Loretta Devine has a deeply rooted fear that her decades-long career may have cost her peace of mind as she ascends into her twilight years.
Since the launch of her career in 1978, Devine has graced the Broadway stage, television, and movie screens. She has successfully remained booked and busy, taking on roles that feel familiar to viewers, like the matriarch of families fans have come to love.
But when asked which role would be most fun to live, the first thing that comes to mind is, one, there are almost too many projects to choose from, and, two, her fear of losing her mind.
“Girl, I’ve been in 174 movies … This is a fear of mine, that as I get older, as I get Alzheimer’s, I’mma think I’mma be all those characters, and they gon’ put me somewhere.” she jokingly revealed to The Reel Effect. Though she eventually decides, there are at least a few roles that stand out.
“Gloria would be a fun character from ‘Waiting to Exhale.’ ‘This Christmas,’ I love the mother that I played in that,” said Devine as she mulled over her options.
Still, she said, “It would be hard to pick. I always love whatever I’m doing at the time, you know, whatever’s now is like the most fun because it’s happening now.”
Right now, that role happens to be “playing Yolanda Adam’s mom in ‘Kingdom Business,’” she noted. The dramatic BET series brought on the seasoned actress in a recurring role for season 2.
“I’ve done so many different kinds of characters. … I played a lot of mothers, but all of them are different kinds,” Devine continued.
Devine mentioned playing Cece in “Being Mary Jane,” a swindler who blackmailed and then temporarily befriended the titular character played by Gabrielle Union.
Although having a questionable moral compass was somewhat of a departure from her usual roles, what really set Cece apart was her masculine appearance and demeanor.
In 2015, Devine revealed that the role was originally written for a man.
“Last minute, they decided they were going to have a woman do it, and the only changes they made were the pronouns in the dialogue,” she told Entertainment Weekly. “I got to see how it feels to [be] a big character in a show when you get to be a man, a scary, dominating character.”
The “Funny Valentines” star also acknowledged her recurring role on “P-Valley,” where she plays 80-year-old Ernestine, the blind former owner of the strip club Pynk. It’s a role unlike that of the Southern church-going M’Dear in Netflix’s “Family Reunion.”
The 73-year-old is unsure how she has managed to avoid being typecast. “All of my roles I’ve done — my Emmy is dramatic acting — but a lot of times I do comedic stuff,” she noted in a moment of reflection over her career.
“So, I haven’t been typecast at all, and I feel lucky for that. I don’t know how I managed to not be, because most people are. I mean, it’s part of the business. I just keep moving, I keep running so fast they can’t catch me,” said the immense talent.
Her latest film, “A Snowy Day in Oakland,” was released earlier this month. The flick sees Devine cast as a gum-popping postal worker named Jeanette.