Interview with Amber Riley and Raven Goodwin of “Single Black Female” on Lifetime by Suzanne 1/10/22
This was from a Lifetime Press Day about a month ago. I enjoyed it, and this is a fun thriller. I saw the original movie “Single White Female” a long time ago, so I don’t remember it all that well, but I think it was just as scary as this one. It was great to chat with these ladies. Amber Riley was fabulous on “Glee” years ago and continues to show her wide range of drama, comedy and music. I’m not as familiar with Raven, but she’s done many movies and was also on “Glee” in a smaller role. Both women did a fantastic job in this movie. Their hair, makeup and costume people also did a phenomenal job making them look more like each other, too.
QUESTION: Well, hello, and welcome to our third panel of the day. We have both of our amazing stars Amber Riley and Raven Goodwin for the upcoming premiere of “Single Black Female.” Hi, Raven. Hi, Riley.
RAVEN GOODWIN: Hey.
MODERATOR: All right. Shall we get started?
RAVEN GOODWIN: Yes.
MODERATOR: Let’s go ahead and we will actually start with Noah Wilson. Noah?
QUESTION: Thanks, guys. It’s so great to be here with you. By the way – oh, my gosh – you ladies look fabulous. Can I just say it right now on the Zoom of the Zoom?
AMBER RILEY: Yeah.
RAVEN GOODWIN: Thank you.
QUESTION: So, Amber, my first question comes to you. The casting was spot on, as your costar joining you right now, Raven Goodwin, could, I feel like, be your real-life sister as the two of you favor in the movie, and so many fans will watch it and think the same thing. So how is it like to work with Raven and create this movie together really as a dynamic duo?
AMBER RILEY: Honestly, it was amazing. Number one, Raven and I are already friends and have been for years, because my industry twin, and I would see her pop up on my IMDB. Like people would mix us up, or like the Getty images like when we would do red carpets and, so. And then I was already a fan watching her career coming up. So we took a picture years ago. We went to Essence Festival and literally manifested doing this, doing a movie together. Thousands of comments and likes are under that picture of us saying like, “Come on, Hollywood, put us in a movie together already.” Like so this was a literal dream come true and manifestation of something that we wanted, so it was amazing.
QUESTION: Now, Raven, a lot of fans have said to us they feel like they have been waiting for this movie for such a long time. What do you want fans to, most importantly, think about when they watch this movie through its full length?
RAVEN GOODWIN: You know, for me, having two voluptuous, like, dope, black women star in a thriller it’s kind of unheard of. So I want them to have fun watching the film. I feel like it’s, you know, that’s the thing about thrillers. We want to be spooked. We want to be, you know (fake screams), and I want them to really be weirded out and really — I want them to talk to the screen. I want them to have the experience of watching that cult classic thriller that you just can’t take your eyes off of. That’s what I want.
QUESTION: Thank you, ladies, so much. I appreciate it. Have a good day.
RAVEN GOODWIN: Yeah, you too.
AMBER RILEY: Thank you.
RAVEN GOODWIN: Thank you.
MODERATOR: Thank you. All right. And next up we have Jay Bobbin.
QUESTION: Hello, ladies. How are you?
RAVEN GOODWIN: Hey, good. How are you?
QUESTION: Thank you for doing this. Good. Thank you. You know, going back to the comment about people have been waiting for this for a long time, “Singe White Female” was thirty years ago. Are you surprised this did not happen sooner than now?
AMBER RILEY: (Laughs.)
RAVEN GOODWIN: I mean, I feel like timing is everything. I feel like it’s a good time for it. You know, “Single White Female” is a classic. It’s such a fun film. So this coming now, I just feel like it’s perfect timing, honestly. Yeah.
AMBER RILEY: Yeah. I was kind of surprised, because it is such a cult classic —
RAVEN GOODWIN: Yeah.
AMBER RILEY: That when I got the email, and I was reading that they were doing it I was like has there ever — like has there been a remake of this? Or is this the very first one? But, yeah, like Raven said, yeah, timing is everything, and I think it’s going to be — I think people are going to be pleasantly, pleasantly surprised. It’s worth the wait.
QUESTION: And following that quickly, if I could, being that it has been thirty years do you feel there are things that can be done with the concept now, you knowing what the full content of the movie is, do you think certain things can be done now that maybe could not have been done in the three decades in between?
RAVEN GOODWIN: I feel like the first –Like “Singe White Female” was pretty wild. (Laughs.) It was really out of control. So, no, I mean, I feel like, yeah, I feel it’s just about the same of shock value to me. But it’s just going to be during this time and, you know, black girls, (laughs).
QUESTION: Thank you very much. Thank you.
MODERATOR: Thank you, Jay. All right. Up next, we have Karen from SciFi Vision. Karen, you can unmute.
QUESTION: Hi, I have a question for Amber. One of the keys to this movie is your performance, which starts out pretty restrained and then gets a little crazier and a little crazier until kind of bonkers near the end, and I was wondering how much fun was it to get in touch with your inner Simone, and was she always there or was it tough to find her?
AMBER RILEY: You just asked me if I’m a little loony? I feel like that’s what you’re —
QUESTION: No, no. We all have a few thoughts now and then.
