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‘I’ve Spent 40 Years of My Life Trying Not to Cry’: Tiffany Haddish Dishes on a Difficult Scene That Helped Unmask a New Talent

As a wildly successful comedian and Hollywood actress, Tiffany Haddish appears to have very little to cry about. However, that was exactly what she was challenged to do on the set of her new film.

“Here Today” is Haddish’s new film that also stars Billy Crystal, who served as the director as well. The movie centers on a famous comedy writer named Charlie Burnz, played by Crystal, who happens upon New York street singer Emma Payge — Haddish’s role — after she wins lunch with him at a charity fundraiser.

SANTA MONICA, CALIFORNIA – MARCH 13: In this image released on March 13, Tiffany Haddish speaks onstage during Nickelodeon’s Kids’ Choice Awards at Barker Hangar on March 13, 2021 in Santa Monica, California. (Photo by Rich Fury/KCA2021/Getty Images for Nickelodeon)

In a new interview with Eurweb, Haddish and Crystal discussed the process of making the film, and the ease of working together as Charlie and Emma.

The role presented a different challenge for Haddish, whose movies and persona tend to cater to her more humorous side. However, in this role, she was tasked to do something few had seen from her — cry.

“I’m going to be honest with you; I’ve spent 40 years of my life trying not to cry,” she told Eurweb. Suppressing the tears until I get in the shower, and then you let it all out on the weekends. That’s just the journey of my people and me.”

She added, “And when I say my people, I’m talking about the people that live in here (points to her head) so when Billy was like, ‘you gotta cry,’ I was like ‘what? Billy, not in front of the crew. Can’t I just make the crying face? I can do the face.’ And he said ‘no, you have to let it out.’ So now, I’m able to cry at the drop of a dime. I learned so much from Billy,” she continued.

“I’ve always been pretty vulnerable, but still very guarded and now I’m even more open — but still strong. But I know how to let things happen, let it flow a little more.”

Crystal said that Haddish possessed “great strength” in crying. He also described how he encouraged Haddish to become more vulnerable, even going so far as to arrange a more comfortable atmosphere on set so that she could perform.

“There’s a great strength in doing that,” Crystal said. “It’s a moment that we needed. And I just cleared the crew out so that it was just the two of us and the cameraman …and I just talked her into it. Wasn’t even using lines from the script…so I just got her to the place where she just trusted and let it go. It’s just a few seconds in the movie, but it’s so beautiful and so important that Emma the character goes to that place. Because then she knows she’s never going to leave him.”

When asked what she learned about herself through the course of filming, Haddish’s response was funny, yet introspective and inspiring.

“I’ve learned that I can sing good as hell with the proper coaching. Also, I learned that it’s ok to cry. I don’t know if you’ve noticed in the past year, but I’ve been on [Instagram] kind of crying a lot,” she laughed. “I’m just letting however I feel about something, just let it flow…and there’s strength in that.”

It sounds like if Haddish does cry soon, it will be tears of success. Page Six recently reported that she is a ‘favorite’ among television executives to get the next big daytime talk show, following Ellen DeGeneres’ announcement that her show is ending soon.  

Haddish filled in for DeGeneres last October and this April, and also hosts CBS-TV’s “Kids Say The Darndest Things.”

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