Actress Denise Boutte Stars in LazRael Lisons Unknown for Amazon Prime
Interview with Actress Denise Boutte
Written by: Tammy Reese
While growing up in the small town of Maurice, Louisiana, Denise Boutte, dreamed a more practical dream of becoming a doctor, while conquering the mystical place called Hollywood and becoming a film and TV star never really crossed her mind. After obtaining a degree in Mass Communications from Louisiana State University, Denise‘s creative intuition led her to the world of advertising where she quickly climbed the ranks as a respected account executive, then manager at leading Dallas, Texas-based advertising agencies, tending to the clients of various brands including Pampers, Fossil, Mary Kay Cosmetics, among others.
While overseeing commercial and photo shoots for her clients‘ campaigns, Denise was introduced to life on-set and became fascinated with the endless possibilities this new world offered. After being approached by a local talent agent, Denise found herself in front of the lens for a variety of print and commercial campaigns. A chance introduction landed her a talent manager in Hollywood, and Denise decided to take a leap of faith, packed her bags, and headed West.
Before long, Denise emerged as one of Hollywood‘s busiest new faces, highlighted with guests and recurring roles on an array of television TV shows. On the big screen, Denise teamed up with entertainment pioneer, Tyler Perry, as Trina alongside Janet Jackson, Jill Scott, Malik Yoba and the star-studded cast of Lionsgate‘s Why Did I Get Married? Impressed with her chops and on-camera presence, Perry created the character of Sasha Brown, the fun-loving yet convicted voice of reason on the highly rated and now syndicated TV series, Meet the Browns. On the production side, Boutte has multiple films and television concepts in development under her Imagine That Productions, Inc. banner. All that and this girl cooks, too!
Music Icon and Mogul Master P announced the fall film release of the new thriller #Unknown which is following the epic success of the romantic drama Never and Again. Percy “Master P” Miller, Romeo Miller, and LazRael Lison have partnered again to bring audiences #Unknown. A psychological suspense film, releasing October 1st on Amazon Prime. Denise Boutte stars in both films.
Cultured Focus Magazine’s Tammy Reese had a sitdown with the actress for an exclusive interview.
You have worked with the legendary Tyler Perry, please tell us what it was like to work with him and to be on the set of Why Did I Get Married? with Janet Jackson, Malik Yoba, Jill Scott, and the rest of the cast?
Denise: To this day is still seems surreal because after doing a couple of low-budget horror films then a year later I hop into Why Did I Get Married? For me, it was one of those things that honestly made no sense. Here I am on set with all of these people that I’ve idolized forever and I’m working with them. I was scared as crap. I pinched myself because I couldn’t believe that this was real and there was an intimidation factor too due to I had no formal acting training.
However, Tyler doesn’t cast a person based on their skill set, he picks them for the potential to grow, to learn, and their openness to doing so. Tyler saw the raw potential in me and gave me the opportunity to shine and a safe space to figure it out. He felt even more than I did at the time that I was ready for the film. Tyler coached me along the way. The cast and everyone were so warm and welcoming.
Jill Scott, who was the one woman on set who should have hated me the most(fun laughs) is the kindest, spiritual, and endearing person that I’ve met. There are two people I met energy you really can’t explain. It’s so much power in their presence. Jill is like that and Erykah Badu is like that.
To this day do people come up to you and ask why did you take Jill Scott’s man in the movie?
Denise: Yes, they do to this day (fun laughs) Thankfully it’s not as raw as it was when the film came out. I used to get cussed out left and right for the role of Trina. I always took it as a compliment. I thought to myself if I am getting a rise out of people and they are responding this way then I must have done a really good job in the role to hit a nerve. For those who still are pissed off at Trina and want to cuss me out I just say thank you I am humbled.
Never and Again recently released on BET Plus and was produced by Master P. For those who have not watched, what is the overall message and what is your role?
Denise: The message is to love yourself enough to find love. LazReal Lison, the director did such a great job. My character, Jasmine, goes through so many twists and turns in order to find herself and to find her true love. Also she becomes open, honest, and vulnerable with herself because she wasn’t like that until life came and smacked her in the face.
My character does things that other people will be condemning her for, but LazReal added a level on redemption which can be a hard balance. There is a certain part of the character that you will find endearing and want her to win. Kudos to LazReal for putting together a piece like this where you can actually route for a woman who ventured into places she shouldn’t have.
She’s human though and LazReal found a way to humanize and sympathize with her. It was a complicated character but I felt the energy and support on set. Getting to work with Jackie Long and Christian Keyes was wonderful. Those are my brothers and I’ve worked with them so many times. It was an amazing rollercoaster and it was so fun to play such a dynamic character. To this day we are the most streamed movie that they have ever had on BET Plus.
Never and Again is a film besides Why Did I Get Married that so many people really want to ask me about. For me as an actress, I am so appreciative for the opportunity to have brought this woman to life. The film makes for great conversation after watching.
