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16 Sep. 2013

BAGGAGE CLAIM’s Derek Luke


Baggage Claim posterYoung or old everyone has baggage, emotional baggage, that is.

The new romantic comedy from the pen of acclaimed author and playwright David E. Talbert weaves such a tale of girl-seeking-boy for lifetime commitment in BAGGAGE CLAIM.  Starring Paula Patton (Jumping the Broom, Just Wright), Derek Luke (Notorious, Antwone Fisher), Jenifer Lewis (Not Easily Broken, Meet the Browns) and two-time Oscar nominee Djimon Hounsou (In America, Blood Diamond), BAGGAGE CLAIM unpacks in theaters September 27 from Fox Searchlight Pictures.

Montana Moore (Patton) has the commitment, honesty and genuine admiration from best friend and next door neighbor, William Wright (Luke) but, she looks past him for love in the arms of others. Namely, Graham (Boris Kodjoe), the gorgeous yet unfaithful Mr. Wrong; sexy Langston (Taye Diggs) who is obsessed with perfection and; exquisitely magnificent Quinton (Hounsou), the man with every material thing but not willing to marry: collectively, they leave Montana brokenhearted and disillusioned.

Her mother (Lewis), a force of her own making constantly echoes the pressure of marriage despite numerous

Jenifer Lewis costars in Baggage Claim

Jenifer Lewis costars in Baggage Claim

divorces while Montana’s best friends and coworkers scheme to get her hitched over the next 30 days before younger sister Sheree (Lauren London) walks down the aisle.

Cute and charming, BAGGAGE CLAIM is a lover’s delight and, an absolutely adorable date movie. I sat with the happily married Derek Luke (wife, Sophia) at the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills to discuss his role, his passions for life and love—

Sandra Varner/ Talk2SV: Does a man always show his vulnerability when he’s in love with a woman?

Luke: Hmmm, wow, that’s like stepping out of a tub with no socks to put on; yeah, I think when you’re in a relationship it can feel like walking with your feet wet. I think love allows you to leak out your best.

Derek and Sophia Luke

Derek and Sophia Luke

Talk2SV: Since your wife is sitting here with us, tell me, how hard or how easy is it to be vulnerable with someone that you trust?

Luke: I think vulnerability can be read different ways. Vulnerability can be read when somebody knows you very well and pulls a cord. Vulnerability varies. You can try to hide it, try to defend it or it can be a release of thought or emotions.

Talk2SV: Your character is the hero in this film, the good guy. Is there undue pressure on men to be the hero in relationships?

Luke: I think that there is pressure that men get for not being sensible. William, the character I play in this film represents sensibility in cinema but, also in real life. Most people: men, women, boy, girl, black or white, if you go through the catalogue of their life; many times they will pull up a magazine or a movie that was a touchstone of truth, something that shaped their reality. I believe that the sensibility radar has become alert again. Do you know what I’m saying?

Derek Luke

Derek Luke

Talk2SV: I do.

Luke: William is the Batman in Gotham City of relationships.

Talk2SV: As for the film’s director, David Talbert, my knowledge of him goes back 20+ years when he lived and worked in the Bay Area doing radio.  He produced his initial play and from there, perseverance and hard work had led to the consistency of his career in theater and plays.  Using his trajectory as an example, when one is in pursuit of a goal with passion, without the promise of knowing where the path will lead, talk to me about your perseverance going from waiting tables to becoming a celebrated star.  What have you learned about being persistent?

Scene from Baggage Claim

Scene from Baggage Claim

Luke: I think you do pull lessons from life. You pull pictures from life and as an actor it is no different than palm trees. You never see palm trees in Jersey, you only see them in tropical places, and I don’t say that lightly. Wherever you’re planted is wherever you’ll grow. I believe I was planted in Los Angeles because it may be part of what I was supposed to do. I think a key to longevity is staying planted in the right soil. There’s nothing like a palm tree trying to exist in Jersey– that would be conflicting, it can be very hard. It (the palm tree) will start going through seasons that it’s not used to and like trees, that’s how people age. You age in the mind, physically, spiritually…when you’re in the right place I think it produces life and I’m starting to see life on screen for my personal life.

Talk2SV: As an actor, you started out in such a powerful role on screen, starring in Antwone Fisher. I don’t think I’ve seen a character portrayal

Antwone Fisher and Derek Luke

Antwone Fisher and Derek Luke

like that since.  Coming out of the gate with your first starring role, it was a major accomplishment.  Within the lexicon of stories that are being told on screen, where do you feel it rates?

Luke: That’s a big question. You’re hitting on all the bells and whistles now. I think right after Antwone Fisher I did Pieces of April and Biker Boyz; my wife selected it, she liked Biker Boyz. Coming away from Antwone felt as if I was doing Shakespeare.  I found out that if I didn’t have that break I could have felt emotionally drained.  As I’m revisiting Antwone Fisher, at first, I told my agents I didn’t want to do anything heavy because sometimes if you let critics criticize you then you’ll criticize yourself. The best way to make movies and to tell stories is making sure you’re telling the story from your heart and not from people’s opinions.

About the author

Sandra Varner has had her hands on the pulse of the entertainment industry and lifestyles coverage for decades, staying current, always.

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