Updated: April 11, 2013 6:32AM
LOS ANGELES — Angela Bassett doesn’t mind playing tough.
In her new film “Olympus Has Fallen” (opening Friday), she is the director of the Secret Service during a terrorist attack on the White House where the president (Aaron Eckhart) is kidnapped. “I think I do a good job of playing cool under pressure,” says Bassett. “I also like the idea of having women in power positions. I love to play someone under extreme stress who runs with power and grace.”
Director Antoine Fuqua cast Bassett alongside Morgan Freeman and Gerard Butlers. “I’ve always wanted to work with Angela because she’s great at what she does on screen,” says the director.
Now 54, Bassett has played icons including Tina Turner and Betty Shabazz. “It’s all about the script for me,” she says. “It’s so important to see those words on the page. I also have to look into the eyes of the actor standing across from me and know that we’re both in the moment and both going for it.
“At this age, I think you have to give up any ideas of feeling safe,” What are you waiting for? You really just have to go for it in life and on the screen.”
Of course, Bassett looks virtually ageless on screen. What are her secrets?
“Oh, I’m fighting the good fight when it comes to aging,” she says. “I do believe in this idea of hope in a jar. I’m just hoping that there is something to what these jars promise!”
“As for the rest of it, honestly, I just try to keep smiling. A smile holds everything up.”
She also has a happy personal life to fall back on. Bassett is married to actor Courtney Vance, and they’re the parents of 7-year-old twins, Bronwyn and Slater. “Being a mother really cements what you know in life. You have to focus on what’s best,” she says. “You are the ultimate teacher and every moment with your children is a teachable one.
“As a mom, my brain is always on.”
She adds, “There are also funny moments. My kids want to know when I was naughty. I’ll tell them but end the sentence with ‘and Mommy shouldn’t have done that. I was being very naughty. You do wrong and you got to pay for it.’
“They nod and say, ‘Tell us again when you got a spanking.’ ”
Big Picture News Inc.