Another film you’re working on with Master P is #Unknown which comes out on Amazon Prime on October 1st. What can you tell us about it without giving too much away?
Denise: This movie is so top secret that there will be portions of the film that not even I am aware of until the premiere. LazReal and Tracy are keeping everything tight though. I’ve seen enough to know that you guys are going to be on the edge of your seats and on an emotional rollercoaster and not know what the hell is happening on the next twist and turn. It’s a very intense psychological thriller.
I was so flattered they came back to me to work on this project. After Never and Again, LazReal and SummerHouse Pictures have hit the ground running. To come out with something at the top of the year and make such an impression and now coming out with a psychological thriller which is a completely different genre and so unexpected is major! It’s so exciting working with Master P. I’ve been to so many No Limit concerts in college when I was supposed to be studying.
Tyler and P work their asses off there is a reason why they are called moguls. People look at their success and they think it happens overnight or they wish they could be like so and so. These dudes have put in the work. Let me tell you about P. I go to set and my call time is like an hour and a half before his for makeup, etc. P was there before I got there. I felt like a slacker even though I always come to work ten to 15 minutes early. As my husband says, to be early is to be on time.
P will be early and already going over his scenes. We rehearsed over and over and he was so dedicated and focused. Everyone knows he’s a businessman and in the music industry but so many are going to be surprised and don’t know what he is or could be as an actor. There are so many levels he can take this thing because he is in the zone and I think he got bit by the acting bug and set for world domination. He has a team that he knows and trusts and will make sure that he shines. He shines in everything else that he does and we know what he is capable of. He is a boss. If you want to be a Tyler Perry or Master P, you better be about your stuff. It’s not something that you just walk into. You have to work for it and put in the work.
You are putting in the work yourself. What else can we be on the lookout for from you?
Denise: I don’t know what happened this past summer, but the energy and the Lord were smiling saying here you go, baby, you’re ready. I did four films just this past summer. I am so appreciative because I always say this has nothing to do with me being offered these types of opportunities. It’s always God’s timing and when you’re ready.
One film, in particular, is called Angie’s Cure. You will see me as you have never seen Denise before. I was told the chick I play is so raw and gutter and that I was going to be surprised at myself when I watched the movie. I always wanted an opportunity to get so far out of my comfort zone to see if I could pull it off and I just wanted to see how people respond to it. I want to show versatility and ability in my work. Not only for myself but I want to show other people that I am diverse. If you want emotion, funny, gutter chick, or, bad and bougie come to me. I can do it all.
When I first stepped on set of Angie’s Cure it almost felt like I was naked. Chick didn’t have any make-up, chick’s hair was rough, but it wasn’t about the glam. It was about real and raw emotion as well as a thrilling performance. I had to pull attention with more than being cute. I had to hold attention with skills. It felt so good. When I hit it and I know it, it feels great. That comes from that Tyler Perry training.
What advice would you have for black women who aspire to become an actress?
As a actor, you have to come prepared and ready to play ball. People ask me all the time how did I get my start. There is no right or wrong way. If you allow yourself to freefall, be vulnerable, be human and connect with the person across from you, that’s acting. It’s authenticity. Just like with everything else in life, if you are true to yourself you will be set on the right path. Make sure you take calculated risks. Seek and find whatever you feel is right. Take whatever it is you are passionate about and start doing something and that will manifest into something bigger and better than you ever saw coming. Give yourself the freedom to explore and see where it takes you.
Years after a series of random murders took place in 2017, book author Michael Lane (played by Hal Ozsan) suddenly begins receiving haunting calls from the #Unknown. Instead of focusing on the encore to his successful debut book, he becomes obsessed with this mystery and spirals out of control as he unravels each victim caught in the web of a sadistic killer.
Genius Minds (Percy “Master P” Miller, Kristi Kilday and Romeo Miller), High Rolling Entertainment (Antonio Trotter), and Summer House Pictures (Tatiana Chekhova, LazRael Lizon and Tracy Bell) assembled an all-star cast including Hal Ozsan (Dawson’s Creek, The Blacklist), Tom Sizemore (Saving Private Ryan, Relic, Heart and Souls), Master P (Never and Again, I Got The Hook, Uncle P), Denise Boutte (Why Did I Get Married, Meet the Browns), Nicholle Tom (Beethoven, The Nanny), Judd Nelson (Lost Voyage, The Breakfast Club) and Ray Stoney(Law and Order: Los Angeles, Remember The Titans).
“The viewers will not be disappointed. This is the perfect movie for those seeking a little October suspense and thrill.” ~ Director and writer LazRael Lison
“It was great collaborating with LazRael on a second film. We are excited to bring fans a suspense thriller this time, with even more movies to come in the near future!” ~ Percy “Master P” Miller
In partnership with Asah Entertainment the official #Unknown movie soundtrack is slated for release September 30, 2021. The 8-song soundtrack arrives on Amazon iTunes, Apple Music, Spotify and all streaming platforms.
For more information on Denise visit: www.instagram.com