Paula Patton

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Posted on May 10, 2011 • 0 Comments

During the summer, the small seaside hamlet of Lunenburg, Nova Scotia can look strikingly like the wealthy beach community of Martha’s Vineyard, Mass. — except the mosquitoes are giant, hairy and relentless dive-bombers. And when Paula Patton arrived in Lunenburg to shoot the wedding comedy “Jumping the Broom,” it felt more like “The Mosquito Coast.”

Patton, who achieved a breakthrough dramatic performance as teacher Ms. Rain in “Precious,” resorted to peculiar Internet advice to keep the beasts at bay, and it worked for a while — even if it made the 35-year-old actress smell like an old man’s medicine cabinet.

“I looked on the net because I know that mosquitoes eat me alive,” Patton said during a press day at the SLS Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif. “I found that if you use amber Listerine — you know, the yellow kind that your dad used that no one uses anymore? You spray that all over your body and it keeps mosquitoes away. I smelled so bad and it worked for a while, but then they were like, ‘Whatever.’ At one point, I was using amber Listerine, DEET and an armband — we tried everything to keep these guys away, but they were resilient and aggressive.”

It was an unusually rustic environment for a lavish wedding film: Lunenburg has a population of 2,300 humans and, joining the mosquitoes in the unpleasant infestation department, a large community of bats. But Patton said the cast, including Loretta Devine, Angela Bassett, Mike Epps, Meagan Good and Laz Alonso, bonded through it all.

“I say this all the time — I can’t help it — but it’s hard to get that many people together, especially actors, and have them get along,” she said. “And we did — we all did. In some ways, it was a luxury, because it brought us together.”

Patton gained her first wide exposure in “Idlewild,” the ambitious 2006 period musical by the Atlanta hip-hop duo OutKast. Despite her convincing performance and a family background that suggests musicality — she is married to blue-eyed soul singer Robin Thicke — Patton said that she didn’t actually sing in the film. Or, to be clear, her voice wasn’t used.

“Well, I really sang, but it was like singing to Aretha Franklin in the shower. You think you sound like Aretha, but it’s not true,” she said. “I would love to do it again: It was a period piece, all the beautiful costumes and to look like I was a beautiful singer when I truly am not.”

From there, Patton’s career stayed on an upward trajectory, appearing in Tony Scott’s “Deja Vu” with Denzel Washington, “Precious” and last year’s romantic comedy with Queen Latifah and Common, “Just Wright.”

Later this year, Patton’s career gets its biggest boost when she appears with Tom Cruise and Jeremy Renner in director Brad Bird’s “Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol.” She said her recent opportunities keep her ridiculously busy, but she feels lucky to get such high-profile work. And it’s happening just a year after giving birth to her first son, Julian, which presents its own set of challenges.

“It’s called lots of coffee and no sleep,” Patton said, laughing. “It obviously feels great — all of it’s a dream.

“It’s a miracle to be able do the thing you love, especially in Hollywood where you know how difficult that is and you know how competitive it is. I think you always have to stay in a place of thankfulness and remember how precious it is to do what you love in such a competitive art form.”

Travel and accommodations provided by Tri-Star Pictures.

Source: News OK





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