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This Christmas
On the Set with Sharon Leal
January 18, 2007

Sharon Leal as Kelli Whitfield in This Christmas
Sharon Leal as Kelli Whitfield
(photo by Suzanne Tenner)

...spoilers ahead...

MD = Michael Dequina; SL = Sharon Leal

MD: So whom exactly do you play in this film?

SL: I play Kelli Whitfield. I'm the New York/Manhattan independent girl who works as a director who's home for the holidays.

MD: As far as the age range of the sisters, where do you place?

SL: I think I am the third oldest; there's six of us.

MD: Is it evenly split, three daughters and three sons?

SL: Yeah, three and three.

MD: Is there a lot of drama involved with your character?

SL: There definitely is. She's an A-type personality. [laughs]

MD: You said that she's from New York?

SL: Yes, she moved away to New York. She's a successful businesswoman, Harvard graduate, not afraid to speak her mind, whereas Regina's character is sort of the settled homemaker. So there's a real difference in the way they approach their lives, and there's definitely some drama. It's a family full of great characters and great dynamics and definitely lots of room for drama. [laughs]

MD: It's one of those laugh and cry type of films.

SL: Yeah, it's a bit of a dramedy. There's definitely some funny moments, but it gets serious sometimes. It's a holiday film.

MD: Which is what the holidays are about--when you're with family, you laugh, you cry--you don't know what to expect when you have them all around.

SL: Yes. Yes. Exactly. [laughs]

MD: What attracted you to the project? I know you've previously worked with Rainforest Films on Motives 2.

SL: I did, and I was looking forward to possibly working with them again, and also it's an amazing cast--Regina King, Loretta Devine, obviously Keith Robinson--

MD: A number of people you've worked with before on this project--Loretta and Keith and Rainforest Films.

SL: Yes, it's a nice reunion that I was looking forward to. And Chris Brown--just a really fun, talented cast, and the script is adorable, so I was just really into the idea of doing it.

MD: And you won't be singing in this? [laughs]

SL: No. [laughs] It's all Chris Brown. Chris Brown is the only singer in the family.

MD: And he does a cover of the title song.

SL:Amazingly well, yes.

MD: Can you relate to the basic storyline with a large family? Do you have a large family?

SL: I don't. I do have a sister, and a lot of the stuff I have with Regina is like that dynamic. I do have a sister, so I can kind of relate. The first two days of shooting we were just sort of sitting together, and we bonded. There's a great chemistry going on, so we're sort of vibing off of each other, and it should be fun.

MD: With this project and what's been going on with Dreamgirls, I imagine it's been sort of crazy.

SL: It's been crazier than usual for me! [laughs] I'm feeling very welcomed, and it's exciting.

MD: How has your music been going? Are you about to release something?

SL: I'm hoping to. I'm in meetings right now, and I'm definitely writing a lot. I'm in the studio a lot just kind of finding my sound. It's been pretty creative in the last six months just honing in on my writing. Hopefully I'll have something to announce within 2007.

MD: Are you open to returning to theater and the live stage?

SL: Absolutely. But for the right project--I live here in L.A., I'm a mom, I'm wife, so uprooting is a bigger deal than just flying away. So it has to be the right project.

Also of Interest:
Dreamgirls @ The Movie Report/Mr. Brown's Movie Site
Why Did I Get Married? @ The Movie Report/Mr. Brown's Movie Site

Next: On the Set with Lauren London


This Christmas
The Review
Set Visit - January 18, 2007
The Soundtrack

External links:
Rainforest Films
This Christmas: The Official Movie Site
Preston Picture Company @ MySpace
Idris Elba @ MySpace
Columbus Short @ MySpace
Sharon Leal @ MySpace
Keith Robinson @ MySpace
Laz Alonso @ MySpace
Brandon Fobbs @ MySpace
This Christmas @ The Internet Movie Database


Photos ©2007 Screen Gems. All rights reserved.
This Christmas @ The Movie Report/Mr. Brown's Movie Site/© Michael Dequina
All images and multimedia files are copyright their respective copyright holders and no rights are given or implied

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