AMBER RILEY: No, actually, it was a lot of fun. It was a lot of fun, and there were some moments where I actually disturbed myself, because I had to tap into, I had to tap into (laughs) — Raven is like, oh, my God. No, I had to tap into uncomfortable moments that I would never do and get outside of myself, and when you can get outside of yourself you really, in those moments, feel like an actor, you know what I’m saying? And so it was fun, and we all have those sides, like we all have those thoughts, and common sense kicks in and morals kind of kick in, but I kind of I had to put all of that to the side, and even though it was uncomfortable it was also sometimes a great feeling to take years of aggression and feelings that you have and kind of just put it into that moment.
RAVEN GOODWIN: Yeah. We got into the transpo van, and she was like, “Raven, you want to see my scary face?”
RAVEN GOODWIN: It was scary, (laughs).
AMBER RILEY: Total weirdo, total weirdo.
MODERATOR: Awesome. Thank you, Karen. Did you have another follow-up?
QUESTION: I’m sure people are going to love it. Thanks.
MODERATOR: Thanks, Karen.
QUESTION: Well, I didn’t want to take too much time. I wanted to ask Raven, you had to play the flipside of that and be really afraid for your life near the end of it. I assume you’ve never been in such a position. So what was it like playing — to be really (audio glitch).
RAVEN GOODWIN: I mean it’s something I always dreamed out. I love horror and thriller films, and I always wanted to be the girl running and (gestures) like dragging my leg and looking back and falling and that’s just, you know, something I always wanted to play with. So I had a lot of fun with it, and it was really fun to be opposite of Amber and her in that — I mean, it was funny because we’ve known each other for over a decade, so there were times where we just wanted to laugh, and it was hard to be afraid of her, because she’s like a sister. So but for the most part it was just I just had fun with it. I just made sure I had a good time playing Monica. Yeah.
QUESTION: Thank you very much.
RAVEN GOODWIN: Welcome.
MODERATOR: Thank you, Karen. Next up we have Suzanne. Suzanne, feel free to unmute.
QUESTION: Hi. I really like this movie. It was so much fun and a good, intense, horror movie. So can you tell us what things they might have done? You said you already looked a bit alike. What else did they do to try to make you look more alike —
AMBER RILEY: (Audio glitch).
MODERATOR: You might have cut out. Can you repeat the question?
RAVEN GOODWIN: Yes.
QUESTION: I’m sorry. Can you hear me now?
RAVEN GOODWIN: Yes.
QUESTION: Okay. I was saying… what things did they do to try to make you look more alike besides how you already look?
AMBER RILEY: Well, in the beginning, I mean, I think hair and makeup. Shoutout to our hair and makeup team. I think that they kind of conceptualized with production, and they all had the conversation about what our hair and our makeup would look, and there were different stages, too. I know for my character there were different stages from her kind of going from a plain Jane to you’ll see her trying to kind of morph into Monica’s — wait, am I Monica or — You know the whole movie I always forgot which character I was.
RAVEN GOODWIN: You’re Simone. I’m Monica.
AMBER RILEY: I’m Simone. You’re Monica. Okay. Yeah. Her morphing into Monica. So, yeah, shoutout to the hair and makeup team. They did an amazing job.
RAVEN GOODWIN: Yes. Killed it.
QUESTION: And have you ever played a psycho girl before?
AMBER RILEY: On TV and in film? No.
RAVEN GOODWIN: Ah, (laughs).
AMBER RILEY: Ask my fiancé. He may have something else to say about that.
RAVEN GOODWIN: Hilarious.
QUESTION: Thank you.
MODERATOR: Thank you, Suzanne. All right. Up next we have the “Hollywood Times.”
QUESTION: Hello. Can you briefly describe the casting process? Did you already have actors in mind?
RAVEN GOODWIN: I did. I mentioned Janet Hubert as my mother. That was like something I was very kind of adamant about. We’ve built such a amazing relationship since 2019. That’s when I met her, and we just clicked. So I wanted to work with her again, and I think we have amazing chemistry on and off the screen, and I didn’t know that Amber loved her — well, obviously, we all love her — but I didn’t know Amber loved her so much, and she wanted to meet Amber. So it was just a good collaboration and meeting of the minds. You know, Korin and Monique, they worked, our producers, they worked really hard to get Janet onboard, and then when we found out K. was — K. Michelle was joining the cast, I just though it was perfect, and then we have Devale Ellis and just new talent and classic talent, legendary talent in this film, so I just really cannot wait for everyone to see how the cast comes together and the chemistry, because it was pretty good, pretty good chemistry there.
QUESTION: Thank you, Raven.
RAVEN GOODWIN: You’re welcome.
MODERATOR: Thank you. Up next we have Ronda. Ronda, feel free to unmute.
QUESTION: Hey, hi. Congrats, Raven, on your recent nuptial. But for both of you guys what were the qualities of each of your character — for Raven, you, Monica — and Amber, you, Simone, that you like had no difficulty relating to, that was more like your own?
