played by the very fabulous Alfre Woodard. So when we last left off, everyone got to finally meet our mother, and I think this next season we’ll find out a little bit more of the behind-the-scenes family drama with the sisters.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): So is this really the very last Sharknado coming out next month? (laughs)
Vivica A. Fox: (laughs) Well, let me tell you this. I was so thrilled when Anthony, the director, kept his word. He told me, “I’ve been trying to figure out a way to get you back. We should not have killed you in Sharknado 2.” And he kept his word. Now through this time travel sequence that they created, Skye is back for more kick-butt action. Skye saved Fin, and she helped Fin to save his family.
It was a wonderful 90210 reunion because Skye’s mother and father are played by Tori Spelling and Dean McDermott. So we were having a 90210 reunion because Tori, Ian and I were all on that show together. I didn’t get to work with them a lot on 90210, so it was so great to work with Ian and be his lover. I really enjoyed that.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Just how kinky is Kinky (coming out in October), Vivica? (laughs)
Vivica A. Fox: (laughs) I’ll tell you this. It’s been put out that I’m the star of it, and I actually play the sister of the star of the movie who’s kinky. Yeah. That was a big misconception that was put out there. I’m in the movie, but I’m the co-star to the sister.
Melissa (Smashing Interviews Magazine): And I had so many interesting questions for you (laughs).
Vivica A. Fox: Ooh, girl! No. It’s not me that’s into the S&M, honey. It’s my sister that’s all freaky deaky, okay? (laughs)
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): (laughs) Anything else you’d like to mention?
Vivica A. Fox: Well, I’m just thrilled that the Vivica Fox hair collection has been extended for four more years. I’m headed back to Empire. Face the Truth will be out in September. Check out The Wrong Cruise on July 28. Sharknado’s coming out August 19. It’s just going to be a summer and fall of fun with Vivica Fox!
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Have a drink for me in Jamaica!
Vivica A. Fox: How about this? I’ll have a whole bottle for you!
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