Meagan Good on How She Stayed True in Hollywood
Meagan Good on How She Stayed True in Hollywood
By Joshua Eferighe
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE
Because this action hero is entering a new phase of life.
By Joshua Eferighe
Known for her roles in Think Like a Man and Saw V and co-starring in and co-directing If Not Now, When? Meagan Good is used to having a packed schedule. Which is why her recent interview with CEO and co-founder Carlos Watson on The Carlos Watson Show is a must-see. You can find some of the best cuts from the conversation below, and the full interview can be found on the show’s podcast feed.
How She Started
Carlos Watson: How did you get involved in acting?
Meagan Good: I started when I was 4, doing extra work on Doogie Howser and Amen, and all that kind of stuff. And it was more of a hobby. My mom, one of her best friends had her daughter in acting, and my mom [asked], “So who do you work with? An agent or a manager?” And we went in and at first the manager actually didn’t want me, they just wanted my sister. And as time went on, they decided to give me a chance. And I just did it like most kids, went to ballet practice or dance class. Afterward, I just went to auditions. And I don’t think I really took it serious, like, “Man, this is something I really want to pursue,” until I took a year off when I was 12. And then I was like, “I love this. I really, really love this. And I really want to do this.” And so when I came back that first year, the first thing I booked was Friday, and I had a few speaking lines in it.
Watson: How have you changed over the course of what has been your 20-plus years of getting the chance to do really good work?
Good: I have changed a lot, I think. When I was younger, it was like, “I just want someone to give me a chance to show them that I can do something dramatic.” And Eve’s Bayou was that for me. I was like, “I just need a chance, I just need a chance.” And then after that I went on and I was a Nickelodeon kid for a number of years. And then I think after that I was like, “OK, now what do I want to do?” And I remember having a conversation with Terrence Howard when I was about 19, and he had just come off Sparks. And he said to me, “You’re young. When you get off this show, don’t do another show. Wait. Wait until you’re married. Wait till you’re about to have kids. Just wait. Go travel the world, play different characters. You never know when your next job is going to come. You don’t have to have stability, just be free and just enjoy the craft.”
And that really stuck out to me, because that next year I did feel really trapped on the show. So when I left the show, I didn’t do TV for a full decade, unless it was an arc or a guest spot or something like that or a reoccurring [character]. And that’s what I did. I was like, “I just want to travel. I just want to not know what’s next.” And then also, I was in a unique stage of crossing over from child actor to adult actor. And at 19, I still looked like I was 15. At 22, I was still playing 16 in a movie. And so that was an interesting time because it was like, “OK, now I just want to be able to cross over.” And so then I became the sexy girl and the sex kitten. And that was really fun in the beginning, and then it was like people think that’s all I can do. People think there’s nothing else going on up there. How do I show them that there’s more to me and I can do more?
So then it became trying to get characters that were more grounded, that were not about how I looked physically, but more about what I could bring to the table uniquely. And that was a journey too, and I think going back to TV at 30 was really me saying … I chopped off my hair at 28. I was like, “No more long stripper hair, no more weaves. Let me just chop it up. Let me just focus.” And then going back to TV was like, “How do I showcase myself in a way where you see something different in me than you’ve seen for the past decade?” And so yeah, TV did that. And then it got to, “OK, now I’ve been able to show that I’m something different. What do I really want to put into the world? What do I feel like is something unique to me that I’m excited about?” And it was like there’s not enough women in the action space. There’s not enough women of color in the action space. I never looked up and saw myself there.
The first time I really saw myself in a movie was Waiting to Exhale or Set It Off or The Women of Brewster Place. Those type of movies. And so I just was like, “What about the action space?” So then I’ve become really passionate about that for the last few years. [I] never was a workout person, ever. And decided at 35, I was going to get myself in the best shape of my life. And I did. And then I ended up booking Shazam! in the DC Universe and trying to grow on that with Monster Hunter and just develop some different things. And I am excited about that. And then that kind of approach, getting ready to have a family, it makes me more excited about the action space because I want to show that you can start this and you can start a family. And you can go back to this, and you can still be badass. As a matter of fact, you’re even more powerful when you’ve accomplished that. When you’ve accomplished bringing life into this world. So yeah, that’s where I’m at right now.
What She’s Up to Now
Watson: I know you love to stay busy. Tell me about your new projects.
Good: So Monster Hunter is out today, and excited about that. Basically the director, Paul [W.S. Anderson], was like, “Do you want to come play?” And I’m like, “In South Africa? Yeah. And do some action, and do some sci-fi, and do some just crazy stuff in the desert all over Africa? Absolutely.” And I’ve always been a big fan of Milla Jovovich. I’ve been following her since The Fifth Element. And to me, she is one of the ultimate badasses as an actress. She’s done a lot of what I want to do, which is she carved out this niche space for herself. She said, “This is what I want to do. I want to be badass doing it. And I want to do this kind of thing, and I want to do it with my husband. And I want to bring my kids around the world with me. And I want to have my whole little life doing this cool-ass thing that I love doing.” And she’s done that, so I think that’s really been … I mean working with her and seeing that was one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen.
And then I also just directed my first film, which is If Not Now, When? And I had so much fun doing it. Me and Tamara Bass co-directed it. She wrote it. We both co-produced it. We both co-starred in it. And it was my callback to when I saw Waiting to Exhale. I saw myself for the first time. I saw what was possible and what I was capable of, and then started dreaming a different way. And I grew up in a predominantly white neighborhood, so there wasn’t a lot of examples besides whatever was in my household. And so I was like, “I really want this generation to have that kind of movie.” And then the stuff we talk about. My character deals with addiction. And she had her daughter when she was 17 on the floor of her high school bathroom, and now she’s struggling with opioids. And each one of the women have an interesting, unique story that I don’t think gets explored in film enough.