AMBER RILEY: That we had — I’m sorry. It dropped out a little bit for me. That we had — what was that —
QUESTION: No difficulty relating to. What characteristics did your character have that were similar to your own?
AMBER RILEY: Oh. I think, for me, it was I had to tap into insecurities that I had about myself, and I know, for me, growing up there weren’t many people that looked like me. So when I found a singer or an actor, which most of them were in theater, I wanted to model after that person, and so that insecurity that she has, that insecurity that Simone has, not feeling good enough and wanting to be Monica, I did tap into that, back into that kind of that little girl that was like I aspire to be someone else. I don’t want to be me. I don’t know who I am. So I think that kind of not knowing where you are and going back into that insecure, unmolded person, I don’t even know if unmolded is a word, it is now if it isn’t, (laughs) that that was (audio glitch @ 01:01:43).
RAVEN GOODWIN: Unmute, Amber.
QUESTION: You muted, Amber.
AMBER RILEY: My bad. That was easier for me to grab. That was the end of what I said.
RAVEN GOODWIN: For me, you know, Monica in the film, in the beginning of the film, she loses her dad. So the grieving piece for me, my dad died in July, and we shot the film in late September, early October. Was it October? So the grieving piece is where I connected with Monica, all the moments where we had to bring back that piece of her life that would never be the same. I had to tap in, and although it was difficult it was kind of healing to kind of go through that with Monica kind of at the same time and just kind of empathize and sympathize to what she was going through at the time.
QUESTION: Thank you. Condolences to you as well.
RAVEN GOODWIN: Thank you, thank you, thank you.
MODERATOR: Thank you, Ronda. We actually have an email question in. We know that this movie does take a dark turn, but were there any memorable moments during filming that you both enjoyed?
RAVEN GOODWIN: Of course. Like we said, we’ve known each other for years. So if it was us taking our wigs off at random times, I mean, especially —
AMBER RILEY: Raven cannot keep that wig on.
RAVEN GOODWIN: I cannot keep my wig –I want to take this one off right now. I cannot keep the wig on. I will take my wig off in between breaks. Us playing music in the trailer. We had a scene with K. Michelle, myself, and Amber when it was kind of towards the end of production, and we just sat in my trailer, and we just we did what black women do best. We kee-kee’d. We, you know, it might have been some spirits. (laughs) And we ate, and we just had —
AMBER RILEY: (Fo’ sho @ 01:03:51).
RAVEN GOODWIN: Look, look, and we just had a amazing time. So memories like that you can’t really get back. Also, Janet being terribly afraid of the fire on set was just “huh-larious.” She looked like a little kid. All you see is the back of her head like this (gestures)(just getting @ 01:04:07). She’s ducking —
AMBER RILEY: Making sure it did not get out of control.
RAVEN GOODWIN: It sure did not get out of control. So just memories like that I’ll hold on to for the rest of my life. I’m super grateful for this experience, yeah.
AMBER RILEY: I think, for me, it’s the fact that we got to do most of our own stunts, and I — First of all, Raven is really strong. I need y’all to understand that if I ever go anywhere with Raven she’s handling the heavyweight, and I’m handling the lightweight and, period, because the girl was dragging me.
RAVEN GOODWIN: Oh, my God.
AMBER RILEY: She’s so strong. But, honestly, us being plus-size black women in a thriller, and we got to get physical, and we got to — And the team, I’m so sorry that I don’t know our stunt coordinator’s name, but our stunt coordinator and the stuntwomen that was teaching us what to do and stepped in, they were so hands-on, so amazing, professional, really taught us how to be safe but also make everything look so real, and everything looks so real and so great. So, for me, yes, the kee-keeing and all of that was absolutely amazing, which I expected that anyway, because everybody in the film was really dope. But, on top of that, just from the work that we did, that day of doing stunts was very difficult. It was really hard. (laughs) It was really hard but (audio glitch @ 01:05:42) —
Holes in walls, it was just crazy, (for real @ 01:05:45) —
AMBER RILEY: Oh, my God. Just from the stunts, it looks amazing, it looks amazing.
RAVEN GOODWIN: It does.
MODERATOR: Wonderful. Well, that is actually all the time that we have today. So thank you, Amber, and thank you, Raven, for joining us today. Don’t forget “Single Black Female” premieres Saturday February 5th at 8/7 Central. And please stay tuned for our upcoming panel, “Line Sisters.”
(Thank yous and good-byes.)
AMBER RILEY: Love you, Raven.
RAVEN GOODWIN: Love you.
Reeling from the death of her beloved father and a difficult breakup, Monica (Raven Goodwin), is ready to move forward with her life as she tries to land the new hosting job for an afternoon talk show. When she hires a new assistant, Simone (Amber Riley), the two quickly become close friends as Simone moves in next door and completely immerses herself in Monica’s life. But underneath her sweet exterior, Simone harbors a dark secret and as time goes on cracks in her façade begin to appear. Monica decides to sever ties once and for all with Simone, but Simone has other plans and is determined to take over Monica’s life for good. K. Michelle also stars.
Single Black Female is directed by Shari Carpenter and written by Tessa Evelyn Scott and Sa’Rah L. Jones.
Proofread and Edited by Brenda