Gabrielle Union is getting the best reviews of her career on A24’s “The Inspection,” proving that it’s never too late to make your mark in Hollywood. “I thought it was late for me,” he says variety‘s Awards Circuit Podcast. “I’m treated like the genius I probably should have been treated after ‘Bad Boys 2.’ Your strength, power, skill, and beauty, doesn’t diminish with age, it changes. As long as you’re not fighting change, it might be a nice second, third, fourth or fifth chapter my grandma lived to be 110 and she was on her way [Phil] ‘Donahue’ I’m looking at the next 50-60 years.”
In this episode of the award-winning Variety Awards Circuit Podcast, we talk with Union, who was recently nominated for a Gotham and Independent Spirit Award for her work on the Elegance Bratton film “The Inspection.” She talks about her work advocating for LGBTQ rights, what’s next for her, and even weighs in on some of the media obsessions, including “The Slap,” at last year’s Oscars. Listen below:
“The Inspection” tells the story of Ellis French (Jeremy Pope), a young black gay man, rejected by his mother Inez (Union). With few options for his future, he decides to join the Marines, doing whatever it takes to succeed in a system that would leave him out.
Standing proudly alongside Pope is Union’s career-best turn as the mother of French, a homophobic prison guard who can’t accept him for who he is. She’s channeling a bit of Mo’Nique’s Oscar-winning turn in “Precious,” and with the right support and already off to a good start, she’s a contender for her first Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination.
Union is unapologetically herself and doesn’t care what her naysayers say when she stands up for those she loves. “That group of fanatics who wouldn’t spit in my direction if I was on fire? Those people? I can’t care about them. Because I could never live with myself, that’s if I didn’t say anything. And look how my son, and many children, old and young, suffer.”
In a divided era of culture and politics, variety asked Union for her thoughts on how Will Smith and Chris Rock might reconcile after their slapstick during last year’s broadcast. Union has worked with both actors in previous separate films such as “Bad Boys II” and “Top Five.”
“I think Chris and Will are two older people, who had a moment that was public, that probably should have happened 25 years ago, and it just got infected and spilled over,” he shares. “Unfortunate moment. Whatever I was going to say to Will or Chris, I’d say it straight to them. But for the rest of us, there was a lot of commentary and commentary on the subject violence. But then a strange silence that reminded me of when there was all this justifiable heartache about the gorilla, Harambe, in Cincinnati, but zero said about innocent black and brown people slaughtered in the streets by the state. It’s the same group of people who talk about two very rich men.”
Union is ready to take on the world, and a recent trip to Africa with her family transformed her. “I know I’m just getting started. I think I’ve found my superhero origin story.”
Also in this episode, actor Claire Foy discusses the complexities of her role and working with a dynamic ensemble of women in Sarah Polley’s emotional drama Women Talking from MGM and United Artists Releasing.
Plus, the panel discusses the latest shakeup at Disney that sees the return of Bob Iger as CEO and the removal of Bob Chapek after a tumultuous year of scrutiny.
Produced by Michael Schneider, who also co-hosts with Clayton Davis, Variety’s “Awards Circuit” podcast is your one-stop-shop for lively conversations about the best in film and television. Each week, “Awards Circuit” features interviews with the best talents and creatives in film and television; discussions and debates about award races and industry headlines; and much, much more. Subscribe to Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify, or wherever you download podcasts. New episodes are released weekly.